November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings

We are fortunate to live in a state that produces a wealth of quality agricultural products.  To illustrate Idaho's remarkable agriculture production, I have often cited statistics from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture indicating that if Idahoans had to consume all products produced within the state, each resident would need to consume the following each day:  234 slices of bread; forty potatoes; two pounds of cheese or forty-two glasses of milk; one eight-ounce steak or 1.5 quarter-pou… Continue Reading

November 14, 2011

Permanent Cap On Capital Gains And Dividend Tax Rates Needed

A major problem with the U.S. economy is a drought in capital investment.  This problem is worsened by the uncertainty of the U.S. tax code.  However, when businesses and individuals are confident enough to invest, unemployed Americans will be put back to work and consumer spending will come back to life.  Action to make permanent the current tax rates on capital gains and dividends would help restore this confidence and encourage the investment and job creation needed for economic growth. As n… Continue Reading

November 07, 2011

A Day To Honor Our Heroes

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Dakota Meyer was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous actions in Afghanistan, which included enduring enemy fire to rescue fellow soldiers.  When asked whether he realized his actions were extraordinary, Sgt. Meyer said, "No, I don't.  It would have been extraordinary if I'd brought them out alive.  That would have been extraordinary."  Sgt. Meyer's comments exemplify many American service members' discomfort with being recognized as th… Continue Reading

October 31, 2011

Protecting Forest Jobs And The Communities That Rely On Them

From the kitchen table to the halls of Congress, unemployment is the top priority for America's policymakers and families.  In Washington, D.C., this discussion is often consumed by politics and partisan bickering.  But, in many parts of the Pacific Northwest, the discussion about jobs often comes back to the natural resource industries, such as forestry, that help to build and sustain our region.  However, a recent court decision dealing with forest roads poses yet another major obstacle, which… Continue Reading

October 24, 2011

A Call To Action To Prevent Domestic Violence

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, communities across the nation have been holding events to promote awareness of domestic violence's devastating effects on families and communities and needed discussions to rid our communities of this violence that has impacted too many lives.  For example, some communities have displayed pairs of shoes representing the victims of domestic violence in the local area.  Such displays provide a powerful reminder of the lives affected by … Continue Reading

October 17, 2011

U.S. Job Growth Among Benefits Of South Korean Trade Alliance

In recent years, the U.S. has slipped from being the top exporter to South Korea to third place.  Tariffs on U.S. products entering this market do not help.  South Korea's agricultural tariffs average almost 49 percent.  Paying nearly $1 billion annually, U.S. exporters to South Korea face average tariffs on industrial goods of more than double the average tariffs South Korea faces exporting to the U.S.  The wound is entirely self-inflicted by the needless delay in passingan agreement to immedia… Continue Reading

October 10, 2011

Tax Reform Part Of Multipronged Solution

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, on which I serve as Ranking Member, recently held a hearing to explore the rolefor tax reform in comprehensive deficit reduction and U.S. fiscal policy.  Tax reform is a necessary part of improving our economy.  However, to fully get our nation on better footing, a multipronged solution is needed that includes pro-growth tax reform, regulatory reform, fundamental entitlement program reform and strict budget enforcement… Continue Reading

October 03, 2011

Colombia: Ally And Trade Partner

The U.S. and Colombia have a long history of working together.  Marco Fidel Suárez, President of Colombia in the early 1920s, was a proponent of a policy tying Colombia's future to America through geography, trade and democracy.  During World War II, the alliance between our countries became more defined.  More recently, Colombia has been a regional partner in counternarcotics and security and a bulwark against hostile and autocratic regimes in our hemisphere.  Colombia's partnership also offers… Continue Reading

September 26, 2011

Thank You For Your Thoughts And Ideas

Idaho is full of thoughtful and creative people with good ideas about how to strengthen and improve our nation.  In August and earlier this month, I hosted town hall meetings and other public events across Idaho where I visited directly with hundreds of Idahoans who provided helpful input and encouragement as we tackle national challenges. From my forums in Twin Falls, Meridian, Coeur d'Alene, Rexburg, Weiser and Driggs, and in other large gatherings across Idaho, the message was clear:  Idahoa… Continue Reading

September 19, 2011

Let's Get The Job Done On Job Creation

We need more secure, high-skilled jobs in America.  There is broad agreement on that fact.  All the discussion about how to create American jobs has served its purpose of identifying solutions.  We have had enough talk.  We must get to work creating the environment for job and economic growth. While home during the state work period, I had the opportunity to discuss directly with fellow Idahoans the challenges our nation faces and hear ideas about how to resolve these challenges.  It is clear t… Continue Reading

September 12, 2011

The Potato: An Affordable, Nutritional Treasure

When you consider its ability to grow even in poor soils, its affordability, storability, quantity of vital nutrients and its suitability as an abundant food energy source on limited land, it is no wonder the potato has been a staple food source for thousands of years.  The potato has also been characterized as a "hidden treasure" by the Food and Agricultural Organization for its vital role in providing food security and eradicating poverty.  Responsible for 30 percent of our nation's potato pr… Continue Reading

September 05, 2011

We Are In It Together

For Americans, September 11, 2001, was a defining moment.  It impacted all of our lives in one way or another, not only altering our sense of security but also reinforcing our resolve and unity.  On this tenth anniversary, like many others, my prayers continue to be with the victims and all those who lost loved ones.  I am also grateful and mindful of the many Americans sacrificing to secure our freedom and our nation.  Our American-bond that helped us through the recovery after September 11 can… Continue Reading

August 22, 2011

We Have A Responsibility To End Violence

Between January and June of this year alone, there have been 15 intimate-partner related deaths in Idaho--11 of which were in the month of May and included three toddlers and an infant.  Four of these deaths have taken place in the Pocatello area, where a community group, called Citizens Against Violence, has been organized to address this community concern.  To put this number in perspective, in the entire year of 2010, there were 16 domestic violence deaths in Idaho, and there were 7 in 2009. … Continue Reading

August 10, 2011

Sharing Our Solutions

Coming home for the state work period is invigorating and thought-provoking.  It gives me the opportunity to discuss directly with fellow Idahoans the state of America's finances.  My first day back, I had the chance to speak with Chamber of Commerce members in Rigby.  We turned the meeting into a town hall-style discussion.  The give-and-take dialogue such forums provide is indispensable as Congress considers policy matters affecting all of our futures.      I hope to get a chance to visit wi… Continue Reading

August 01, 2011

Comprehensive Fiscal Policy Shift Needed

An American child today inherits a larger public debt burden than at any time in American history.  Our almost $15 trillion national debt puts a debt burden of nearly $50,000 per U.S. citizen.  In the last 10 years, federal spending per householdhas risen by roughly $10,000 to more than $31,000. Click here for slide one. If this trend is not corrected, federal spending will balloon to nearly $36,000 per household by 2021.  We can correct this by comprehensively shifting our fiscal policy… Continue Reading

July 25, 2011

Time For A Better Approach: Part Two

Recently, I wrote regarding proposals in the Senate Republican Jobs Plan to decrease our national debt and provide the tax and regulatory reform needed to encourage private sector growth.  To round out this effort, the Senate Republican Jobs Plan also includes proposals to expand market opportunities for U.S. businesses, provide an energy policy to sustain affordable energy options and improve job opportunities.  These proposals are also essential ingredients in the effort to create job growth a… Continue Reading

July 18, 2011

Time For A Better Approach

Our government's debt is now equal to the entire economic output of the country.  Any effort to create lasting jobs and spur growth must begin with addressing the debt and conditions that got us here.  The Senate Republican Jobs Plan provides a balanced approach that includes restraining federal spending, reforming tax and regulatory policy, expanding market opportunities for U.S. businesses and providing an energy policy to sustain affordable energy options.  Addressing spending and creating th… Continue Reading

July 11, 2011

Ranchers: Partners In Health Of Idaho Lands

More than forty percent of Idaho's land is classified as rangeland, which makes it the largest land type in the state.  The open space provided through rangeland supports a myriad of public benefits, including healthy watersheds, habitat for wildlife and vegetation, recreational opportunities and livestock production.  Among the resources for managing rangelands, livestock grazing is an essential tool, and the ranchers who provide this management tool are partners in the effort to sustain the he… Continue Reading

June 30, 2011

Symbols Of Our Extraordinary Nation

Patriotic symbols, songs, speeches and writings are often part of our Fourth of July celebrations.  Some emblems of patriotism are ingrained in the fabric of our nation, yet their origins may be largely forgotten.  This Independence Day, as we gather with family and friends to celebrate our nation and the brave men and women who defend it, offers a time to reflect on the history of a few of these important traditions and the American ideals they represent.        American Flag:  Our flag is … Continue Reading

June 27, 2011

Idahoans Enrich Our Nation's Capitol

July 2 nd marks the 147 th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing into law legislation that invited each state to provide up to two marble or bronze statues of citizens "illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services such as each state may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration" to be placed in the Old Hall of the U.S. House of Representatives, which was designated as National Statuary Hall.  Idaho has given statues of two notable Idah… Continue Reading

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