Editorials

August 06, 2009

ENHANCING FLEXIBILITY FOR EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS

Once again, the summer has passed more quickly than many of us have realized and Idaho's students will soon be going back to school. School supply lists are out, many parents have already started their school shopping and many more will be rushing to do so in the remaining weeks before the first bell rings. Preparing for the upcoming school year is critical, but more important is to ensure that we have an education system that works for our varying states, regions, families and individual studen… Continue Reading


July 29, 2009

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM V. EQUAL JUSTICE BEFORE THE LAW

Recently, we had the opportunity to watch the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings regarding Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. I had the opportunity to meet with her, and found her to be an enjoyable, personable individual. Judge Sotomayor has led a distinguished career and demonstrates one of the greatest things about America-the opportunity to become whatever you want with hard work and God-given abilities. However, after studying her positions and care… Continue Reading


July 22, 2009

AN UNSEEN ASPECT OF RECESSION

Everyone in Idaho - and throughout the country - somehow feels the effects of the current economic recession. Many individuals and families have dramatically reduced spending to make up for fewer work hours and smaller paychecks, while many others have been laid off or lost their jobs altogether. Unfortunately, another less-noticed side effect of an economic downturn is an increase in domestic violence.  A recent Washington Post article highlighted the rise of domestic violence in Fairfax Count… Continue Reading


July 16, 2009

UNSUSTAINABLE

"Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path" -Congressional Budget Office, Long-Term Budget Outlook, June 2009 The federal budget is growing larger and increasingly hard to comprehend. We constantly hear differing numbers cited in different analyses and scenarios coming from many different sources. But few of us have the time to study this information and to place it into context. Most Americans are responsible citizens who work hard to support themselves and their fam… Continue Reading


July 09, 2009

UNIVERSAL WAITING LISTS

"Access to a waiting list is not access to health care" -Canadian Supreme Court, 2005 Each summer, many people eagerly await the release of the latest blockbuster movies. This summer, many are eagerly anticipating the debate over Congress's summer blockbuster: health care reform. The President and many in Congress are aggressively advocating the creation of a universal health care system and a new federal government insurance company that would ultimately run our health care system. Politi… Continue Reading


July 01, 2009

TAXING TIMES

There is an old adage: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This may be the case with a number of taxpayers who are now reaping a small benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, President Obama's economic stimulus package. The law included the Making Work Pay tax credit, which allows $400 for individuals and $800 for couples. The credit is also refundable, which means that if your tax liability is less than the amount of the credit, you receive a check from the… Continue Reading


June 24, 2009

INDEPENDENCE DAY

"There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!" -Attributed to John Hancock upon signing the Declaration of Independence "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people" -John Adams, 1765 July 4, 2009, is the 233rd birthday of this great country, an anniversary that marks our break with the tyrannical rule of King George III.  July 4, 1776, marked for the world a break with the common course of human history-… Continue Reading


June 18, 2009

EXPANDING THE DIALOGUE WITH IDAHO

The Internet has brought members of Congress, and the people who elected them, closer than ever before.   Since it is important that elected officials know what the people they represent want, this closing of the communications gap between Congress and its constituents is a positive development. In recent years, social networking sites such as Facebook have proven to be wildly popular, as well as quite diverse.   It seems everybody these days is logging on to these sites, creating profiles and… Continue Reading


June 11, 2009

AN ENERGY POLICY THAT WORKS

Last year at this time, Americans were watching as the price of oil climbed above $120 a barrel. Four dollars a gallon gasoline was causing "pain at the pump," and Americans were pleading with Congress to craft a comprehensive national energy policy that would result in the creation of American jobs, ensure domestic security, and reduce emissions at the lowest cost to the consumer. Despite these calls to action, a year has passed, and we are no closer to an energy policy that will accomplish … Continue Reading


June 04, 2009

ONE LAST CHANCE?

In a speech to the Northwest Energy Coalition conference recently I said that the conjoined issues of energy, water and anadromous fish recovery in the Pacific Northwest will likely be resolved by a comprehensive regional collaboration. Such collaboration will be necessary to achieve regional consensus that generates broad enough public support for Congress to act and plans be funded and implemented. Based on experience with collaborations, the participants must have the courage to bring all opt… Continue Reading


May 28, 2009

IDAHO AGRICULTURE AND TRADE

We in Idaho understand the importance of agriculture to the state, but many of us don't understand the importance of trade to agriculture. Most of Idaho's agricultural products are exported to other states and approximately 20 percent are exported to other countries. According to statistics from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, if Idahoans had to consume all of Idaho's agricultural produce, each day we would all have to consume 52 potatoes, 240 slices of bread, 38 glasses of milk or 1.… Continue Reading


May 21, 2009

A DAY FOR REMEMBERING

When you go home Tell them for us and say For your tomorrow We gave our today                                                                                              -Message chiseled outside cemetery at Iwo Jima, from Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley   Memorial Day is one of our most meaningful holidays.   It is a day for honoring and remembering those who have died in America's many b… Continue Reading


May 18, 2009

IDAHO'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION

Idaho's Congressional delegation, even as it changes over the years, has a strong, bipartisan history of working together to address many of the important issues facing Idahoans. Just last week, the Idaho Congressional delegation was notified of our success in maintaining the United States Postal Service's (USPS) contract with Arnold Aviation, who delivers air mail from Cascade to residents in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. On March 24, the owners of Arnold Aviation, Ray and … Continue Reading


May 06, 2009

NATIONAL MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

Throughout the year America does much to honor the service and sacrifice of our military members and their families. We observe many holidays including National Military Appreciation Month, Military Spouse Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day, Gold Star Mother's Day, National Military Family Month, and Veterans Day. But for all that we do to honor them, they have done and continue to do much more in service to us. For all that they and their families have sacrificed, past… Continue Reading


April 23, 2009

NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS WEEK 2009

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services estimated that over 790,000 children in the United States had been maltreated, that is, subject to neglect, physical or sexual abuse, psychological abuse and medical neglect. That is a rate of just over 10 children for every 1,000. Of these, nearly 32 percent were under the age of four, and approximately 75 percent had no prior history of maltreatment. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2006, the most recent year for whi… Continue Reading


April 15, 2009

EARTH DAY 2009--CELEBRATING CONSERVATION MILESTONES

Today, America continues to grapple with how best to ensure future generations have access to abundant natural resources while evaluating global warming mitigation strategies such as cap and trade and additional environmental regulations. April 22 is Earth Day-an appropriate time to reflect on federal programs that improve the environment the right way, through incentives rather than mandates. I was fortunate to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where I acted as Ranking Member on the… Continue Reading


April 08, 2009

STEPS TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

As many Idahoans know, energy and climate change issues continue to dominate discussions about our future, our economy and our security. During the recent consideration of the Senate's Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Budget Resolution, there was an attempt to include controversial cap and trade provisions in the annual budget resolution. While this effort was defeated in the Senate, the future in conference discussions is uncertain. Regardless of the outcome in the final FY 2010 Budget Resolution, Congres… Continue Reading


April 01, 2009

APRIL: FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

Tax season tends to be a time when people think more often about their personal finances-savings, investments, income and expenditures. This year, turmoil in the economy and financial markets, job losses, uncertainty in the housing market and concern over proposed and significant changes in the tax code have caused people to re-assess allocations of personal expenditures, long-term savings and investments. Personal savings rates are rising again after years at historically-low levels, but this a… Continue Reading


March 19, 2009

INCOMPREHENSIBLE

On March 18, high school students and mayors from Caldwell and Nampa presented me with a petition signed by over 400 Treasure Valley students, indicating support for a balanced budget. They talked about the problem of high school dropouts and the unsustainable national debt. I'm impressed with these students' interested in the state of our economy and the actions or inactions of government. However, it's troubling that these young people, who are just embarking on the journey of adulthood, rich … Continue Reading


March 11, 2009

A TAX BURDEN WE CANNOT BEAR

On March 11, I reintroduced legislation to permanently extend the 15 percent tax rate (0 percent on those in the two lowest income tax brackets) on capital gains and dividends that was enacted as part of tax relief in 2003. I've introduced this legislation every Congress since 2005. This bill has even greater urgency now considering the President's budget proposal before Congress that will allow the tax rates on these investment earnings to rise to 20 percent for individual filers earning above … Continue Reading

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