Editorials

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


March 04, 2009

IDAHO WOMENâ??A LEGACY FROM YESTERDAY, LEADERSHIP TODAY

Lives and activities of many remarkable individuals comprise the rich tapestry that is the history of Idaho. From the time that Idaho was simply part of a vast frontier to the establishment of the State of Idaho and the growth of the natural resource industries of farming, ranching, timber harvest and mining, the stories of Idahoans have woven together to give us pride in our heritage and thanks for our many blessings. March is Women's History Month, giving us an opportunity to look back to s… Continue Reading


February 25, 2009

BUDGETING FOR CHALLENGING TIMES

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on February 24 and delivered his budget outline on February 26. I once again hold a seat on the Senate Budget Committee and look forward to examining the details of the Administration's FY2010 budget outline. While it is important to work with the President to help those who are experiencing financial difficulties, it is equally important that we protect future generations of taxpayers from an untenable debt load. The President want… Continue Reading


February 19, 2009

ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR HAS NO PLACE IN DATING RELATIONSHIPS

With a struggling economy and Congress on the verge of passing the largest spending bill in the history of our country, it seemed unlikely in early February that entertainers could make any real headlines. But there it was-on Sunday, February 8, R & B star Chris Brown and award-winning pop singer, Rihanna, his girlfriend of nearly a year, would not be performing at the Grammys. Why? There had been a fight-with injuries. Brown was arrested and Rihanna (Robyn Fenty) was pressing charges, alleg… Continue Reading


February 12, 2009

SENATE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

At the start of every new Congress, Senate committee assignments are reviewed and changes made. While some of my assignments have remained the same-(Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Budget Committee), I have been successful in obtaining two additional assignments that reflect priorities Idahoans place on our remarkable natural resources and a commitment to our strong Native American heritage. In addition to a seat on the Senate Environm… Continue Reading


February 05, 2009

COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS REFLECT IDAHO PRIORITIES

At the start of every new Congress, Senate committee assignments are reviewed and changes are made. While some of my committee assignments have remained the same-I've retained my positions on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Budget Committee-I have been successful in obtaining two new committee assignments (both ones I've held in the past) that reflect priorities Idahoans place on our remarkable natural resources and a commitment to… Continue Reading


January 28, 2009

BE OUTSIDE

"Eventually, most of us figure out that it's people, not nature, who create morality, values, ethicsâ??and even the idea that nature itself is something worth preserving. We choose to be shepherds and stewards, or we don't...We will live wiselyâ??preserving water and air and everything else intrinsic to the equation we're only beginning to understandâ??or we won't, in which case Nature will fill the vacuum when we leave." --Seth Norman, in Richard Louv's "Last … Continue Reading


January 07, 2009

OF EPIC PROPORTIONS

On January 7, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its budget outlook for Fiscal Years 2009-2019. With a sobering prediction that this year's deficit will total $1.2 trillion (without factoring the cost of any new stimulus bill), the report cites what many already know or suspect: the slowdown in economic activity and policy responses to challenges in the housing and financial markets have significantly affected the federal budget. In fact, CBO stated that the U.S. will likely see the … Continue Reading


December 17, 2008

CLOSE TO HOME

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." -U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776 "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; th… Continue Reading


December 10, 2008

ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR MEDICARE PARTS C AND D

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons are busy times of the year for many people-we are pulled in many directions fulfilling commitments to family, friends and work. Still there are a few things on the to-do list that should take priority even in this busy time of the year. If it applies to you or an aging or disabled family member, and if you have not already done so, you should set aside some time to evaluate your Medicare Advantage plan and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage to m… Continue Reading


December 04, 2008

LOOKING AHEAD TO A NEW CONGRESS

As the 110th Congress ends, we can reflect on important accomplishments including endangered species reform, the Farm Bill and improving benefits for Medicare patients. With a new President and a different dynamic in the House and Senate, legislating in the 111th Congress will require innovative approaches to policy-making. I look forward to working with my colleagues, and the other members of the Idaho delegation, Senator-elect Jim Risch, Representative Mike Simpson and Representative-elect Wal… Continue Reading


November 26, 2008

NOT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

In recent years, many Americans have spent the holidays away from home, in defense of freedom. Much has changed for the better in Iraq over the past four years, even as our military and coalition forces as a whole ramp up efforts in Afghanistan. But, for over 200,000 military men and women in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, and tens of thousands deployed elsewhere around the world, the 2008 holidays will mean celebrating far from home. It is important to find ways to reach out to them and demon… Continue Reading


November 19, 2008

MOVING FORWARD

Bandied about endlessly now for months during the campaigns, the word "change" was used so often that it was almost rendered meaningless. What can be said, though, is that people have definite feelings about change. Whether it's a new president or the closing of a street on our normal route to work, we all deal with change constantly-as it is said, "the only thing constant is change." So, it really comes down to how we approach these daily events. What attitude do we have? Is it resignation? Can… Continue Reading


October 29, 2008

THE COMMON PURPOSE

"On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom…In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose." -President Dwight D. Eisenhower The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; simple, white headstones blanketing the Arlington hills on the ba… Continue Reading


October 22, 2008

VOTE--YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT

It's that time of the political year: billboards, yard signs, political ads on radio, television and the Internet all signal the imminent arrival of this year's general election. Although political ads can seem tiresome, given the alternative-no right to choose our leaders-I can live with the sometimes extreme messaging that characterizes our elections. The tone and substance of these ads should serve as a reminder that voters must be discerning and educate themselves about issues and candidates… Continue Reading


October 16, 2008

TACKLING THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Since 1997, tuition and fees at public four year institutions have increased by an average of 4.4 percent annually. Similarly, tuition and fees for private four year institutions increased by an average of 2.9 percent annually. The amount students and families paid for college after grant aid and tax benefits-net price-fell between 1997 and 2001, but has risen rapidly ever since. Between 1992 and 2003, the net price of both public and private four year institutions as a percentage of family inco… Continue Reading

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