September 06, 2010

A Foundation For Quality Education

As the son of a teacher, the importance of a quality education was ingrained in me. Sound education is elemental to the strength of our nation. State and local control in matters of education, ensuring students have access to quality nutrition to fuel their minds and proper rural school resources are critical to ensuring that students getting back to school have the right foundation for success. Students, parents, teachers and state and local public school officials best understand how to im… Continue Reading

August 30, 2010

Lifting The Weight Off Idaho Commerce

Each time we shop, every time we purchase something, chances are pretty good a truck played a role in getting those goods to that retailer. Trucks play a vital role in our country's commerce, and getting goods from source to consumer safely and cost-effectively is an important consideration. That's why I joined with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) to introduce the bipartisan Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), S.3705, which provides a voluntary opt-in progr… Continue Reading

August 23, 2010

Fairs: Time To Celebrate Hard Work

The county, regional and state fairs that take place throughout the summer are far more than cotton candy, carnival rides, funnel cakes, musical acts and petting zoos. Fairs provide time to take a break, unwind and connect with neighbors. Most of all, fairs are a time to celebrate productivity. The fun of fairs belies their value. Fairs are productive for the economy. The International Association of Fairs estimates a fair the size of the Eastern Idaho State Fair generates $6 million for the … Continue Reading

August 16, 2010

The 1910 Fire: Learning From Idaho's Past

August 20, 2010, marks the 100-year anniversary of the 1910 Fire that resulted in nearly 100 lost lives, hundreds of injuries, approximately three million burned acres and the destruction of towns and homes in Idaho.  As we honor the heroism of the response to the 1910 Fire, it is a reminder that we must actively manage our national lands, provide resources to our local communities and land managers to respond when lives and property are threatened, take responsibility for reducing fire risk at … Continue Reading

August 09, 2010


For many years, every President has had authority to ride roughshod over the public when creating national monuments. Under current law, a "top-down" executive order can be issued to create a national monument, with no opportunity for public input or Congressional or state oversight. This has resulted in increased distrust from those most connected to the area under designation, and it has lingering impacts in communities throughout the country. The truth is that the provision in current law whi… Continue Reading

July 26, 2010


Closed door politics was the norm throughout the health care reform debate, and it seems that the Administration continued that practice with its latest move-the recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to serve as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  CMS is a vast federal agency that administers care to 100 million seniors, children, and low-income families, with an annual budget of over $800 billion a year-a budget larger than the Pentagon's. With the new… Continue Reading

July 20, 2010


"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." Does that quote by Thomas Jefferson leave any doubt of what our Founding Fathers intended in the 2nd Amendment? No, it is clear to me that it does not. Thomas Jefferson was an avid supporter of James Madison's first ten amendments to our Constitution (the Bill of Rights.) Clearly, he understood Madison's intent in the 2nd Amendment, which specifically protects "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms." On June 28, the United States … Continue Reading

July 19, 2010


Since coming to Congress, I have strongly advocated for nuclear power to be a key component of our national energy strategy.  In recent years, efforts to expand our nuclear energy portfolio have gained momentum, which adds urgency to the question of what to do with used nuclear fuel and defense high-level waste.  In 1982, Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), which mandated the establishment of a permanent, high-level nuclear waste repository.  After five years of research and stu… Continue Reading

July 05, 2010


Idaho families certainly face hard times today. The unemployment rate is well above 10% in many Idaho counties. Our federal budget deficit is approaching the point where it will eclipse our domestic economic output. But Congress just keeps running up the federal deficit-even with some issues that seem well-intentioned, but that will burden future generations with incalculable debt. It is hard to take a big picture view of federal spending, particularly when something as personal as unemploym… Continue Reading

June 29, 2010

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

In a few days, we will celebrate the "birthday of the United States of America"-July 4th. This marks the day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. While there are numerous phrases from the Declaration that are instantly recognizable, i.e. "When in the course of human events …", "… we hold these truths be self-evident, that all men are created equal …", "… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …", it is notable that we don't of… Continue Reading

June 16, 2010


The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as its 2009 Mentor of the Year for its "commitment to mentoring small business." INL was given this honor for its work with small businesses through its Mentor-Protégé Program, which seeks to enhance "the capabilities of small businesses to perform contracts and subcontracts for INL, other DOE Laboratories and federal agencies." There is a very good reason why INL and DOE seek to support and mentor small… Continue Reading

June 10, 2010


Last summer, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey "cap and trade" legislation. The Senate has attempted to pass similar legislation, but the American people are wise to the act. They have pushed back to let their elected representatives know that they oppose a massive energy tax that will send more jobs overseas and significantly undermine our global competitiveness. Unfortunately, though, instead of signaling that t… Continue Reading

June 04, 2010


Numerically, one trillion dollars has twelve zeroes---$1,000,000,000,000. A one thousand dollar stack of one dollar bills measures 4.3 inches high. A one million dollar stack of one dollar bills measures 358 feet high. A one billion dollar stack of one dollar bills measures nearly 68 miles high. A one trillion dollar stack of one dollar bills measures nearly 67,900 miles high. Now, multiply one trillion by 13 and you have the historic, yet shameful, level to which our national debt has risen as … Continue Reading

May 26, 2010


On April 3, 2010, at a small cemetery in Richfield, Idaho, a Medal of Honor grave marker was placed to honor the life and service of Medal of Honor recipient Oscar Verner Peterson. That the placement of this marker comes so close to this year's observance of Memorial Day is fitting. The valor and sacrifice of Chief Petty Officer Peterson is but one shining example of the heroism Americans have benefited from throughout the course of our history, and it is an excellent example of what we acknowle… Continue Reading

May 20, 2010


The most common question I am asked by Idahoans, over the past eighteen months, is something like, "What can we do to fight back against the massive growth and indebtedness of the federal government?" This is commonly followed up with something like, "What can we do about the unresponsiveness and seeming indifference to our concerns?" These questions and concerns are completely justified. The federal government has spent taxpayer money with abandon and grown to an unprecedented size, and in … Continue Reading

May 12, 2010


"Reforming the financial system without fixing Fannie and Freddie is like declaring a war on terror and ignoring al Qaeda." -Wall Street Journal editorial, May 6, 2010  The Democrats' new financial reform bill fails to end bailouts for Wall Street and imposes expensive new regulatory burdens that will fall heavily on small businesses. Even worse, the bill fails to end bailouts for Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest housing lenders that purchased home… Continue Reading

April 29, 2010


In an editorial last week, the Wall Street Journal wrote, "When President Obama signed his health-care reform last month, he declared it will 'lower costs for families and for businesses and for the federal government.' So why, barely a month later, are Democrats scrambling to pass a new bill that would impose price controls on insurance?" The answer is that the supporters of the new health care law knew, as did the majority of Americans who opposed the law, that it would ultimately increase cos… Continue Reading

April 21, 2010


"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt" -Thomas Jefferson, July 12, 1816 "No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt" -George Washington, December 3, 1793 "The principle of spending money, to be paid by posterity under the name funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale" -Thomas Jefferson, May 28, 1816  In mid-March, I was appointed by the Republican leadership in the Senate to serve on the National … Continue Reading

April 15, 2010


How many heroes do you know? Probably more than you think. They are all around us. They are America's veterans and, sadly, we too rarely hear their amazing stories of sacrifice and selfless service. The unprecedented security, prosperity and freedoms that Americans have today were borne out of the principles in the Declaration of Independence and the system of limited, representative government set out in the Constitution. Ever since, it has been the American military service member who has done… Continue Reading

April 07, 2010


This April, Americans will feel the sting of two rather unpleasant days within the span of one week. Last Friday, April 9th, was Tax Freedom Day 2010; and, as everyone knows, Thursday, April 15, 2010, is Tax Day. Tax Freedom Day is the day on which the nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimates that Americans have earned enough money to pay for all federal, state and local taxes for the year. This year, Tax Freedom Day comes on the 99th day of the year, which means that your earnings for 99 of the 365… Continue Reading

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