July 01, 2019

Weekly Column: Celebrating Our Extraordinary Independence

Every July 4th we celebrate the establishment of our nation and the values that created it. The freedoms that our inspired founders affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, and upheld in our Constitution, are the guiding principles of our Republic. The Declaration proclaims, "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-That to … Continue Reading

June 24, 2019

Weekly Column: Improving Veterans' Access To Mental Health Care

When we think of what it means to be healthy, we often think of physical health--maintaining an optimal weight, eating well and not having any ailments slowing us down. However, the definition of "healthy" includes not just physical but also mental and emotional wellbeing. Distressing statistics show we cannot afford to overlook the importance of balancing all of these essential parts of healthy living. I recently co-led the introduction of S. 1594, the Show Esteem and Respect for Veterans by… Continue Reading

June 17, 2019

Weekly Column: Stabilizing The Secure Rural Schools Program

"Ninety-seven percent of land in Custer County is state and federally owned and exempt from taxation," explained Custer County Commissioner and Idaho Association of Counties Public Lands Committee Chairman Wayne Butts. "Counties and schools like ours can't operate without federal forest payments." This is the crux of why addressing the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program is important. The SRS program has become vital in budgeting for essential services in Idaho's forest… Continue Reading

June 10, 2019

Weekly Column: We Continue To Be 'Flag Makers'

Our flag is a powerful image of our national strength and American principles. The flag has stood on the Moon. Determined American soldiers raised our flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was flown on buildings after the September 11 attacks. The coffins of our best and bravest, who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, are draped with the flag. Our flag flies in communities across our nation as a faithful witness to our national struggles and accomplishments. In a past column,… Continue Reading

June 03, 2019

Weekly Column: Small Businesses Drive Our Economy

Americans turning ideas into jobs and opportunities have made our country into a force of innovation and productivity. The Idaho Small Business Profile issued by the Office of Advocacy, within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), includes the following important small business and economic growth statistics that show just how important they are to our communities: 162,905 small businesses in Idaho account for 99.2 percent of Idaho businesses and 56.2 percent of Idaho's workforce… Continue Reading

May 27, 2019

Weekly Column: Memorial Day--Military Widow's Tax Elimination

One of the ways we can honor fallen heroes beyond Memorial Day is by making certain that the benefits they more than paid for to ensure the wellbeing of their families after their death are fulfilled. I co-led the introduction of the Military Widow's Tax Elimination Act that will correct an unfair application of federal regulations that strips surviving family members of annuities they already purchased. A bipartisan majority of 58 senators have co-sponsored this legislation. It is past time … Continue Reading

May 20, 2019

Weekly Column: May--National Foster Care Month

On May 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation to observe the first National Foster Care Month. The proclamation followed the Senate's passage of a resolution establishing this designation. This May is once again National Foster Care Month, an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of foster care in providing opportunities to succeed for thousands of American children. In that first National Foster Care Month Proclamation, President Reagan recognized, "The family has t… Continue Reading

May 13, 2019

Weekly Column: A New Era For Nuclear Energy

A new chapter in U.S. nuclear energy started with the enactment of two pieces of legislation that further nuclear innovation-S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) and S. 512, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA). These laws help ensure the research conducted at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) continues to contribute to our diverse domestic energy resources and keeps our nation at the forefront of nuclear innovation. Empowering the long-term develo… Continue Reading

May 06, 2019

Weekly Column: Progress In Restricting Unjust IRS Asset Seizures

The federal government should meet a high threshold of proving illegal activity when seizing personal property in a criminal investigation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should not be given cart blanche to take an American's-hard-earned and legally-earned money-and then require the accused to prove the IRS should not have taken it in order to get it back. Unfortunately, there have been reports over the years of the IRS seizing the bank accounts of small businesses making cash deposits of … Continue Reading

April 29, 2019

Weekly Column: Taking Action For Crime Victims

National Crime Victims Week is recognized each April to raise public awareness about the rights and concerns of victims and survivors of crime in the United States. This national recognition provides opportunities to honor crime victims, survivors and those who provide help in the aftermath of a crime. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and take stock of additional steps needed to make certain effective and timely responses are in place to help with recovery and ex… Continue Reading

April 22, 2019

Weekly Column: Earth Day--Bipartisan Conservation Success

At the end of last year, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed by overwhelmingly bipartisan votes one of the largest, if not the largest, environmental bills. President Trump then signed this bipartisan bill into law. The environmental bill I am referring to is the new Farm Bill. Beyond establishing national agricultural policy, the Farm Bill authorizes conservation programs that provide voluntary, incentive-based tools for landowners to implement conservation practice… Continue Reading

April 15, 2019

Weekly Column: Tax Day Reflections On Tax Refom Benefits

This tax filing season is a reminder of the benefits of the 2017 tax reform law already being realized and the long-term positive effects taking shape. These gains include an average 3.1 percent growth in our economy, the creation of more than 2.6 million jobs and a 3.4 percent increase in wages in the last year alone. The considerable progress being made is worth consideration as Americans file taxes this year. Fortunately, there is now a growing understanding that tax refunds are not a goo… Continue Reading

April 08, 2019

Weekly Column: Bipartisan Legislation To Protect Fish Habitat

Sport fishing is culturally and economically important to families and communities all across Idaho. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, more than 35 million Americans participated in fish-related activities. These recreationists spent over $46 billion pursuing these activities, contributing to millions of jobs in industries and businesses that support fish-related … Continue Reading

April 01, 2019

Weekly Column: Indispensable Guidance Of Idahoans

Idaho families struggling with debilitating diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or less common and rare illnesses, regularly share their heartbreaking, but also inspiring, personal experiences with me. These insights drive my longtime advocacy for necessary National Institute of Health funding to support medical research to save and improve lives. Each year, I join fellow senators in urging congressional appropriators to fully fund this critical research. This is one example of… Continue Reading

March 25, 2019

Weekly Column: Romance Scams Number One In Losses

In the past, I have written about tax season scams to try to help raise awareness so that Americans do not fall victim to fraud that robs people of their hard-earned money. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently alerted the public to romance scams that the commission reports has resulted in more financial losses than any other form of consumer fraud. The FTC reported that there has been a major increase in reports of romance scams from 8,500 reports and losses of $33 million in 2015 to 21… Continue Reading

March 18, 2019

Weekly Column: Lands Bill Furthers Success Of Owyhee Collaborative

The Senate and House of Representatives both passed S.47, Natural Resources Management Act, by overwhelmingly, bipartisan votes, and President Trump signed it into law. This new law contains boundary changes for three wilderness areas in Owyhee County. These changes are important to the ongoing implementation of the hard-sought Owyhee Initiative (OI), which provides for the sustainability of this special part of our great state. It also helps ensure the long-term success of this outstanding e… Continue Reading

March 11, 2019

Weekly Column: Celebrating Women Leaders Of Idaho

Idaho has been home to women pioneers, educators, civic leaders, elected officials, physicians, attorneys, businesswomen, writers, artists, innovators and more. The courage and skills of Idaho women are among our state's enduring strengths. Women shape the history and future of our great state and nation. In recognition of March as Women's History Month, here are some examples of the many women who enrich Idaho's heritage: Sacagawea was born in 1788 in what is now Idaho. She served as a … Continue Reading

March 04, 2019

Weekly Column: Recognizing Local Innovation

In 2017 alone, 1,432 patent applications were filed by residents of Idaho, and 752 patents were issued to Idahoans, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). USPTO reports that nearly the same amount of patents (744) were issued to Idaho residents in 2018. Considering the innovative products and services already coming out of Idaho, it is no surprise that Idahoans continue to be brimming with ideas to make lives easier and better our communities and world. In recent… Continue Reading

February 22, 2019

Weekly Column: Priorities For The 116th Congress

As the 116th Congress has begun, work continues to build on the progress made in the last Congress in restoring prosperity, stability and liberty for our country. As a result of our comprehensive reform of the tax code, we are seeing robust growth in our economy, at rates well above what had been projected if we had not reformed the tax code. This increased economic activity, and resulting increased revenue generation, has helped to create a better foundation from which to enact long-overdue … Continue Reading

February 18, 2019

Committee Assignments Set: We Have Idaho Covered

Congressional committees are central to the legislative process. Committees provide oversight of federal governmental operations and identify issues suitable for legislative review. A committee can dig into the details of issues under its jurisdiction and advance legislation to be considered by the full U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. At the beginning of each Congress, committee assignments are determined. The breadth of our committee assignments for the 116th Congress, which have n… Continue Reading

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