February 24, 2020

Weekly Column: Improving Access To Neighboring Markets

The original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needed to be re-negotiated. I voted against passage of NAFTA in 1993, because it was flawed. The agreement traded away sovereign rights of individual states and the federal government. Many goods and services originating in the United States received unfair treatment among trading partners. It also failed to provide sufficient market access and address problematic pricing structures and restrictive trade practices in the dairy sector. … Continue Reading

February 17, 2020

Weekly Column: Follow Up: Legislative Advancements This Congress

An important part of representing Idahoans in the U.S. Senate is keeping folks informed about legislation advancing in Congress. In December, I provided a year-end review of some legislative highlights from the first year of the 116th Congress. The following is a more detailed account of the advancement of legislation I have advocated for on behalf of Idahoans. I introduced or co-led the following bills that were enacted into law prior to the end of last year either as standalone legislati… Continue Reading

January 20, 2020

Weekly Column: Working To Lower Prescription Drug Costs

On December 19, 2019, Senate colleagues and I introduced S. 3129, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, to lower prescription drug prices and encourage the development of new therapies and cures. This bill contains provisions that already have broad, bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Focusing on achievable areas of agreement can make progress in truly making prescription drugs more affordable. America is the leader in biopharmaceutical innovation, bringing l… Continue Reading

January 13, 2020

Weekly Column: Meeting The Federal Obligation To Idaho Counties

Nearly two-thirds of Idaho is federally owned, which severely limits the tax base for roads, law enforcement and schools because federal lands contribute no property taxes. The Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program provides critical funding streams for rural Idahoans. The two-year extension of SRS funding, included in the end-of-year funding package approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump, helps provide a more predictable source of funding for rural communities and school dist… Continue Reading

December 30, 2019

Weekly Column: Year End Review And New Year Opportunities

As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, there are likely plenty of discussions about the state of our nation. Hopefully, these conversations are more lighthearted than Washington, D.C.-style partisan bickering. These discussions around dinner tables and coffee tables can be fruitful, as we listen and share viewpoints with our loved ones. Here are some considerations as we end out the year and get ready to kick off 2020. The U.S. Department of Labor's November Employment Su… Continue Reading

December 23, 2019

Weekly Column: Momentum On Bipartisan Budget Reform

Federal overspending cedes strength, forgoes the ability to put full resources behind new ideas and essentially resigns our nation to a system of cobbling by, moving from one federal funding deadline to another without a focus on the bigger picture. The strength of our nation is far too important not only to Americans, but also to world stability to accept this outcome. I joined a bipartisan group of my fellow Senators in introducing S. 2765, the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act, tha… Continue Reading

December 16, 2019

Weekly Column: Backing Research And Improved Treatment For Alzheimer's Disease

More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease and, absent a medical breakthrough, that number could rise to nearly 14 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association. This disease is tragic and life-altering-wherever, whenever and whomever it strikes. Medical researchers pursue improved treatment for this progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells and is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, as … Continue Reading

December 09, 2019

Weekly Column: From The Mailbag--Association Health Plans

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. One of the issues Idahoans have contacted me about is S. 1170, the Association Health Plans Act, and Association Health Plans (AHPs). The following is my response: I support Association Health Plans. The needs of small business owners and employees are of great importance to me. As a result of Obamacare, small business owners have increasingly struggled to find affo… Continue Reading

December 02, 2019

Weekly Column: Supporting Small Businesses

Somewhere in a community across our country, a fellow American is thinking through the steps of turning their idea into a small business. They could be a young entrepreneur with dreams of changing the world with their innovation. They could be a middle-aged parent, who has always worked for others and is now ready to bring their small business dream into clear focus. They could be a highly-skilled veteran who returned home ready to invest in an opportunity to satisfy a need in their community… Continue Reading

November 25, 2019

Weekly Column: Dedication To Others A Common Thread In Idaho

Each year, I honor Idaho veterans and volunteers who support veterans with the Spirit of Freedom: Idaho Veterans Service Award. The lives of the award recipients are fascinating and inspiring and represent the core of what makes our communities and state so special. A common characteristic among the recipients of the award is that they give so much often not only in service to our nation, but also to many others. They are leaders demonstrating a dedication to caring for their fellow veterans … Continue Reading

November 18, 2019

Weekly Column: Focus On Return Of Missing Servicemembers

I honor America's prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) and call attention to National POW/MIA Recognition Day through Senate statements each year to try to help keep national focus on the return of American servicemembers. Additionally, to assist with this effort, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) recently joined me in introducing the bipartisan S. 2794, the Bring Our Heroes Home Act, to provide for an expedited and consolidated process for declassifying and collectin… Continue Reading

November 11, 2019

Weekly Column: Honoring Veterans Beyond Veterans Day

Thank you, veterans, for your service to our nation and support of your fellow veterans and military families. We honor veterans beyond Veterans Day by fully supporting their service beyond their deployments. Congress has been advancing legislation to improve veterans services. Transition to Civilian Life: I have been proud to lead a coalition focused on implementing improvements to support veterans transitioning from military service to civilian life. This led to the reintroduction of the b… Continue Reading

November 04, 2019

Weekly Column: An Unprecedented Impeachment Process

The unprecedented impeachment process House Democrats have undertaken lacks transparency and due process. I am a strong supporter and co-sponsor of a Senate Resolution highlighting the shortcomings of these proceedings and calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to provide the President of the United States basic principles of due process. On October 24, 2019, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced S.Res. 378 that specifies serious concerns with the impeachment proceedings … Continue Reading

October 28, 2019

Weekly Column: Getting Fire Equipment Where It Is Needed

Ranchers are well positioned and have the understanding of the land necessary to provide quick and effective initial responses to wildfire outbreaks. Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) are largely comprised of farmers and ranchers who use their skill, knowledge of the land and expedient response times to assist with firefighting efforts on the range. Transfers of fire equipment no longer used by federal agencies to local cooperators further fuel these partnerships between local lan… Continue Reading

October 21, 2019

Weekly Column: Hearing From Idahoans

Often, I am asked "what is the best part of my job," and there are really wonderful parts of being a United States Senator representing our great state-including being able to help make a difference on so many issues. But, the very best part is getting to visit with Idahoans all across our wonderful state to hear directly about what is on your minds and how you want our country to be governed. It is truly rewarding and extremely helpful. During the August state work period, I held 29 uninco… Continue Reading

October 14, 2019

Weekly Column: Federal Obligation To Idaho Counties Must Be Met

In September, Idaho County Commissioners visited my office as part of their making the case to Congress about the need to reauthorize Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS). While I welcome opportunities to get a sense of local needs, local officials should be spared the time and expense of having to continuously make the case for this federal responsibility. The federal government must meet its responsibility to rural communiti… Continue Reading

October 07, 2019

Weekly Column: Needed Changes To The Endangered Species Act

Wildlife species should be protected and recovered when possible. But, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as written and enforced has had very limited success. We can do better as envisioned in legislative reforms, including the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act and the Endangered Species Settlement Reform Act, and regulatory reforms advanced by the Administration. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, 1,784 U.S. species have been listed as threatened or endangered s… Continue Reading

September 30, 2019

Weekly Column: Countering The Assault On Our Supreme Court's Judicial Independence

The Supreme Court of the United States plays a vital role in safeguarding the United States' Constitution. Threats by other members of the U.S. Senate to intimidate the Supreme Court into capitulation of its constitutionally mandated duties goes against every value of judicial independence our country has long held. Fellow Idaho Senator James E. Risch and I joined a majority of our Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Supreme Court taking issue with legislative threats to the court's i… Continue Reading

September 23, 2019

Weekly Column: Honoring Gold Star Families

The sacrifices families make when their loved ones serve in our nation's Armed Forces are incredibly understated. Military families raise children and hold together households while their loved ones are far from home. They endure sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones serving in harm's way. And, if their loved ones are killed in service to our country, these extraordinary families, recognized as Gold Star families, have to carry on with the memories of their husbands and wives, sons… Continue Reading

September 16, 2019

Weekly Column: Medicaid Patient Abuse Prevention Legislation

In June, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden asked me to introduce legislation to affirm the state's authority to address Medicaid resident abuse beyond traditional health care facility settings. As providers are encouraged to treat patients in home and community-based settings, Medicaid integrity programs need to be able to conduct appropriate oversight to keep Idahoans safe and ensure that taxpayer funds are not misused. In July, I introduced S. 2379 that would clarify the authority of… Continue Reading

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