Editorials

October 23, 2017

Tax Reform: Making Sense Of The Numbers

This column is the third in a series of columns to discuss the need for comprehensive tax reform, rather than solely debating traditional rate cuts, review many of the tax reform proposals and ideas put forward from across the political spectrum, consider how reforms are estimated and reflect on the potential effects of the reforms being considered. The goal with this series of tax reform columns is to carry on a discussion with Idahoans about the reform efforts underway. In this column, I wil… Continue Reading


October 16, 2017

Tax Reform: Building On Years Of Work And Proposals

I recently wrote about the need for comprehensive tax reform to lower the burden on all Americans and make the tax code fairer, flatter and simpler. This column is meant to be the second in a series of columns to delve into the need for comprehensive reform, rather than solely debating traditional rate cuts, review many of the tax reform proposals and ideas put forward from across the political spectrum, consider how reforms are estimated and reflect on the potential effects of the reforms bein… Continue Reading


October 09, 2017

Fraud Watch: Actively Protecting Your Identity

Credit bureaus serve a critical function in our financial system and have become a daily part of every American's life. Every day, these institutions intersect in people's attempts to get credit cards, car loans, mortgages and other items. Consumers may know about their involvement in their lives, such as when they directly request a credit report, but sometimes they may not, like when a company requests a background check to determine their eligibility for a cell phone. The ability of Americ… Continue Reading


October 02, 2017

Time For Comprehensive Tax Reform

Serious work on federal tax reform is encouraging, as the best way to strengthen families, support small business growth and job creation and boost our national economy is to enact pro-growth comprehensive tax reform. The tax code is weighing us down and in need of comprehensive reform to lower the burden on all Americans and make the tax code fairer, flatter and simpler. We would be hard pressed to create a tax code that is more complex, more costly to comply with, unfair and anti-competitiv… Continue Reading


September 25, 2017

I Wear The Blue Teardrop To Help Raise Awareness About Military Suicide

Marilyn Neal, Department President for the Idaho Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary, gave me a blue teardrop pin to wear on my lapel to bring awareness to veterans and military suicide. I continue to wear the pin with pride and take every opportunity to explain its significance. The VFW Auxiliary describes the blue teardrop as a "symbol that we can use to open a conversation to give this issue the attention so desperately needed." The Auxiliary provides a template of t… Continue Reading


September 18, 2017

Strength And Patriotism Of Japanese Americans

The 75th anniversary this year of the opening of the historic Minidoka War Relocation Center is not only a reminder of the injustices that can never be repeated, but also of the extraordinary service of Japanese Americans. Despite their own country, America, questioning their patriotism and uprooting their families, many put their lives on the line to uphold the freedoms of those who distrusted and condemned them. The strength and patriotism of Japanese Americans is to be celebrated and honore… Continue Reading


September 11, 2017

Healthy Forests Legislation

Fourteen years ago, congressional colleagues and I crafted the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA) to help provide the U.S. Forest Service with the tools needed to do the necessary work on the ground to restore our forests to health and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire to our communities and ecosystems. With the National Interagency Fire Center reporting more than 45,000 fires burning more than 6.9 million acres since the beginning of this year alone-approximately 2.4 milli… Continue Reading


September 04, 2017

Idahoans: Boundless Examples Of Humanity

Events in Charlottesville and hateful vandalism at our own Anne Frank Memorial are glaring reminders of the work that must continue. But, the immeasurable kindness that fills our communities is Idaho's bedrock. We do not have to look far to see the depth of compassion among Idahoans. It is far too large to quantify, but these are some examples of the types of acts of kindness seen regularly in our communities and the examples being set by Idahoans who contribute to Idaho's exceptionalism: … Continue Reading


August 28, 2017

Combatting Human Trafficking

In the 2017 Trafficking in Persons report, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson wrote, "Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time. It splinters families, distorts global markets, undermines the rule of law, and spurs other transnational criminal activity. It threatens public safety and national security. But worst of all, the crime robs human beings of their freedom and their dignity. That's why we must pursue an end to the scourge of human trafficking."… Continue Reading


August 21, 2017

Honoring Those Who Served At Wake Island

The history of World War II and the bravery of the American service members who fought for our nation and its allies are familiar parts of our collective national history, but an often overlooked part of this legacy is the service of the civilian workers on Wake Island who were swept into the war. The civilian workers, including many Idahoans, working for Morrison Knudsen Company building infrastructure on the island when it was attacked the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor immediately be… Continue Reading


August 14, 2017

Backing Agriculture And The Rural Economy

"Today, we need to feed some 7 billion people. By the year 2050, that population will swell to 9.5 billion . . . To put the demand for food into perspective, we are going to have to double our production between now and 2050. We will have to produce more food in the next 30 years than has been produced in the last 8,000 years-a daunting task, to say the least. . . . we cannot feed the world if we continue to place obstacle after obstacle in front of those who produce our food and fiber," U.S. … Continue Reading


August 07, 2017

Prioritizing Missing American Servicemembers

I recently co-sponsored legislation introduced by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calling on the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies to prioritize efforts to identify and recover unaccounted American military personnel. Our country cannot waver on efforts to bring home America's prisoners of war (POW)s and missing in action (MIA). We must finish the search for American families who have waited decades for answers about their loved ones who have not returned home after serving… Continue Reading


July 31, 2017

To Better Understand The Realities Of War

In 2001, I talked with fellow Idahoan Captain Lynn B. Richmond about his experiences serving in artillery for the U.S. Army in World War II. Captain Richmond earned the Bronze Star for his meritorious service in direct support of combat operations from December 1943 to May 1945 in Italy, France and Germany. Captain Richmond candidly shared memories, photos and other keepsakes. We looked at his Bronze Star and read his citation that conveyed a sense of his heroism: "As Battery Commander, Capt… Continue Reading


July 24, 2017

A New Federal Judge For Idaho

In spite of the hyper-partisan climate in our nation's capital, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 100-0, the U.S. Senate recently confirmed Judge David Nye to serve as the next United States District Judge for the District of Idaho. Judge Nye's overwhelming confirmation is a great benefit for Idaho, which has been shorthanded in managing rising caseloads. This confirmation is important for our state to help administer the law. For the past two years, Idaho has had a three-judge caseload han… Continue Reading


July 17, 2017

Streamlining Community Care For Veterans

By continuing to put veterans first, we can drive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reforms in a direction that makes a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of the veterans it serves. This is the purpose of legislation I introduced, S. 1279, the Veterans Health Administration Reform Act of 2017, that would tailor and improve access to local care for veterans to better meet their individual needs. Delays for appointments and treatment through Veterans Health Administration (VHA) fa… Continue Reading


July 10, 2017

Collecting The Histories Of Idaho Veterans

Idahoan William Russell Woodfin Sr. served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was interviewed in 2001 by longtime member of my staff, the late-Linda Norris, as part of collecting a first-hand account of his service for the Veterans History Project. First Lieutenant Woodfin discusses "bravery": "I always say this to high school or elementary schools when I talk to them that I hope no one thinks I'm brave. I did so little compared to many who lived, but particularly… Continue Reading


July 03, 2017

Modernizing The Veterans Benefits Appeals Process

Idaho veterans have shared detailed, personal accounts of how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) claims appeals process could better serve veterans. They have shared these helpful insights through years of statewide veterans surveys, hundreds of town halls, and numerous other direct communications. For this reason, I co-sponsored S. 1024, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, to overhaul the current appeals process and replace it with a new multi-track system to en… Continue Reading


June 26, 2017

Russia Sanctions Legislation

Over the course of the past three months, the Senate Banking Committee, on which I serve as Chairman, has held hearings assessing the impacts of the current sanctions regime against Russia. The committee found that despite existing sanctions, Russia remains a hostile, recalcitrant power, and that in Russian President Putin's calculus, the costs of the sanctions do not outweigh the benefits of occupying Crimea and contributing to unrest in Ukraine, continuing to support the Assad regime's assaul… Continue Reading


June 19, 2017

Pledging To Help Raise PTSD Awareness

Captain Sarah C. Humphries served in the U.S. Army in Iraq. In a video on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website, Sarah explains how she knew she had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She describes an incident that occurred while walking with her son who was riding his bike: "We had just started walking down the street riding the bike and a lot of neighbors were out talking. It was the time of night where everyone comes out because it was so hot. He almost got hit by a ca… Continue Reading


June 12, 2017

Moving Forward With Positive Spirit Of Renewal

Kindness, support and respect run deep in Idaho. The response to the vandalism of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho, is a recent example of the depth of compassion in Idahoans. I commend Idahoans, and specifically the Boise community, for coming together so quickly to fight hate speech and related vandalism. At a recent event at the Anne Frank Memorial, I had the opportunity to present a Congressional Record Statement recognizing this rejection of hateful language an… Continue Reading

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