December 14, 2006

Crapo committee assignments benefit Idahoans

Will pursue initiatives on ESA, agriculture, tax relief, trade

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's rise in seniority as a member of the influential Senate Finance, Agriculture, and Banking Committees when the 110th Congress convenes next month will be of increased benefit to Idahoans. Crapo will also remain on the Senate Budget Committee, which designs the budget blueprint the Senate uses to outline spending parameters for federal programs. Overall, Crapo rises in seniority to 60 from 66. "These committee assignments have been critical to our efforts to extend tax relief for Idahoans and Idaho business, such as helping railroads better serve Idaho's ag community, and saving tax relief for parents sending students to college," Crapo said. "It will also be a busy year for Idaho agriculture as we continue to craft a new Farm Bill in 2007. And, I am pleased to have worked with my colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee to pass major regulatory reform legislation which cuts burdensome red tape for business and consumers alike." Crapo's continued service on the Senate Finance Committee means he will continue efforts to improve species recovery under the Endangered Species Act by offering voluntary tax incentives to landowners involved in recovery efforts. The proposal, introduced by Crapo and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) last session, now has the support of incoming Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana). Crapo's work on the Banking Committee also aided Boise-based Micron Technology with reforms of U.S. Export-Import Bank regulations which strengthen the market share for U.S. technology and other business. The powerful Finance Committee has sweeping jurisdiction over federal tax, health care, entitlement, and trade policies. Crapo's return will allow him to build on his successes and continue his advocacy of tax reforms, improved market opportunities for Idaho exports, and improvements to pension and health programs for Idahoans. His retention of the Agriculture Committee ensures that Crapo will be a key part of crafting his third straight Farm Bill, dating back to his service in the House. With this assignment, Crapo will have a direct role in designing conservation initiatives, forestry measures, and commodity programs integral to Idaho's agriculture community. As the panel with jurisdiction over financial services, insurance, housing, and public transit programs, the Banking Committee has important impacts on the financial security of every Idahoan. Crapo's increased seniority on the committee will help him tailor financial services policies to reflect the needs of Idahoans and help Americans remain competitive in the global economy. Crapo added his seat on the Budget Committee will allow him to continue critical work in restoring soundness to the federal budget and tackle the federal budget deficit. "I'll add to our efforts to advance programs of importance to Idaho, including salmon recovery and other resource funding, transportation needs, agriculture programs, the Owyhee Initiative and CIEDRA, education, energy research, and economic development," Crapo added. Gavin Gee, Director of the Idaho Department of Finance, said having an Idahoan on the Banking Committee is important. "We are so pleased that Senator Crapo has been reappointed to the Senate Banking Committee. His strong leadership on this powerful Committee has been very important to Idaho because he clearly understands the vital role financial institutions play, especially in a small but growing state like Idaho, in local economic development, personal and business financial assistance and consumer protection. Moreover, he has and continues to champion the compelling need to reduce outdated and unnecessary regulatory burdens on financial institutions, enabling them to provide even better financial services to Idahoans." Frank Priestley, President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, noted "Idaho's agriculture industry is among the most diverse of any state. When you add energy production in the form of biofuels, wind power, geothermal and methane refining to the mix the picture becomes even more dynamic. It's critical to Idaho agriculture to have good representation from people with a clear understanding of all of those dynamics at the federal level, and especially on the House and Senate Agriculture committees." Crapo was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Committees and worked with Senate Republican Leader-Elect Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on the new committee assignments. "Senator Crapo did an outstanding job leading the committee selection process and helped me match the expertise and interests of Senators to their committee assignments. I appreciate his counsel and dedication to helping our members," McConnell said. # # #