January 21, 2009

Crapo Committee Assignments Reflect Idaho Concerns And Priorities

Returns to Environment and Public Works, Indian Affairs committees

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's committee assignments for the 111th Congress reflect the growing financial and economic concerns faced by the United States in the coming months. Crapo announced today that he will continue his service on the Committee on Finance, the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Budget. Furthermore, he will return to the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Indian Affairs. He also moved up in seniority in the Senate, now ranking 50, up 10 from 60 in the 110th Congress. Crapo noted that the committee assignments for the entire Idaho Delegation include responsibility for a number of issues of importance for Idaho.

"Few times in our country's history demand the type of attention to our financial and economic structures as these times do," Crapo said. "The past few months have demonstrated the necessity for close and careful attention to our financial institutions, and I expect that both the Banking and Finance Committees will be extremely involved in examining how our economic situation ended up in its current state as well as how to prevent that from happening in the future. Too many Idaho families and others throughout the nation face difficult financial choices because of the present economy, and it is important that Congress work to provide the best solutions to strengthen our economy."

The Finance Committee oversees many issues of direct and daily importance to all Idahoans, including taxes, trade policy, Social Security, certain health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid), and many others. Crapo said, "President Obama has indicated a strong interest in reviewing and improving entitlement programs, and I look forward to working with his administration to ensure that we find the best ways to provide assistance for those who depend on such programs for health care and other necessities. In addition, I will continue to advocate for entitlement reform that will meet the impending fiscal challenges that will confront us as the Baby Boom generation retires."

The Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, on which Crapo has served since 1999 when he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator, maintains jurisdiction over efforts to promote the stability of the financial system, promote lending to families and businesses, preserve homeownership and authorize federal transit spending. "I intend to focus my efforts on protecting the taxpayers and stopping irresponsible taxpayer buyouts of troubled businesses, initiating a dialogue on what it is going to take to restart the flow of credit to businesses and families, and modernizing our financial regulatory structure and its goals," Crapo continued.

Crapo, who previously served as a subcommittee chairman on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), is looking forward to returning to the committee. "Without question, EPW deals with some of the most important natural resource issues facing Idaho," Crapo said. "Our recent success with the collaborative process over the Owyhee Initiative demonstrates how we can work together to resolve environmental conflicts. I look forward to using that experience to further sensible and effective environmental policies for our country. When you consider all that this committee encompasses, issues like water, fisheries, wildlife and environmental protection, it is clear that Congress has significant challenges. It will be an honor to participate in the discussion and debate as we work together to resolve such matters. Another important issue for Idahoans is the highway reauthorization bill, which will expire in September of this year. Having served on EPW during the last reauthorization, I recognize the need to ensure that highway funds are distributed in a way that recognizes the national interest in transportation investment in rural states, not just in more heavily populated areas."

Crapo also returns to the Indian Affairs Committee, where he expects to advocate more directly for the substantial Native American population in Idaho. "This gives me an opportunity to work closely to ensure that Idaho's five Indian reservations have the needed attention in areas of education, economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, health care and other issues."

The Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congress' annual budget plan and monitoring action on that budget. In addition, it oversees the operation of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Crapo said, "This committee allows me to continue critical work in restoring soundness to the federal budget and tackle the federal budget deficit. I also welcome the opportunity to add to our successes in advancing programs of special importance to Idaho, including salmon recovery and other resource funding, transportation needs, agriculture initiatives, education, energy research and economic development."

Crapo served a third time as Chairman of the Committee on Committees and worked with Senate Republican Leader 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.