February 10, 2005

Crapo Moves To Powerful Senate Finance Committee

Senator gains in seniority, reorganizes for new challenges

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will add two new committee assignments at the beginning of the 109th Congress in January while retaining slots on the Senate Budget, Senate Banking, and Senate Agriculture Committees. He will join the Senate Finance and the Senate Indian Affairs committees. He will also continue to serve as Deputy Whip for the Senate Majority. He also moves in seniority to 66, up six from the previous Congress. "These committees have jurisdiction over issues that touch our everyday lives and reflect concerns that Idahoans continue to share with me regarding tax reform, federal budget and deficits, health care costs, Social Security and trade,â?? Crapo said. â??I will be able to continue to advocate for Idahoans on a number of fronts important to our state. It is particularly an honor to be selected to serve on the Finance Committee, which has been associated with some of the most significant and controversial issues in U.S. history.â?? Idahoâ??s senior Senator Larry Craig said, â??With Mikeâ??s selection to the Finance Committee and my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Idaho now has representatives on the two most powerful Committees in the Senate.â?? Crapo will be the newest member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees many issues of direct and daily importance to all Idahoans, including taxes, trade policy, Social Security, certain health care programs (Medicare, prescription drugs), and many others. A number of important policy issues taking place in Congress in the coming years will be crafted and directed by the Finance Committee. â??As we look to the future, it is imperative that our countryâ??s financial policies are sound and protect our citizens. The Finance Committee will be addressing Social Security concerns, international trade issues, and tax reform in the coming Congress, and each of these issues matter to Idahoans. Significant portions of the Presidentâ??s agenda will be directed through the Senate Finance Committee, and I look forward to the challenges that this sought-after committee assignment will present.â?? The Indian Affairs Committee has jurisdiction to study the circumstances facing American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples and to propose legislation to alleviate these difficulties. This includes education, economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, health care, and claims against the United States. â??This committee assignment will provide me with an avenue to advocate more directly for the five Indian reservations and substantial Native American population in Idaho,â?? Crapo said. The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee maintains jurisdiction over banking and financial institutions; export and trade promotion; export controls and financing; international financial programs; securities and other financial investments; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); accounting standards; insurance; financial exchanges and markets; deposit insurance; the Federal Home Loan Bank System; and regulatory activities of the Federal Reserve System. Crapo has served on the Banking Committee since he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in 1999. Crapo said, â??This is a critical platform to advocate for the needs of Idahoans in the financial arena and to promote the vitality of our nation's financial systems. Iâ??m already at work on legislation that will reform the regulations faced by banks and financial institutions. We need to revive our economy through tax policy and other budget and financial mechanisms.â?? Crapo will continue to serve on the Senate Budget Committee. The Budget Committee is responsible for drafting Congressâ?? annual budget plan and monitoring action on that budget. In addition, it oversees the operation of the Congressional Budget Office. Crapo said, â??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.â?? Crapo will add to his tenure on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, which has jurisdiction over a variety of agriculture issues including foreign agricultural trade policy, rural development legislation, education and research, commodity programs, forestry policy, watershed and flood control programs, and others. â??I look forward to furthering our effort to strengthen and improve federal farm programs through my service on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Our nation's farmers face extraordinary challenges at the local and international level, and Congress' work on the next Farm Bill is of paramount importance to the economic security of our nation.â?? In addition to his new responsibilities, Crapo will continue his work to update and strengthen the Endangered Species Act. "I am heartened by the consensus that ESA should produce more obvious benefits for species," Crapo said. "I look forward to developing a bill that begins that improvement. Although I will not serve as a member of the committee with jurisdiction for the ESA, it remains a high priority for me and I will be working closely with Chairman Inhofe and the subcommittee chairman to move forward with the reform effort that is underway.â?? Sen. James M. Inhofe, Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, welcomed the news of Crapo's continued leadership on ESA. "I am thrilled to learn that Mike plans to offer a bill to improve the ESA," Inhofe said. "His careful groundwork on the subject over the last 6 years is an invaluable resource and I look forward to hearings on the bill he produces." Crapoâ??s committee assignments will begin with the convening of the 109th Congress on January 4, 2005. Subcommittee assignments will be determined before that time. # # #