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U.S. National Debt:

Federal Budget, Ricin Topics For Crapoâ??sFebruary â??Capitol Watchâ?? Program

Statewide call-in program airs Tuesday evening

Washington, DC - All U.S. Senate office buildings are expected to be reopened next week following the finding of the toxin ricin in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will be available to answer questions about the closures, the new federal budget proposals, or other issues during the February airing of his â??Capitol Watchâ?? program. The program airs statewide on Idaho cable television stations the second Tuesday of each month. Idahoans are invited to call in and ask questions of Senator Crapo during the program, which runs from 7 to 7:30 p.m. Mountain/6 to 6:30 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday, February 10th.â??President Bush wants to cut the federal deficit in half over the next five years. This proposal is a good place to start, but I want to reduce the deficit faster,â?? Crapo said in advance of Tuesdayâ??s program. â??We need to continue to evaluate the budget with an eye to fiscal restraint and Idaho priorities. Federal spending is a combination of entitlements and discretionary outlays. Currently, 55 percent of government spending is dedicated to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. While entitlements are mandatory expenditures, Congress still has regular debate about these programs, and changes can be made. We saw this happen in the Medicare reform legislation passed in 2003.â??â??Capitol Watchâ?? will air in the following cities over the following cable channels:Boise/Nampa/Caldwell11Coeur dâ??Alene19Idaho City37Idaho Falls/Blackfoot19Lewiston13Moscow11Pocatello22Twin Falls60 The program is sponsored by the Idaho Cable Telecommunications Association (ICTA) and local cable systems throughout Idaho. Local cable systems provide access and the channel numbers may vary from month to month. Due to equipment upgrades or scheduling conflicts, the program is not always available on every cable system in the state. # # #