New Year, New Opportunities

Senator Lisa Murkowski
2018-02-12 13:24:29
United States Senator for Alaska, Lisa Murkowski *New Year, New Opportunities* It's been a busy start to a New Year! Whether it's securing a life-saving road for the community of King Cove, addressing our nation's pressing energy needs and Alaska's vast resource potential, or fighting back against the opioid crisis --- we've started off the year in stride and have much work ahead of us. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/pic_1_1.jpg] *Click image for my comments on President Trump's first State of the Union Address.* *Keep up with what I'm doing, and follow me on:* [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Facebook.png] [link 1] [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Instagram.png] [link 2] [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/twitterbird_RGB.png] [link 3] *Back to Work in Washington* *King Cove* For decades, the people of King Cove have asked for a reliable way to access life-saving services and improve their quality of life, through a simple, one-lane, gravel road. After years of efforts, the Department of the Interior and the King Cove Corporation signed an agreement authorizing a small land exchange needed to construct a road. This is a huge win for the people of King Cove and all of Alaska. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Pic_2_1.jpg] *Alaska Delegation and community leaders celebrating the King Cove land exchange.* [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Pic_3_1.jpg] [link 4]* *Click image above for my remarks at the King Cove announcement press conference.* [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Pic_4_1.jpg]* *Alaska Delegation and community leaders celebrating the King Cove land exchange.* ANWR* * [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/ANWR_pic_1_1.jpg] [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/ANWR_Pic_2_1.jpg]* * [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/ANWR_Pic_3_1.jpg]* *Celebrating the opening of the non-wilderness 1002 Area of ANWR* *with longtime friends during a recent visit to Fairbanks. * *New Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program* Early last month the Interior Department released a new draft of the proposed Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for 2019-2024, which renews the opportunity for production in Alaska's Arctic. This is important as we seek to create jobs, refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, keep energy affordable, and strengthen our long-term security. I'll be encouraging Secretary Zinke to focus on the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Cook Inlet as the new plan progresses through the process. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/dy_1_1.jpg] *A special congratulations to my friend and colleague Congressman Don Young on being named Dean of the House of Representatives.* *Providing Relief to Alaskans* Last month, the Senate ended a government shutdown that was disruptive to thousands in Alaska and across the nation by passing a continuing resolution (CR) which funded the government through February 8, 2018. Congress then passed a funding measure last week to ensure the government remains funded through March 23. These funding measures contained some major legislative wins for Alaska: - Reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years, which will be crucial to the more than 17,700 of Denali KidCare enrollees who rely on CHIP. - Suspended three Affordable Care Act taxes and fees, including the so-called Cadillac Tax, which will give Alaskan employers who would have been hit hardest by this tax penalty much needed time to address the impact of this tax on their healthcare plans. - Two-year extension for our community health centers, which will be vital to providing access to affordable healthcare for our most vulnerable individuals and families. - Provided $89.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to help states and communities impacted by recent hurricanes and wildfires. This includes relief for communities affected by fisheries disasters. Standing up for our Fisheries* Senator Sullivan and I urged our colleagues [link 5] to include disaster funding for coastal communities impacted by fisheries disasters as part of any disaster relief package that moves through Congress. After more than a year of persistence, funding for fisheries disasters was included in the emergency supplemental appropriations, contained in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. This legislation is truly vital to communities like those in the Gulf of Alaska who were hit hard by the pink salmon fishery in 2016. I appreciate my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee, especially Senators Cochran and Shelby, for working with me over the months to secure this aid for Alaska and other states impacted by these disasters. Fighting the Opioid Epidemic* During a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing [link 6] we heard from Mr. Sam Quinones, journalist and author of *Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic*. I questioned Mr. Quinones on how we as Senators and role models can use our positions, federal programs, policies, and funding to address the opioid crisis and the stigma associated with those who have been impacted. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/oPIOID_1_1.png] [link 7] Click here [link 8] to watch my Q&A with Mr. Sam Quinones. *Supporting Caregivers * The RAISE Family Caregivers Act [link 9], legislation I cosponsored, was recently signed into law. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain, and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. This will provide high-quality family-centered care in all healthcare services to the 40 million family caregivers in this country. *Dreamers * We should not punish children for the actions of their parents. Those who were brought to this country by their parents, were raised here, educated here, lived here, and dreamed here, should be welcomed to stay here. They should have the right to work and a way to citizenship. I have consistently cosponsored legislation to provide just that, which can be found here [link 10]. The Senate will have a robust floor debate beginning today. *Tax Reform* In December, the Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, comprehensive tax reform that aims to encourage the economic growth needed to create jobs and generate wealth, while reducing taxes. Americans have already begun to see the benefits. Over 220 companies nationwide and counting [link 11], including in Alaska, have given pay raises, bonuses, or 401(k) increases as a result. The IRS is currently working on new withholding tables that should translate to increases in take home pay for many Alaskans as soon as this month. Important highlights of the bill include: - Roughly doubling the standard deduction to protect the amount of what you earn each year from taxes - from $6,350 and $12,700 under current law to $12,000 and $24,000 for individuals and married couples, respectively. - Increasing the Child Tax Credit. - Lowering individual taxes and setting the rates at 0%, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. - Continuing to allow people to write off the cost of state and local taxes - just like current law - up to $10,000. This gives individuals and families the ability to choose among sales, income and property taxes to best fit their circumstances. - Preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the Earned Income Tax Credit. - Eliminating the ACA individual mandate penalty tax. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Tax_Reform_1_2.jpg] *Net Neutrality* In December, the FCC announced its decision to roll-back an Obama-era rule called Net Neutrality. I believe in an open, accessible internet for everyone. It is time for a legislative solution, not more executive action, and I will be pushing my colleagues to work together to enact durable protections for consumers and an open internet. *Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act * The Senate recently passed the Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act, legislation that I cosponsored, reauthorizing the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) to help measure the impacts of Ocean Acidification. This bill will help fill in some of our gaps in ocean monitoring and more effectively address the issues that affect our nation's water. I also introduced a bipartisan ocean acidification bill [link 12]to identify and assess communities, including island communities, low-population rural communities, and subsistence communities, that are most dependent on coastal and ocean resources that may be impacted by ocean acidification. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/NOAA.jpg] *NOAA vessel conducting ocean observation.* *Legislator of the Year Award* [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Legislator_of_the_Year_1.jpg] *Celebrating being named "Legislator of the Year" with The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).* *Opiate Listening Session* * [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Opiate_Listening_Session_1.jpg]* *Attended an opiate listening session with groups from around Fairbanks. The Fairbanks Opiate Task Force, Fairbanks Native Association, and Department of Corrections all shared ideas on fostering wellness through prevention and advocacy.* Intern Applications* My office offers a number of internship opportunities in both my Washington, D.C. office, as well as select state office locations. Internship programs are available for recent Alaskan high school graduates. [image = murkowski.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/INterns.jpg] To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and a letter of recommendation to my Washington D.C. office. Faxed or e-mailed applications are preferred. Information should be faxed to 202-224-5301 attn: Intern Coordinator. For the Summer Internship program, please complete the application below. Applications are due March 15th! 2018 Summer Internship Application [link 13] *Military Academy Nominations* Every year I have the honor of nominating a group of promising young Alaskans for admission to our nation's military academies. Thank you to all the applicants for their willingness to serve. I wish you all the best of luck. See the complete list of my nominees here: [link 14] *Headlines in the News* - Murkowski sees reason for optimism, though work remains to be done [link 15] (Peninsula Clarion) - 'A historic moment': How ANWR drilling was passed by Congress after decades of effort [link 16](Anchorage Daily News) - Zinke advances road through Alaska wildlife refuge [link 17] (The Hill) - Senator Murkowski, worried for coastal communities, is trying to assess ocean acidification [link 18] (Gray TV) - Commend Murkowski for clean energy priority [link 19](Fairbanks Daily News-Miner) - Net Neutrality fight continues on Capitol Hill [link 20] (KTUU)
 

New Year, New Opportunities

It’s been a busy start to a New Year! Whether it’s securing a life-saving road for the community of King Cove, addressing our nation’s pressing energy needs and Alaska’s vast resource potential, or fighting back against the opioid crisis --- we’ve started off the year in stride and have much work ahead of us. 

 Click image for my comments on President Trump’s first State of the Union Address.

Keep up with what I'm doing, and follow me on:

Back to Work in Washington

King Cove

For decades, the people of King Cove have asked for a reliable way to access life-saving services and improve their quality of life, through a simple, one-lane, gravel road. After years of efforts, the Department of the Interior and the King Cove Corporation signed an agreement authorizing a small land exchange needed to construct a road. This is a huge win for the people of King Cove and all of Alaska.

Alaska Delegation and community leaders celebrating the King Cove land exchange.

Click image above for my remarks at the King Cove announcement press conference.

Alaska Delegation and community leaders celebrating the King Cove land exchange.

ANWR

Celebrating the opening of the non-wilderness 1002 Area of ANWR with longtime friends during a recent visit to Fairbanks.

New Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Early last month the Interior Department released a new draft of the proposed Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for 2019-2024, which renews the opportunity for production in Alaska’s Arctic. This is important as we seek to create jobs, refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, keep energy affordable, and strengthen our long-term security. I’ll be encouraging Secretary Zinke to focus on the Chukchi, Beaufort, and Cook Inlet as the new plan progresses through the process. 

A special congratulations to my friend and colleague Congressman Don Young on being named Dean of the House of Representatives.

Providing Relief to Alaskans

Last month, the Senate ended a government shutdown that was disruptive to thousands in Alaska and across the nation by passing a continuing resolution (CR) which funded the government through February 8, 2018. Congress then passed a funding measure last week to ensure the government remains funded through March 23. These funding measures contained some major legislative wins for Alaska:

  • Reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 10 years, which will be crucial to the more than 17,700 of Denali KidCare enrollees who rely on CHIP.
  • Suspended three Affordable Care Act taxes and fees, including the so-called Cadillac Tax, which will give Alaskan employers who would have been hit hardest by this tax penalty much needed time to address the impact of this tax on their healthcare plans.
  • Two-year extension for our community health centers, which will be vital to providing access to affordable healthcare for our most vulnerable individuals and families.
  • Provided $89.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to help states and communities impacted by recent hurricanes and wildfires. This includes relief for communities affected by fisheries disasters.

Standing up for our Fisheries

to include disaster funding for coastal communities impacted by fisheries disasters as part of any disaster relief package that moves through Congress. After more than a year of persistence, funding for fisheries disasters was included in the emergency supplemental appropriations, contained in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. This legislation is truly vital to communities like those in the Gulf of Alaska who were hit hard by the pink salmon fishery in 2016. I appreciate my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee, especially Senators Cochran and Shelby, for working with me over the months to secure this aid for Alaska and other states impacted by these disasters.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

 we heard from Mr. Sam Quinones, journalist and author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. I questioned Mr. Quinones on how we as Senators and role models can use our positions, federal programs, policies, and funding to address the opioid crisis and the stigma associated with those who have been impacted. 

 to watch my Q&A with Mr. Sam Quinones.

Supporting Caregivers

The , legislation I cosponsored, was recently signed into law. It directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop, maintain, and periodically update a National Family Caregiving Strategy. This will provide high-quality family-centered care in all healthcare services to the 40 million family caregivers in this country.

Dreamers

We should not punish children for the actions of their parents. Those who were brought to this country by their parents, were raised here, educated here, lived here, and dreamed here, should be welcomed to stay here. They should have the right to work and a way to citizenship. I have consistently cosponsored legislation to provide just that, which can be. The Senate will have a robust floor debate beginning today.

Tax Reform

In December, the Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, comprehensive tax reform that aims to encourage the economic growth needed to create jobs and generate wealth, while reducing taxes. Americans have already begun to see the benefits. , including in Alaska, have given pay raises, bonuses, or 401(k) increases as a result. The IRS is currently working on new withholding tables that should translate to increases in take home pay for many Alaskans as soon as this month. Important highlights of the bill include:

  • Roughly doubling the standard deduction to protect the amount of what you earn each year from taxes – from $6,350 and $12,700 under current law to $12,000 and $24,000 for individuals and married couples, respectively.
  • Increasing the Child Tax Credit.
  • Lowering individual taxes and setting the rates at 0%, 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
  • Continuing to allow people to write off the cost of state and local taxes - just like current law – up to $10,000. This gives individuals and families the ability to choose among sales, income and property taxes to best fit their circumstances.
  • Preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Eliminating the ACA individual mandate penalty tax.

Net Neutrality

In December, the FCC announced its decision to roll-back an Obama-era rule called Net Neutrality. I believe in an open, accessible internet for everyone. It is time for a legislative solution, not more executive action, and I will be pushing my colleagues to work together to enact durable protections for consumers and an open internet.

Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act

The Senate recently passed the Coordinated Ocean Monitoring and Research Act, legislation that I cosponsored, reauthorizing the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) to help measure the impacts of Ocean Acidification. This bill will help fill in some of our gaps in ocean monitoring and more effectively address the issues that affect our nation’s water.

I also to identify and assess communities, including island communities, low-population rural communities, and subsistence communities, that are most dependent on coastal and ocean resources that may be impacted by ocean acidification. 

NOAA vessel conducting ocean observation.

Legislator of the Year Award

Celebrating being named “Legislator of the Year” with The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).

Opiate Listening Session

Attended an opiate listening session with groups from around Fairbanks. The Fairbanks Opiate Task Force, Fairbanks Native Association, and Department of Corrections all shared ideas on fostering wellness through prevention and advocacy.

Intern Applications

My office offers a number of internship opportunities in both my Washington, D.C. office, as well as select state office locations. Internship programs are available for recent Alaskan high school graduates.

To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and a letter of recommendation to my Washington D.C. office. Faxed or e-mailed applications are preferred. Information should be faxed to 202-224-5301 attn: Intern Coordinator.

For the Summer Internship program, please complete the application below. Applications are due March 15th!

Military Academy Nominations

Every year I have the honor of nominating a group of promising young Alaskans for admission to our nation’s military academies. Thank you to all the applicants for their willingness to serve. I wish you all the best of luck.

See the complete

Headlines in the News

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