April 2013 E-Newsletter

Senator Mike Crapo
2013-05-03 16:00:01
United States Senator Mike Crapo - Idaho Welcome to my latest edition of the E-Newsletter Gun Control In late March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) indicated he would bring gun control legislation to the Senate Floor. In response, I joined several colleagues in a letter to Leader Reid stating that I would oppose the motion to proceed to legislation that will serve as a vehicle for additional gun restrictions. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. This right was put in place by the founders and has been consistently upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court. To read the release, click here. On April 11, with a vote of 68-31, the U.S. Senate moved the firearms package to the Floor for debate. I voted against moving forward with this legislation, as it would further restrict Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Idahoans. I adhere to my firm belief that the federal government cannot deny a law-abiding citizen his or her Second Amendment right. Additional gun control will not reduce violence and mass shootings in this country. Safeguarding the public should begin with enforcing and perfecting current laws while improving our mental health standards and addressing our culture of violence. To read my statement following the vote, click here. The Senate debated for several weeks and voted on a number of amendments. I supported amendments that would strengthen Second Amendment rights and address shortfalls in the current criminal justice system. Majority Leader Reid eventually pulled the bill from consideration before a vote on final passage. Rest assured, if further gun control legislation is brought before the U.S. Senate, I will continue to protect Idahoan�s constitutional right to �keep and bear arms�. Veterans Administration Backlog The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is experiencing a backlog, affecting more than 600,000 veterans' disability claims. Currently, 48.8 percent of Idaho's claims are over 125 days old, which translates to 1,892 Idahoans who have been waiting for more than 125 days to get the help they need. Our veterans go above-and-beyond in serving our nation, and we should do the same for them. I have seen the excitement and relief when a solider comes home, and we cannot let their needs become mired in a growing backlog of service and treatment. More needs to be done to address the critical shortcomings that result in the large number of backlogged claims, which is why I joined several of my colleagues in asking President Obama to become directly involved in the situation at the VA. To read more, click here. Federal Aviation Administration Airport Tower Closures On March 5, 2013, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta sent a letter to just under 200 airports participating in the FAA Federal Contract Tower Program, including airports in Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Hailey and Pocatello, notifying them that they would no longer receive such funding as part of the Agency�s $637 million sequestration cuts. It is disappointing that the FAA had the authority to make these cuts in a number of ways that would not have had such a dramatic effect on rural communities, but chose to instead administer them in this draconian way. In response, I co-sponsored Senator Jerry Moran�s (R-Kansas) bipartisan bill to keep contract towers operational, S. 687, which he introduced on April 9, 2013. There are ways to keep FAA towers open using unobligated research and capital funds from prior appropriations bills. To learn more about this legislation, click here. On March 14, I also sent a letter, along with my colleagues in the Idaho delegation, to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, asking for a delay in any final decisions on the closure of contract towers to allow for the opportunity to present our concerns about the closures and to provide us with a list of other possible actions considered to achieve the cuts required under sequestration. Our letter remains unanswered. We are confident that a wide range of potential actions were considered prior to settling on the disproportionate impacts scheduled to be imposed on contract towers. The cuts necessitated by the sequester will have profound impacts on many Idaho constituents, but essential services should be spared where possible. That is why Congress recently passed legislation to avert air traffic controller furloughs and contract tower closures. I will continue to work to address this issue to help prevent the loss of needed services. Website Redesign I recently launched a newly-redesigned Senate website. My goal is to stay in constant contact with Idahoans and provide them with up-to-date information in an efficient way. With changing technology, I recognized the need for an improved site. Throughout the site, a person will find updated content and photos that highlight my work in the U.S. Senate. Social media continues to shift the way Members of Congress stay connected with their constituents. This update offers Idahoans a way to quickly scroll through my videos, photos, Facebook updates and Twitter feed. Visitors will also notice an Action Center on the right side of the homepage. This center offers a quick route to email me, sign up for tele-townhalls, view the e-newsletter, access my voting record, request flags, place tour requests and solicit help with federal agencies. I encourage Idahoans to explore the site and continue to provide comments and suggestions on how my website can better serve them. To visit my new website, click here. Hot Topics Energy A broad group of Idahoans most affected by the Gateway West power lines worked in good faith and underwent a strenuous process to develop a route that everyone could agree on, only to have their efforts disregarded by the Bureau of Land Management. I joined fellow members of the Idaho Congressional Delegation in encouraging Idahoans to voice their opinion about the agency�s new plan at the many public hearings scheduled throughout Idaho. To read the release and see the schedule of public hearings, click here. Environment I joined several colleagues in co-sponsoring the Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2013. This legislation seeks to eliminate an unnecessary and costly Environmental Protection Agency regulation on pesticides. Unneeded regulations only stifle an already struggling economy. Congress must provide relief to our local communities in order to kick-start job growth and economic prosperity. To learn more, click here. Idaho communities and individuals who have been adversely affected by our nation�s weapons programs must be justly and sufficiently compensated by the federal government, which is why I joined several colleagues in co-sponsoring the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2013. This legislation seeks to expand restitution for Idahoans living downwind of atomic weapons tests or working in uranium mines. To read the release, click here. Wildlife I joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act. The five year extension would renew the authorization that expired at the end of fiscal year 2012. NAWCA grants are used to protect and restore the quality wetlands and associated upland habitats in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. To learn more about the legislation, click here . I recently reintroduced the Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2013. Harvesting of polar bears was banned on May 14, 2008 when the species was listed as threatened; however, this ban prevented hunters who had legally killed a polar bear in Canada prior to this date from importing their trophy hide. This measure would allow those hunters impacted to import the trophies that belong to them. To read the release, click here. Crapo�s Picks Did you see the editorial in the Wall Street Journal from Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Congressman Dave Camp (R-Michigan)? These men chair the two committees in the Senate and House of Representatives that have federal tax policy oversight responsibility. Our tax code is one of the most complex, anti-competitive and difficult to comply with codes in the world. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairmen Baucus and Camp to reform our tax code to make it fairer for families and spark economic growth. To read the editorial, click here. Recent Editorials April 1, 2013: Irresponsible Budgeting April 8, 2013: Cleanup, Redevelopment and Jobs April 15, 2013: The Impacts of EPA Regulations April 22, 2013: Conservation That Counts April 29, 2013: Additional Cost-Saving Steps Needed Staying in Touch Follow me on Twitter Like me on Facebook Subscribe to my YouTube Page Looking for more information? Please use the questions to the left to specify. Please visit the Issues and Legislation section of my website for information that addresses many issues important to all of us. As always, I highly value the opinions and concerns of my fellow Idahoans. With that in mind, we continue to work to improve my website. Please do not reply directly to this e-newsletter. We are set up to respond to your comments, suggestions or concerns at my official website. Also, please let me know if there are other issues that you would like me to address. Contact Information: Website: Offices: 239 Dirksen Senate Building Washington D.C., 20510 Phone: (202) 224-6142 Idaho Falls 410 Memorial Drive Suite 205 Idaho Falls, ID 83402 Phone: (208) 522-9779 Boise 251 East Front Street Suite 205 Boise, ID 83702 Phone: (208) 334-1776 Lewiston 313 'D' Street Suite 105 Lewiston, ID 83501 Phone: (208) 743-1492 Caldwell 524 East Cleveland Blvd. Suite 220 Caldwell, ID 83605 Phone: (208) 455-0360 Pocatello 275 South 5th Avenue Suite 225 Pocatello, ID 83201 Phone: (208) 236-6775 Coeur d' Alene 610 Hubbard Street Suite 209 Coeur d' Alene, ID 83814 Phone: (208) 664-5490 Twin Falls 202 Falls Avenue Suite 2 Twin Falls, ID 83301 Phone: (208) 734-2515 Unsubscribe: crapo.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm Privacy Policy: www.senate.gov/pagelayout/general/one_item_and_teasers/internetpolicy.htm
May 03, 2013
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Dear Friends,

Welcome to my latest edition of the E-Newsletter

Gun Control

In late March, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) indicated he would bring gun control legislation to the Senate Floor.  In response, I joined several colleagues in a letter to Leader Reid stating that I would oppose the motion to proceed to legislation that will serve as a vehicle for additional gun restrictions.  The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.  This right was put in place by the founders and has been consistently upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court.  To read the release, click On April 11, with a vote of 68-31, the U.S. Senate moved the firearms package to the Floor for debate.  I voted against moving forward with this legislation, as it would further restrict Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Idahoans.  I adhere to my firm belief that the federal government cannot deny a law-abiding citizen his or her Second Amendment right.  Additional gun control will not reduce violence and mass shootings in this country.  Safeguarding the public should begin with enforcing and perfecting current laws while improving our mental health standards and addressing our culture of violence.  To read my statement following the vote, click The Senate debated for several weeks and voted on a number of amendments.  I supported amendments that would strengthen Second Amendment rights and address shortfalls in the current criminal justice system.  Majority Leader Reid eventually pulled the bill from consideration before a vote on final passage. Rest assured, if further gun control legislation is brought before the U.S. Senate,  I will continue to protect Idahoan�s constitutional right to �keep and bear arms�.

Veterans Administration Backlog

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is experiencing a backlog, affecting more than 600,000 veterans' disability claims. Currently, 48.8 percent of Idaho's claims are over 125 days old, which translates to 1,892 Idahoans who have been waiting for more than 125 days to get the help they need.  Our veterans go above-and-beyond in serving our nation, and we should do the same for them.  I have seen the excitment and relief when a solider comes home, and we cannot let their needs become mired in a growing backlog of service and treatment.

More needs to be done to address the critical shortcomings that result in the large number of backlogged claims, which is why I joined several of my colleagues in asking President Obama to become directly involved in the situation at the VA.  To learn more, click Federal Aviation Administration Airport Tower Closures

On March 5, 2013, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta sent a letter to just under 200 airports participating in the FAA Federal Contract Tower Program, including airports in Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Hailey and Pocatello, notifying them that they would no longer receive such funding as part of the Agency�s $637 million sequestration cuts.  It is disappointing that the FAA had the authority to make these cuts in a number of ways that would not have had such a dramatic effect on rural communities, but chose to instead administer them in this draconian way. 

In response, I co-sponsored Senator Jerry Moran�s (R-Kansas) bipartisan bill to keep contract towers operational, S. 687, which he introduced on April 9, 2013.  There are ways to keep FAA towers open using unobligated research and capital funds from prior appropriations bills.  To learn more about this legislation, click On March 14, I also sent a letter, along with my colleagues in the Idaho delegation, to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, asking for a delay in any final decisions on the closure of contract towers to allow for the opportunity to present our concerns about the closures and to provide us with a list of other possible actions considered to achieve the cuts required under sequestration.  Our letter remains unanswered.  We are confident that a wide range of potential actions were considered prior to settling on the disproportionate impacts scheduled to be imposed on contract towers.  The cuts necessitated by the sequester will have profound impacts on many Idaho constituents, but essential services should be spared where possible.  That is why Congress recently passed legislation to avert air traffic controller furloughs and contract tower closures.  I will continue to work to address this issue to help prevent the loss of needed services. 

Website Redesign

I recently launched a newly-redesigned Senate website.  My goal is to stay in constant contact with Idahoans and provide them with up-to-date information in an efficient way.  With changing technology, I recognized the need for an improved site.  Throughout the site, a person will find updated content and photos that highlight my work in the U.S. Senate.

Social media continues to shift the way Members of Congress stay connected with their constituents.  This update offers Idahoans a way to quickly scroll through my videos, photos, Facebook updates and Twitter feed.  Visitors will also notice an Action Center on the right side of the homepage.  This center offers a quick route to email me, sign up for tele-townhalls, view the e-newsletter, access my voting record, request flags, place tour requests and solicit help with federal agencies.  I encourage Idahoans to explore the site and continue to provide comments and suggestions on how my website can better serve them.  To visit my new website, click Hot Topics

Energy

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