January 2015 E-Newsletter

Senator Mike Crapo
2015-02-03 09:23:46
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February 03, 2015
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The State of the Union
 
 
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Comprehensive fiscal reforms and economic growth should top the list of priorities for the President and Congress over the next two years.  The debt crisis is the most pressing issue currently facing the nation, and the next two years present an opportunity for the President to work with Congress to implement much-needed fiscal reforms.  There is no question that our nation�s burgeoning debt crisis continues tostrain the economy and the country�s fiscal future.  Our national debt, now surpassing a staggering $18 TRILLION, has grown close to 70 percent since the President assumed office.  Absent action, this dangerous and unsustainable level of debt poses a threat to our national security.  Over time, the interest payments on the debt, which provide no benefits or services toany Americans, will soon threaten the federal government�s ability to meet its most basic functions.  

The President proposed several initiatives during his sixth State of the Union address which would further increase federal spending.  These proposals lacked specifics on how to pay for these programs without adding to the deficit or increasing taxes on hard-working Americans.  Idahoans and Americans overwhelmingly want leaders who are committed to free enterprise and limited government, not a continuation of the last six year�s irresponsible tax and spend policies.  We must prioritize fundamental tax reform focused on growth through lowering overall rates and compliance costs that will enable job creation.  We would be hard-pressed to create a more expensive system to comply with, unfair, inefficient and anti-competitive tax code than our current code.  At the same time, we must also address the impending insolvency of our entitlement programs, which remain the biggest drivers of our national debt.

Areas that are ripe for bipartisan action include job creation, improving our economic outlook, reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses and finding fixes for our broken health care system.  It is long past time for the President to deliver on his promise to work with Congress in meaningful ways to confront the many serious challenges facing our nation.

Stop Federal Education Mandates

On January 9, I introduced the Local Leadership in Education Act, which amends the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  This common-sense legislation will prohibit curriculum, testing and standards (among others) overreach by the Federal Government into the important work of educating students.  The removal of these requirements would permit states to choose how and when to measure student performance and growth.  The federal government must not be a national school board.  Too often, state and local educators spend too much time dealing with federal mandates when it is local leaders who know what�s best for their students.  Decisions closer to the classroom are more focused on the specific circumstances and needs of individual students rather than a one-size-fits-all approach promulgated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.  The federal government can be a willing partner in funding education; however, it should not pressure states through funding and relief from outmoded federal policies to adopt academic standards.  Read more here.

Hot Topics: 114th Congress

  • Federal Regulations:  I joined my colleague Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to introduce legislation to curb the explosive growth of federal regulations coming out of Washington.  Estimates are that burdens on small businesses to comply with existing bureaucratic red tape come in at around $2 trillion per year.  S. 226, the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, would require proposed rules and regulations put out by federal agencies to carry an estimated bill of at least $100 million if put into effect; congressional approval is needed before that happens.  Current law exempts many agency regulations from congressional oversight, which means that Congress has to overturn the rule with a joint resolution of disapproval, which the President can veto.  This should be flip-flopped for the benefit of all.  The REINS Act would require a joint resolution of approval before any major rule could be finalized, increasing much-needed transparency in the federal rulemaking process.  Currently, the federal rulemaking structure lets federal agencies operate with tremendous autonomy withno real congressional oversight.  The result is that agencies propose and finalize thousands of regulations each year--many of them controversial--without a full public discussion or involvement, or disclosure of the data supporting a rule.  Read more here.
  • National Monuments:  In advance of the President acting unilaterally to designate new national monument over the course of the next two years, I introduced legislation to limit presidential power related to the designation of national monuments.  S. 228, the National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act, would require congressional approval before any new national monument designations are finalized.  The measure also requires that any state in which a proposed monument is located pass authorizing legislation on the designation.  Important land management decisions, especially those with the potential to have significant impact on our communities, must have local support and input.  Top-down national monuments designations can result in severe restrictions on access to public lands and economic disruption to surrounding communities.  It is critical that states and affected stakeholders where a monument could be located play a key role and have a voice in the decision-making process.  Read more here.
  • Second Amendment Rights:  This week, I introduced legislation to reaffirm the Second Amendment rights of Idahoans.  The legislation makes firearm regulations consistent across all federal lands by allowing law-abiding citizens to carry firearms on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) property.  Under current law, a person may carry a concealed weapon in a National Park or Refuge as long as individuals comply with the firearm laws of the park�s home state.  However, the same rights are not extended to Americans who hunt, camp or fish on Corps lands, effectively denying them of their Second Amendment freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution when on Corps lands.  Learn more here.  

Looking for more information? 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 to this e-newsletter.  We are set up to respond to your comments, suggestions or concerns at my official website,www.crapo.senate.gov.  Also, please let me know if there are other issues that you would like me to address.

All the best,

 

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