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Guest Opinion

Pressing Ahead for a better economy during the 144th congress

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

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Guest Comment

Considerable work is required in the 114th Congress to build the foundation for a competitive, national economy that encourages innovation and job growth. Improving our nation's economic wellbeing remains my number one priority. In the 114th Congress, I will use my committee assignments to make progress on these and other efforts of importance to Idahoans.

As a returning member of the Senate Budget Committee and utilizing bipartisan answers on debt reduction sought as a member of the Bowles Simpson Commission and the Senate's "Gang of Six," I look forward to working with my colleagues to develop balanced budgets that will stop our unsustainable growth of debt. With our nation's debt now exceeding a staggering $ 18 trillion, Congress must put forth an annual budget—which has gone by the wayside in recent years. Strong budget controls to curb the explosive level of federal spending are needed.

As part of economic reform, we must also dramatically simplify our tax code. Our tax code is far too big, complex and anti-competitive to serve as the foundation for the economic growth our country needs. As mandatory programs comprise the majority of federal spending, debt solutions must also address automatic federal spending. Most importantly, we must improve the solvency of entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—to ensure that they are sustainable for current and future recipients.

I will utilize my position as the second most senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee to complement this effort. My focus is to protect taxpayers and stop taxpayer-funded bailouts. We must also make common-sense changes to Dodd-Frank that will minimize the impact of its hundreds of new rales and regulations on community banks and credit unions so that traditional lending can thrive in all communities.

Additionally, serving on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee provides opportunities to make progress on issues from stopping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's aggressive overreach into the lives of Idahoans to ensuring that rural areas are fairly considered for highway funding. Further, serving on the Committee on Indian Affairs gives me the opportunity to work closely with the Tribes in Idaho.

There are many more critical issues—reducing regulatory overreach, expanding market opportunities for U.S. products, Secure Rural Schools reauthorization; border security and immigration reform; renewable energy promotion; Endangered

Species Act improvements; addressing wildlife species concerns; fire management; water, timber and mining complexities; Highway Trust Fund solvency; 2nd Amendment rights; domestic violence prevention; addressing veterans' needs; education improvements; and many more. I will continue to utilize my committee assignments and advocate for Idahoans' priorities in the Senate.

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Original Publication Date: January 14, 2015

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