VA Data Theft Must Be Addressed With Reform

You have 26.5 million potential identify theft victims as a result of this, and Rep. Simmons and I want to do everything possible to assist these veterans. Rep. Simmons is a veteran himself and we both have significant numbers of veterans living in our districts, so this problem strikes very close to home for us. Our bill is bipartisan and it calls for both some short term solutions and long term reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Do-Less Than Nothing Congress Must Provide Answers

This Congress is the 'Do-Less than the Do-Nothing Congress.' While Americans deal with skyrocketing health care costs and gas prices, and ask for comprehensive immigration reform and an increase in the minimum wage, the Republican leadership has Congress on track to meet fewer days than the infamous Do-Nothing Congress under President Truman fifty years ago. During the Memorial Day recess, Republicans will face tough questions from their constituents. They will be asked why seniors who were unable to navigate the confusing drug plan enrollment procedures are facing a lifetime tax. They will be asked why the Republicans passed a budget that makes the record deficits they created worse. And, they will be asked why Republicans' only idea on how to make America energy independent is more drilling.

Democrats have innovative policies to address America's challenges, and we look forward to working with the American people to make this country stronger at home and abroad.

An Aggressive Approach To Anti-Aircraft Missiles

The US program for helping eliminate and secure shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles around the world is the State Department’s Small Arms/Light Weapons Destruction Initiative. It is currently funded at $8.75 million for FY 2006, and the Bush Administration has requested about the same amount for 2007. I was honored to join Chairman Royce in requesting that the appropriators provide full funding for this program, but I know we can do much more.

Therefore, HR 5333 would authorize $15 million in 2007 and $20 million in 2008 for these efforts under a Global Program for the Elimination of MANPADS (man-portable shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles) and Conventional Weapons. Given the severity and urgency of this problem, I would hope that we will spend even more than these modest amounts to destroy or secure these weapons in future years.


Looking Forward to Working With Kempthorne

As Chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I am pleased I will be able to work closely with my friend Dirk Kempthorne as Interior Secretary. We have important work to do at Interior and I’ve discussed with Dirk my commitment to major rehabilitation for the St. Mary diversion facilities in Montana and the full funding of the Secure Rural Schools program. I congratulate Dirk on his confirmation and look forward to working with him in the near term on the important issues facing us.


I Voted Against General Hayden

I voted against General Hayden.

I respect General Hayden’s lifetime of public service, and his testimony included some encouraging signs that he learned important lessons from the way intelligence was used to defend the Iraq war.

However, I cannot support General Hayden’s nomination in light of the very serious questions about the scope and legality of the NSA domestic surveillance programs that he helped design, implement, and defend.

Until there is a full accounting of the surveillance program, I cannot in good conscience support a promotion for its chief architect.

We all want the Administration to have strong leaders and the necessary means to gather the best possible intelligence for our foreign policy and national security, especially the war on terrorism.

Those critical goals require a Director of Central Intelligence who will work with Congress – not against us – in our efforts to prevent terrorism and improve our national security laws. We must protect the country while preserving our constitutional freedoms.


The Immigration Bill Not Secure Our Borders

The amnesty plan the Senate passed will ultimately stall and with it delay any measures to secure our borders.The political reality is that there are great differences of opinion on how to handle illegal immigration, but there is general consensus on securing the border. That's why I've said we should secure the border first, and then we can debate how to deal with immigration reform.


Why I Could Not Support The Immigration Bill

While I support immigration through a legal framework, I could not support rewarding those who come here illegally. Unfortunately, this bill encourages more illegal immigration, overburdens our social services and is unfair to those who are patiently and respectfully trying to enter America legally.


Kavanaugh Is Not Qualified For The Federal Court

We gave Mr. Kavanaugh an opportunity to prove that he was independent and impartial in spite of his partisan past. I personally noted that this was my chief concern with his nomination, and I know that my colleagues did the same. Mr. Kavanaugh refused to specify the issues and policies on which he would recuse himself—in spite of the fact that he was at the center of a number of executive policy directives in recent years.


Reward Clean Energy, Not Foreign Oil

As elected leaders, we have an obligation to do all we can to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is why I've made energy one of my top priorities in Congress. But Washington recently passed an energy bill that gives the same oil companies that made $100 billion in profits another $2 billion in tax cuts. We need to repeal those lavish cuts and pass my legislation that gives grants to local governments that pass Clean Energy Bond Acts and municipalities that have clean action plans.


ANWR Frees Us From Difficulties of World Market

We must take every possible step in an attempt to meet our energy needs through all available sources within in our country. If we don't go after our domestic sources of energy, we will continue to be at the mercy of world supply and demand and uncertain international political situations. We can sit back and watch gas prices rise and rise, or we can do something.