Latest from The Spokesman-Review
CHEERS … to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Along with “Gang of Six” Republicans Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois, Mark Warner of Virginia and Ken Conrad of North Dakota, Crapo struck a budget deal to shave nearly $4 trillion in deficits - $3 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in repealed tax subsidies on such things as mortgage interest and tax credits for families with children. Shared sacrifice may secure enough Republicans and Democrats to pass something, but it buys the enmity of anti-tax extremists. Expect the rigid right to inflict some pain on Crapo before it's over/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
- Senate rejects House plan, Obama calls for deal/Carl Hulse, New York Times
Question: With the rejection of House Republicans' “cut, cap, & balance' legislation by the U.S. Senate this morning, is it time for warring parties to get behind the Gang of Six proposal?
Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo and five other senators unveiled their $4 trillion bipartisan deficit-reduction plan Tuesday to praise, if not immediate support, from both President Barack Obama and a number of senators from both parties. The so-called Gang of Six proposes to immediately cut $500 billion out of the federal budget, impose spending caps on federal agencies and eliminate many tax breaks in exchange for reduced income tax rates and dropping the $1.7 trillion alternative minimum tax — along the same lines of the 1986 tax reform measure signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The deal calls for cuts to everything from Social Security and Medicare spending to the Pentagon, and eliminates $1 trillion in tax breaks over the next 10 years/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Are you impressed that Idaho's U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo is one of the Gang of 6 that's trying to lead Congress & President Obama out of debt ceiling wilderness?
Idaho GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have joined with Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Begich of Alaska to introduce legislation today designed to overturn a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the four say would subject logging roads in public and private forests “to some of the most stringent environmental protection laws in the United States,” by declaring logging road runoff a point source pollution subject to Clean Water Act permitting requirements. Since 1976, such runoff has been regulated under the EPA's silviculture rule as non-point source pollution. You can read the senators' full statement about the legislation here.
Here's why Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo isn't among the Idaho GOP leaders on Mitt Romney's Idaho steering committee list: “He's not on that letter for Romney because he doesn't generally endorse,” said Crapo's spokesman, Lindsay Nothern. “He wasn't very active in the last go-round with McCain. He's not likely to be on anything in the near future. That's just his style. He's not one that gets in real early.”
Added Nothern, “His rationale is he doesn't like to tell people how to vote, basically. … I would expect he'll sit out for quite a while, if not the whole election.” Crapo wasn't at the Romney fundraiser in Boise today; he's in Washington, D.C. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The U.S. Senate has voted 81-19 in favor of H.R. 1493, the spending cuts bill that passed the House earlier today, sending the bill to President Obama. Among those 19 “no” votes: Both of Idaho's senators. Lindsay Nothern, press secretary for Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said, “He didn't think the cuts went far enough.” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, has expressed a similar view.
The bill is identical to the one that passed the House - so it includes Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson's rider lifting endangered species protections from wolves.
President Obama's 2011-12 budget proposal continues down an “unsustainable path” of spending too much, taxing too much and borrowing too much, Idaho senior Sen. Mike Crapo said this morning. “This budget simply moves the money around, with no measurable reduction in the overall size of government,” said Crapo, R-Idaho, a member of the president's bipartisan commission on the debt and the deficit. “This is not only out of step with the priorities of the American people, but it fails to recognize the realities that the president’s own colleagues in Congress have begun to recognize.” According to the Associated Press, Obama's $3.73 trillion budget calls for a $1.65 trillion deficit this year and another $1.1 trillion deficit next year/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you agree/disagree with U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo that the deficits President Obama proposes in the next two years are 'unsustainable'?
Idaho's senior lawmaker is the subject of a story in Friday's Wall Street Journal, which says Crapo is working with three other senators who joined him in voting for the deficit commission's recommendations in December. “We are beyond the point of gridlock,” Crapo told the Journal. “We can't simply allow parochial interests or other narrow interests to prevent action. We need to start taking major steps to address our debt problems.” The Journal's Corey Boles writes that Crapo has been drawn “into the limelight from what had previously been a low-key congressional career”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: We haven't discussed U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo much at Huckleberries Online. What's your impression of him and his work for Idaho?
Congress delayed an increase in the estate tax — but Congress should use this two-year reprieve to repeal the tax entirely. In a guest opinion sent to Idaho newspapers today, Sen. Mike Crapo calls for a repeal of the so-called “death tax.” “High federal taxes should not prevent a family farmer, rancher or other business owner from passing the business they developed onto their children and grandchildren,” writes Crapo, R-Idaho. “Penalizing productive heritage undercuts efforts to maintain small businesses and local jobs. We must utilize the next two years to eliminate the Death Tax and advance some tax certainty and fairness for the betterment of families, communities and the U.S. economy”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Should the death tax be eliminated altogether?
Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch said today that legislation to remove wolves from endangered species protection likely won't be considered again this year, after an effort they joined today failed. The two joined senators from Wyoming and Utah to offer a bill for unanimous consent of the Senate, but Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland, objected. That, the two Idaho senators said in a joint statement, “ended consideration of the bill, likely for the rest of this session.” Click below to read their full statement.
For the fourth time in a row, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has been selected to chair the Senate Republicans’ Committee on Committees - yes, that’s really what it’s called - to handle GOP committee assignments for the 112th Congress. “Mike is a trusted advisor and has the respect of his colleagues,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “He has a proven track record and the entire Republican conference is honored to have him once again leading our negotiations on committee assignments.” Said Crapo, “I look forward to working to ensure my colleagues have the best possible opportunities to make a mark on the important agenda of the 112th Congress.” Click below to read McConnell’s full press release.
Jeers … to Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. You hear a lot of talk from these two Republicans about fighting budget deficits. That is, until it means standing up to Idaho’s richest 1.3 percent taxpayers. Saturday they joined with 35 of their Republican colleagues to preserve Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples making at least $250,000 a year. Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell voted to end the high-end tax breaks. The Senate vote followed the Dec. 2 House action, where U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, also supported continuing payoffs for the rich. Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers didn’t vote/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Should tax cuts continue for everyone, including the richest 1.3% in the country?
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, released a joint statement today saying they’ll support the recommendations of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on which both serve, even while calling them “flawed and incomplete.” They said, “Everyone in America should be prepared to sacrifice, beginning with politicians in Washington. Everything has to be on the table.”
The two said, “History has not been kind to great nations who borrowed and spent beyond their means. Doing nothing will, sooner rather than later, guarantee that this nation becomes a second-rate power with less opportunity and less freedom. … The time for action is now. We can’t afford to wait until the next election to begin this process.” You can read their full statement here.
Item: Risch, Crapo co-requesting $818 million in 213 earmarks/Jay Patrick, Idaho Reporter
More Info: Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo say they’re all for ending earmarks, but while the maligned funding method remains in place the two are requesting away. For 2011, the senators are co-requesting 213 earmarks worth $818 million. Brad Houglun, a Risch senior policy advisor, said the senator would rather do away with earmarks, but “at the same time he’s reconciled to the fact states are getting money,” and will continue putting in for Idaho’s share.
Question: Doesn’t it make sense for Risch & Crapo to try to get as much money as possible for Idaho via earmarks when everyone else is doing it for their states?
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call has come out with a story about lobbying by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s daughter, Lara; she represents numerous health-care-related interests, the paper reported, including several Idaho medical facilities for which the Idaho Republican has sought earmarks, according to federal lobbying disclosure records. Paul Lee, a former Senate aide and founder of the firm Strategic Health Care, where Lara Crapo serves as government relations director, said the office maintains a strict separation between Crapo and her father’s office. You can read the Roll Call report here.
If I hadn’t checked Randy Stapilus’s Facebook page, I would have missed this story from the Bonner County Bee in which U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo ran head long into a group of birthers during a Sandpoint pit stop. From the article by Cameron Rasmusson: “Substantial conversation arose at speculation about the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship and consequently, his presidency. Several attendees were eager to weigh in on the issue, one noting that if Obama’s presidency was invalid, all of his appointees would be deposed as well, resulting in a political coup. He then asked whether Crapo would support Obama’s impeachment if sufficient investigation occurred. Crapo replied that it was the House’s responsibility to impeach the president, while the Senate held the trial, and he would need more information before making a public statement. “I would need to see more background on the issue,” he said. More here.
Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises will hold a special event with U.S. Senator Mike Crapo on Sept. 25, from 5:30-7 p.m. Supporters can meet and greet Crapo as they cruise Lake Coeur d’Alene, while international accordionist Anton Lazarov provides musical entertainment. There is a no-host bar. Tickets are $5, and the first 100 people to board the boat will receive a free glass of beer. The event has been dubbed SeptOberFest with the Senator. “This promises to be a fun time with one of Idaho’s favorite people,” said Jerry Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality/Hagadone Hospitality news release.
Question: What’s a good Mormon boy like Crapo doing on a Hagadone Hospitality cruise boat, listening to accordion music? Is this the way you’d like to spend your evening?
Before the May GOP primary, I took Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Mike Crapo to task for skipping out on debates aired statewide on Idaho Public Television. The prospects are looking better this time around. Crapo’s campaign has tentatively agreed to an Oct. 19 debate — although the Senate’s adjournment date could pose a potential glitch. Otter’s camp has agreed to an Oct. 28 debate, just five days before the Nov. 2 election. According to the conventional wisdom, debates (help) a challenger by providing a shared podium with an incumbent. This is why incumbents often have considerable incentive to limit the number of debates — since the office holders already hold the edge in name identification and, generally in fund-raising/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
- Non-expendables: Don’t look for Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen/Dennis Mansfield
- Glenn Beck: An unlikely preacher/Fort Boise
- Do Idaho’s wilderness areas need safety signs?/John Robison, ICL
- Idaho 6th from bottom in 2nd quarter tax revenue/Dan Popkey, Statesman
- So much anti-federal wind comes from Idaho/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
- A view of federal lands policy … 50 years ago/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post
Question Why do you think incumbents Butch Otter & Mike Crapo are willing to debate this year?
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo says his bill to cut taxes for small breweries is gaining support, as evidenced by the addition of 24 co-sponsors. Crapo has joined Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, as an original sponsor of this push to halve federal excise taxes for smaller breweries. They contend the break to save small brewers about $3.50 per barrel on their first 60,000 barrels annually will leave them more money to invest in workers and supplies. Crapo, a Republican, will be touting his bill this weekend at the Portneuf Valley Brewing Company in Pocatello, though he won’t be sipping a cold, frothy one: He’s a member of the Mormon church, whose adherents don’t drink alcohol. He will join the Idaho Grain Producers Association to discuss the measure’s benefits to agriculture.
There was a time when then-Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was dubbed the “cybersenator” because he was the first U.S. senator to send out podcasts. Now, it seems, our digital edge in the U.S. Senate has slipped. George Washington University and New York University’s Stern School of Business have completed a joint study that evaluated and ranked every senator for what it dubbed their “digital I.Q.,” or “online competence” based on presence on websites, social media following and sentiment, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimization skills. Idaho’s results? Sen. Mike Crapo ranked 64th among the 100 senators, and Sen. Jim Risch ranked 93rd/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Are you more online competent than a U.S. senator from Idaho?
There was a time when then-Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was dubbed the “cybersenator” because he was the first U.S. senator to send out podcasts. Now, it seems, our digital edge in the U.S. Senate has slipped. George Washington University and New York University’s Stern School of Business have completed a joint study that evaluated and ranked every senator for what it dubbed their “digital I.Q.,” or “online competence” based on presence on websites, social media following and sentiment, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimization skills. Idaho’s results? Sen. Mike Crapo ranked 64th among the 100 senators, and Sen. Jim Risch ranked 93rd.
The top seven senators were dubbed “digital geniuses,” and were led by none other than Sen. John McCain, who famously said “I don’t email” during the 2008 presidential campaign. According to the study, he got his first Blackberry in January 2009 and “took to the Twittersphere,” and he now has 1.7 million Twitter followers and 630,000 Facebook “likes.” The other senators who got the “digital genius” designation were Sens. Jim DeMint, Scott Brown, Al Franken, John Cornyn, Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer. Republicans led Democrats in the study, with an average digital I.Q. 5.5 percent higher than their colleagues across the aisle. “Our thesis is that digital competence provides an opportunity for senators to authentically engage and mobilize voters and constituents,” wrote the two authors of the study, Scott Galloway, clinical associate professor of marketing at NYU Stern, and Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington School of Business.
So what’s the designation for our guys? Crapo’s score of 89 (McCain’s was 156) designates his digital I.Q. as “challenged.” And Risch? At a score of 68, he’s dubbed “feeble.”
Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging him to appeal a federal court decision placing wolves back on the endangered species list, which they call a “most unfortunate decision.” The two ask Salazar to “vigorously” appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, adding, “It is imperative that the Department of the Interior put forth any and all necessary resources in order to successfully appeal and overturn the District Court’s decision.” Click below to read the full letter. Idaho’s top fish and game officials already have called for the state to appeal the ruling; as a named defendant, Idaho can appeal on its own, but the lead defendant in the case is Salazar/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- $1M gift to help transform Capitol Annex into ‘Law Learning Center’/Eye On Boise
- US chamber joins Crapo in Boise, Minnick in CdA to talk trade/Eye On Boise
- Goedde named to national education position/Eye On Boise
- Boise has no plans to fine residents for not recycling/Dustin Hurst, IReporter
- 1 state lawmaker hasn’t pitched legislation in 2 years/Dustin Hurst, IReporter
Question: Should the Obama administration get involved on the side of Idaho and Montana in seeking to restore wolf hunts?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coming to both Boise and Coeur d’Alene this week, to host sessions at the Boise and Coeur d’Alene chambers on exports, trade and job creation. The Boise session, set for Wednesday from 8 to 11 a.m., will feature U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, along with chamber officials and federal farm services and Small Business Administration officials. The CdA session, set for Thursday from 8-9:30 a.m., will feature 1st District Congressman Walt Minnick, along with U.S. Chamber officials. Both will focus on potential job growth for Idaho if Congress passes the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, along with information on how Idaho businesses can grow through exports and trade.
Bobby Maldonado, U.S. Chamber spokesman, said the events are part of a national push that’s included events in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Ohio.
The publisher of Working Mother Magazine has named Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo among 29 members of Congress in its “Best of Congress” list. Working Mother Media calls itself the largest multimedia company in the country focused on diversity and the advancement of women. The magazine reaches 2 million readers. Crapo is one of eight Republicans and 21 Democrats chosen for supporting families and family-friendly work practices. Crapo and other recipients “practice what they preach — employing family-friendly policies in their own offices,” said Working Mother. Of Crapo’s 41 staffers, Working Mother says nine are working moms. Idaho’s other lawmakers were not recognized/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Is your workplace family-friendly?
The Idaho Association of Realtors has announced its endorsement of the re-election bids of Idaho Congressmen Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson and Sen. Mike Crapo. Julie DeLorenzo, the group’s president, said, “Our congressional delegation has consistently demonstrated their pro-business, pro-private property rights beliefs in Congress. These three individuals are a tremendous asset to the State of Idaho, and the IAR enthusiastically supports their re-election this November”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- GOP says Minnick, Altmire, Space remain top targets/CQ-Roll Call
Question: Do you think the Idaho delegation as a whole is effective?
Former Coeur d’Alene restaurant owner Tom Sullivan, now an eastern Idaho resident and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, will return to his former establishment in North Idaho on Friday for a free campaign benefit concert featuring Too Slim and the Taildraggers. The former Tubbs Cafe at 313 Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive is now O’Shays, where the concert will take place in the beer garden. “It’s a wonderful place that we have a lot of very fond memories from,” Sullivan said. “We hope that people will contribute to the campaign, but it’s a free concert”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: In his background, Sullivan has a bankruptcy from his former Coeur d’Alene restaurant, owes the IRS $150K in back taxes, and has never run for office. But I give him credit for paying down his IRS debt from $600K (unlike an Athol legislator who will remain nameless). Anything else about Sullivan that you like?
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation - along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. - to halve the federal excise taxes smaller craft breweries pay, a move his office says “would benefit Idaho brewers and farmers and could boost employment and commerce.” The break for craft brewers also could boost ag products like hops and barley, Crapo said, along with production at growing craft breweries like Laughing Dog Brewery east of Sandpoint. On Monday, Crapo will visit and tour Laughing Dog and discuss the legislation.
A bill to extend unemployment benefits has moved closer to Senate passage — over the objections of Idaho’s Republican senators. The Senate has voted 60-40 to break a filibuster, which paves the way to vote on the plan. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted to maintain the filibuster. On Monday, President Obama blasted Republicans for delaying the extension of benefits/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Did Sens. Crapo and Risch vote as you would want them to do on this issue?
The U.S. Senate Thursday approved changing how the federal government watches over Wall Street and other financial transactions. Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted against the plan, as did all but three Republicans in the Senate. The legislation now heads to President Barack Obama, who is likely to sign it into law. It would change the government’s watchdog powers in several ways. It creates a new consumer protection bureau within the Federal Reserve that monitors credit cards, home mortgages, loans, and other financial products. The protection bureau would try to prevent deceptive and abusive practices. The legislation would also allow the government to break up and liquidate large insolvent banks and financial institutions using funds from fees on those institutions, rather than taxpayer dollars/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: Did Crapo & Risch vote your wishes in opposing the finance sector overhaul?