Washington D.C.--It has been less than three months since Mike Enzi was sworn in as Wyoming's 20th United States Senator. Not a long time, but it has been an active time.
"I came to Washington with a vision that I could help make Wyoming and our country a better place to live, a better place for our children" said Enzi. "The legislation I am working on will do that. It's a great feeling to be part of building a better future for my state."
Enzi has a special understanding of Sweetwater County and the problems its residents face because of the same problems he's had to address in his own Campbell County. Enzi was a mayor and state legislator. He represented a community that depends on minerals and a government that would help, not hinder economic growth. He knows the importance of oil, natural gas and soda ash to the Wyoming economy and he knows all too well that a fluctuation in the market price or an overly burdensome mandate passed down from a faceless bureaucracy can mean the loss of jobs and another family packing for a move.
"I'm here to see that doesn't happen," said Enzi.
He is aware of the actions of the Green River Basin Advisory Council and he has followed with keen interest its relationship with the Department of the Interior. Enzi also called for an extended comment period and congressional oversight hearings on the Bureau of Land Management's proposed law enforcement regulation changes, which are important to area recreationists and ranchers who use those lands. He has been a voice for Western ideals, seeking
to give back more control to the individuals who have to live under the rules that are made.
A workhorse, not a show horse, is what he has been called in the past. The bridle still fits snugly. Just days after being sworn in, Enzi gave his maiden speech on the Senate floor in support of the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment. He was the first freshman to give a floor speech. Since that day he's given three other speeches in support of this bill and numerous other compelling statements in favor of legislation that will make the lives of our citizens better. During Enzi's first month he presided over the Senate more than any other senator.
Enzi is on the forefront of groundbreaking legislation that is vital to our way of life, as he pushes for the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, the Family Friendly Workplace Act, and the Family Farm Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act. These measures are designed to keep people working, allow families to be together and to ensure they keep more of what they earn. As the United States Senate's only accountant, he has been a leader in the effort to create a tax system that is both simple and fair to the American people. He is working to bring more of the powers of the Goliath-like federal government down to their rightful place, the local level, and to create an environment of reduced regulation to spur economic growth.
Enzi believes that of all the important work taking place in this Congress, the 105th Congress, nothing is more important than putting America's financial house in order, setting the trend to keep it in order for the generations to come.
"The economic future of America's families depends on what we do now. American families depend on a balanced federal budget," said Enzi. "My family is very important to me. I'm sure your families are important to you as well. Every day that passes without a balanced budget hurts our kids. The responsibility of the debt falls on the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren. Do you realize that unless we take the necessary steps to stop the growth of the incredible mountain of debt we now face, children born in 1991 will be forced to pay 84 cents on the dollar of their income in taxes when they become adults?"
Enzi was a cosponsor of the Family Friendly Workplace Act. This legislation would allow employees to choose compensatory time off, instead of overtime pay, for school activities and a whole range of other personal reasons without getting the government involved in certifying and documenting these events.
During the first few weeks of Enzi's term as senator he spoke against Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations that would have required farmers who use cash-basis accounting to figure their income in the year a contract is made, rather than in the year when the product is delivered and payment received. In other words, the IRS wanted to make farmers pay their taxes earlier, before they had the money they were paying taxes on. The agency changed its mind and decided not to enforce this rule, but Enzi is still following up with the Family Farm Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act, which will guarantee farmers won't have to worry about the day the IRS might change its mind yet again.
Enzi is also deep into the fight against proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards that may result in mandatory car pooling and bans on backyard barbeques and lawn mowing.
He said the EPA has yet to scientifically justify the proposed new standards.
"We must elevate science above politics," said Enzi.
Through Enzi's work on the Labor and Human Resources Committee, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Small Business Committee and the Special Committee on Aging he is gaining a foothold in the climb toward tax simplification and regulatory reform.
But while the issues that affect our country as a whole are of monumental importance, Enzi believes every individual problem must be attended to. His Sweetwater County Representative, Lyn Shanaghy, is available to help with problems ranging from veterans' concerns to questions about Social Security benefits, to passports and everything in between. Anyone who has a concern about a matter on the federal level, or who just needs more information about the federal government is encouraged to call the Enzi office at (307) 739-9507 or (202) 224-3424.