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A Message from Senator Mike Enzi
 
The holiday season is right around the corner and November always presents us with a time to celebrate all that we are thankful for. So while you’re busy shopping, traveling and preparing for visiting friends and family, don’t forget to take a moment and reflect on what you can give thanks for in your life. Next week, many of you will be spending time with your family and I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with mine. Diana and I wish all Wyoming residents a Happy Thanksgiving.
 
In this newsletter, my staff and I have summarized some of the important issues I have been working on for Wyoming. Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. More information is available on my Web site. I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or comments.
 
Headlines & Highlights
 
Health care update
 
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the health care bill by a slim 220-215 margin. The bill will increase the cost of health care for most people in Wyoming and the nation while adding one of the largest bureaucracies money can buy. “People in Wyoming know that if something costs a trillion dollars then it’s not free. Health care reform can happen without costing taxpayers a trillion dollars and adding a mega-bureaucracy. It’s not too late for the Senate to make meaningful, common sense changes that benefit regular folks,” said Enzi. To view the 118 boards, bureaucracies, commissions and programs created in the Pelosi health care bill, click here. Senator Enzi is focused on an alternative, step-by step approach to reduce health care costs, preserve the rights of patients to see the doctors of their choice, encourage incentives for healthy behaviors, protect Medicare coverage for seniors, eliminate discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and ensure that people can take their insurance with them from job-to-job. “We need health care reform, but it has to be done the right way. We have to bring down costs so that everyone can have access to the quality, affordable care they need,” Enzi said. For an outline of Senator Enzi’s health care reform proposals, click here.
           
Paid Sick Leave
 
During a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Nov. 10, Senator Enzi warned that federal legislation mandating more paid sick days could further endanger the nation’s fragile economy and undermine efforts employers are already taking to protect their workers. "Many employers are not able to maintain current payrolls, which is evidenced by the rise in unemployment to a 26-year high at 10.2 percent.  Employers should not be forced to reduce or adjust current healthcare or retirement benefits, or downsize their workforce because of a new one-size-fits-all mandate," Enzi said. “The alarm that the H1N1 virus has raised in many households also translates to our workplaces, but it isn’t reason to punish already struggling small businesses. Now more than ever we should be lifting up America’s small businesses to help create economic growth and to create sustainable jobs.”
 
Protecting Charitable Donations

Senator Enzi, along with 30 other senators, sent a letter to fellow Members of Congress expressing concern that the health care reform bill to be debated soon in the Senate could include amendments that would potentially harm charitable and non-profit organizations in an attempt to save the federal government money. Currently, taxpayers earning more than $200,000 (and families earning more than $250,000) each year can itemize charitable deductions at a rate equal to their tax bracket. Recent efforts by the Administration want to reduce or cap the value of itemized deductions for taxpayers whose income tax brackets will increase to 36 percent or 39.6 percent next year. This would separate the itemized tax deduction and tax rates for the first time in almost 100 years. A cap on charitable deductions will send the wrong message to charities around the country and could ultimately hurt hundreds of thousands of social service non-profit organizations that serve those most in need. Senator Enzi thinks Wyoming is about neighbors helping neighbors, not helping the federal government help itself and hoping the government may help its neighbors.
 
On the Horizon
 
Legislative Items
 
When Congress returns after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Senate is scheduled to consider health care reform.  Other potential legislative items to be debated before the end of 2009 include, but are not limited to, Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bills, debt limit, veterans health bills, nominations, and federal highway transportation funding extension.
 
Wyoming Office Hours
 
Senator Enzi's five state offices in Cheyenne, Gillette, Casper, Cody and Jackson offer office hours where Wyoming residents have the opportunity to meet with Senator Enzi’s state representatives. He will not be in attendance. State offices are open Monday-Friday.
 
Buffalo – Thursday, Dec. 10 – Town Hall – 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Cowley
– Tuesday, Nov. 24 – Town Hall – 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Kaycee – Thursday, Dec. 10 – Town Hall – 9-10 a.m.
Torrington – Thursday, Nov. 19 – Platte Valley Bank – 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Wheatland – Thursday, Nov. 19 – Platte Valley Bank – 2:30-3:30 p.m.


News Nuggets

GTMO Detainees & H1N1 Vaccine
 
Senator Enzi co-sponsored a resolution stating that the Administration should postpone providing vaccinations for the H1N1 virus to detainees at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) until Americans identified as being in priority for vaccination for the virus have the opportunity to receive a vaccination first. “Because of current supply limitations, the vaccine is not available to the general population. Our focus needs to be distributing the vaccine to priority groups within the United States first,” Senator Enzi said. Additionally, Enzi criticized the federal government's preparation and response to the H1N1 virus, saying vaccine production and distribution cannot continue to fall short of the public's need.
 
Holiday Mail for Heroes

For anyone who wants to show their gratitude and support to wounded service members this holiday season, Senator Enzi is encouraging people to take advantage of a partnership between the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. to collect and distribute holiday greeting cards to wounded military personnel. “Today and every day people should thank God for our veterans and thank a veteran for their freedom,” Enzi said. “Holiday Mail for Heroes is a great way to show them thanks during this holiday season.” Cards should be postmarked no later than Dec. 7. For mailing instructions and address,
click here. Please do not send mail directly to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
 
IRS Undelivered Refunds
 
Every year, thousands of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund checks go undelivered when taxpayers don’t notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service of an address change. Taxpayers who didn’t receive an anticipated refund check can visit www.irs.gov and use the “Where’s My Refund?” service to check on the status of a missing refund, initiate refund tracers and update their addresses online. Taxpayers without Internet service can call (800) 829-1954.
 
Book Recommendation
 
Senator Enzi recommends the book “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. The book answers many life questions through a Jewish and Christian standpoint following a minister and a rabbi. Senator Enzi said it “has a lot of information and is a very satisfying read. It won’t take long because it reads like a thriller.” To see what else Senator Enzi is reading, click here to read an article from The Hill. The senator discussed his favorite novels, reading habits and his other book recommendations.