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A message from Senator Enzi

School is in full swing, summer is coming to a close and soon the leaves will turn brown and hunting season is upon us. In Washington, D.C. the legislative season is also back in session following a month long state work period during August. Diana and I enjoyed being in the state for the entire month but I’m also glad to resume my work in Washington continuing to make sure the voices of the West are heard and represented.

In this newsletter, my staff and I have summarized just a few of the issues that have been at the forefront of legislative life in the U.S. Senate, including a top report from the General on the ground in Iraq and my continuing push to get Wyoming’s abandoned mine land money. Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. There is more information on my web page. We look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions.

Headlines and Highlights

Abandoned Mine Land Funds

Enzi is working to free up around $550 million owed to Wyoming by the federal government for back payments from the Abandoned Mine Land Fund (AML). Wyoming has contributed to the fund but money intended to be sent back to the state has been kept in federal vaults, collecting interest for the federal government.

Enzi wrote a letter with the rest of the Wyoming delegation to the Director of the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) urging the agency to pay Wyoming’s back payments in direct payments, not grants. Direct payments would ensure Wyoming has the benefit of earning interest on the money, not the federal government. This week Enzi also signed a letter to President Bush explaining congressional intent for the AML direct payments. Wyoming delegation members, the Governor and leaders in the Wyoming legislature also signed the letter.

Enzi is prepared to offer further clarifying legislation in the Senate if officials from the OSM do not honor the intent of legislation. Enzi helped author the original legislation that released the money to Wyoming.

10 Steps to Better Health Care

Millions of people are uninsured and not getting preventative care or adequate sickness and injury management. The uninsured impact those who already have insurance in ways many people do not realize. When people without health insurance have no choice and have to go to the emergency room and can’t pay, those expenses are paid for by increasing costs, including higher insurance rates, for those with health insurance. Enzi’s health care bill sets out 10 practical, realistic ways to help people get the insurance coverage they need and lessen the runaway rise in health care costs. For more information Click Here.

General Petraeus’ Report to Congress

Enzi was encouraged to hear General David Petraeus’ testimony before Congress about the mission, progress and future of American forces in Iraq. What General Petraeus said is what Enzi has been hearing from the troops in Iraq and confirmed by Ambassador to Iraq, Jon Corker. Enzi believes troop redeployment decisions should ultimately be made by the combat commanders and troops who are on the ground in Iraq.

On the Horizon

The Senate is expected to hold hearings on President Bush’s nominee, Michael B. Mukasey, for attorney general. Enzi has called on the Executive Director of the Wyoming Women’s Business Center to testify before the Senate Small Business Committee this Thursday about the future of women’s small business programs. The Senate is scheduled to debate the Defense Authorization bill as well as appropriations bills this month. 

News Nuggets

Air Force Anniversary

* As co-chairman of the Senate Air Force Caucus, Enzi has introduced a resolution commemorating the Air Force on their 60th Anniversary yesterday. The resolution also recognizes the contributions of active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian personnel to our country’s conflicts from the First World War to ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Multiple Sclerosis Ambassadors Ball

* Diana Enzi is the co-chair for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Ambassadors Ball this year. The ball will be held this week in Washington, D.C. Now in it’s 29th year, the Ambassadors Ball has raised more than $11 million for the Society’s movement toward a world free of MS.

State Quarter Unveiling Dedication

* Enzi joined Governor Freudenthal to officially unveil the new state quarter at the State Capitol last week. Enzi is an avid coin collector and enthusiast and was pivotal in passing legislation to mint the bison nickel and the Sacajawea dollar coin.

Legislator of the Year Award

* Enzi was honored by the International Franchise Association with its 2007 Legislator of the Year award for his work on health care legislation. Franchise employees make up 1 in 7 employees in the private sector. The award is presented annually to a member of Congress who has promoted legislation that protects, enhances and promotes franchising. There are more than 1,790 franchised establishments in Wyoming that provide more than 35,000 jobs and contribute $1.3 million to the U.S. economy.