A message from Senator Enzi
Spring is officially here, and as we move toward warmer weather, I hope this newsletter finds you well.
This past weekend I hosted my annual inventors conference in Powell with great success. Nearly 50 people attended for a day of learning about securing patents, developing business plans and marketing inventions. I encourage you to visit my Web site to look at some of the presentations and resources from the 2008 conference.
In this newsletter, my staff and I have summarized some of the noteworthy issues I’ve been working on in the U.S. Senate over the past few weeks, including the Iraq war, Wyoming’s share of federal mineral royalties, a bill to fund programs for those coping with a traumatic brain injury and more. Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. There is more information on my Web page. I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or comments.
Headlines and Highlights
Last week, General David Petraeus, the country’s top general in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. Enzi had the opportunity to witness first-hand what Petraeus and Crocker recounted when Enzi traveled to Iraq with a congressional delegation at the end of March to observe the detainee prison system. He kept an informal journal during his overseas trip where he tells of visiting detention centers in Baghdad and outside of Basra, meeting with Wyoming soldiers and more. Excerpts from his Iraq trip journal are below.
“We learned about the very important decision each soldier has to make - to kill or to detain. The U.S. soldiers have the restraint to detain and because of that preference there are very large detention centers to sort through the detainees to keep the bad guys separate and out of circulation, to release those who are not a threat and to work with and train those in between. General Stone, the head of the detainee operations in Iraq, is going one step further and actually helping detainees gain skills before they go back out.”
“Illiteracy is a huge problem in the area and the detention centers can teach a person in 3 weeks to read at a 3rd grade reading level. Copies of the Koran are given to them and when they can read they can check the references to the common myths radicals use and can decide for themselves.”
“In the Camp Bucca Detention Center I got to see Iraq’s and perhaps the Middle East’s most attended school. 6,000 adult student detainees voluntarily attend school.”
Click to read Enzi’s full Iraq trip journal.
Wyoming's share of federal mineral royalties
Enzi continued his fight to restore Wyoming’s share of federal mineral royalties. Along with Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Enzi sent a letter last week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., requesting their support in correcting the injustice in the next possible piece of legislation. Enzi and Barrasso will continue to work to ensure that Wyoming’s share of its federal mineral royalties will be protected and put to use in Wyoming, not to pay more D.C. bureaucrats.
On the Horizon
This week, the Senate is considering the Highway Technical Corrections bill, which will update the 2005 federal transportation reauthorization bill. In the coming weeks, legislation on the floor is expected to include a supplemental appropriations bill as well as a measure to prevent employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against people because of their genetics. The Senate will be in session for another five weeks until the Memorial Day Wyoming work period and will also likely address patent reform, veterans’ insurance and House-passed energy legislation between now and the holiday.
Local Office Hours
For Wyoming residents wanting to meet on an individual basis with one of Enzi's state representatives to discuss issues, questions or concerns about the federal government, the following office hours are scheduled in the upcoming month:
- Lander office hours – Lander Town Hall, April 17 from 9 to 10 a.m.
- Ethete office hours – Wind River Tribal College (Room C1), April 17 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
- Fort Washakie office hours - JBC Chambers, April 17, 12 to 1 p.m.
- Midwest office hours – Midwest Town Hall, May 2 from 10 to 11 a.m.
- Niobrara County office hours – Lusk Town Hall, May 7 from 10 to 11 a.m.
- Johnson County office hours – Buffalo Town Hall, May 13 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Area residents are encouraged to attend. Any comments and concerns expressed during office hours will be relayed to Enzi.
Enzi, the Senate's only accountant, was one of just 10 U.S. senators to receive the 2007 Taxpayers' Friend Award from the National Taxpayers Union and ranked in their annual report as the fifth-most fiscally conservative senator overall.
*Leukemia & Lymphoma Society award
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society honored Enzi for his work to further blood cancer research and awareness with the 2008 Congressional Honors award. The award is the society’s top recognition for lawmakers and is given to one senator and one representative each year. The society presented Enzi with his award at a reception at the U.S. Capitol this month where they also remembered the legacy of the late Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming who passed away last June after battling leukemia.
Last week, the Senate passed the “Reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act” (S. 793). Enzi, Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee co-sponsored the legislation, which will boost programs to help people cope with the effects of a TBI. According to the CDC, Wyoming has the highest per capita rate of TBI and TBI-related deaths in the country. The Brain Injury Association of Wyoming estimates there may be as many as 15,000 people living with TBI in the state, not to mention another 648 people are hospitalized each year because of a traumatic brain injury. Of those hospitalizations, 229 Wyomingites are left with a lifelong disability.
April 2008 is "Financial Literacy Month." The Senate passed a resolution (S. Res. 495) designating the month to raise awareness of the importance of financial literacy. Enzi was an original co-sponsor of the resolution.
*H-2A comment period extension
Enzi and Senator John Barrasso pushed the Department of Labor to extend the window for public comment on the agency’s proposed overhaul of its agricultural temporary and seasonal workers program (H-2A visas). The senators penned a letter to Secretary Elaine Chao and gained an additional 15 days beyond the originally scheduled deadline of March 31 to allow Wyoming producers more time to make comments during the busy spring season. The extension on the official window for comment ended yesterday, and Enzi still welcomes any input from Wyoming producers.