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Senator Mike Enzi - October Newsletter

Headlines and Highlights

Passage of Free Trade Agreements

Earlier this month, Congress approved free- trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, bringing an end to years of stalemate on proposals that would add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy.

The South Korean agreement helps open markets for Wyoming beef producers by eliminating the 40 percent tariff imposed on U.S. beef over a 15-year period.  It also would remove other non-tariff barriers that currently restrict the trade of meat products. 

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. manufactured and agricultural goods under the agreement with Korea could increase U.S. goods exported by as much as $11 billion. Wyoming industries are estimated to gain millions in new annual sales to Korea with passage of the agreement which eliminates a 4 percent duty on soda ash - Wyoming’s largest direct export to Korea.

The Colombia agreement could increase our nation’s gross domestic product by $2.5 billion. It would even out competition for wheat and also significantly expand export markets for heavy machinery, services, and agricultural products while encouraging new investment and protecting the intellectual property rights of U.S. innovations.

U.S. exporters have been waiting since the end of the George W. Bush administration for these agreements to be sent to Congress. The agreements will open up markets, create American jobs and allow U.S. goods to compete overseas. This is a real win for Wyoming businesses. 

Biennial Appropriations Act

It’s been more than 900 days since the Senate majority has passed a budget. Without any framework to guide spending, agencies across the federal government have no incentive to reduce or monitor their spending.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         expenditures.

This is why Senator Enzi introduced the Biennial Appropriations Act. Under his plan, the federal budget would cut into two parts. At the beginning of every Congress, the President would be required to submit a two-year budget resolution and Congress would then work to draft its own budget resolution setting the annual targets.

The twelve annual appropriation bills would be then split over a two year period. The first year of each Congress would address the more controversial bills such as Agriculture, Labor/Health and Human Services and Interior. The less controversial bills would be debated in the second year of a session of Congress, the election year. Congress would debate the Defense Appropriations bill each year.

This bill would address many of the hurdles Congress faces in trying to audit the efficiency of current programs and determine how to get the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. It also would remove the politics of budgeting and force Congress to identify spending priorities and then allocate money with enough time to see the money used as it was intended before the next cycle begins.

To find out more about the plan, click here.  

On the Horizon

As Congress returns to session in October, there are many important legislative proposals on the horizon.

In the coming months Congress may consider:

  • The re-authorization of a workforce training law known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

  • The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

  • All annual appropriation bills.

You can find out more about these issues and other pending legislative proposals by visiting:

Wyoming state offices and 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 in his absence. State offices are open Monday-Friday. For contact information, click here.

Thursday, October 20:

Washakie 11:00 am – Noon Ten Sleep Public Library

Big Horn 2:00 – 3:00 pm- Lovell Town Hall

Big Horn 3:30 – 4:30 pm- Cowley Town Hall

Friday, October 21

Pine Bluffs - 9:30 am -10:30 am - Town Hall

Albin – 11:00 am – 11:30 am – Community Center

Burns – 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Senior Center

Wednesday, November 9:

Crook 9:00 am – 10:00 am- Sundance Town Hall

Crook 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm- Hulett Town Hall

Crook 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm- Moorcroft Town Hall

News Nuggets

Proposed Wolf Delisting

“I’m pleased that we are one step closer to Wyoming managing wildlife in Wyoming,” Enzi said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that the gray wolf be delisted from the Endangered Species List and transfer wolf management to the state of Wyoming after a nearly decade-long saga.

“This proposal gives everyone something to like.  Big game hunters will see management that allows the wolf not to decimate our big game hers.  Ranchers will also benefit.  Even wolf lovers should be happy with this announcement.  There are hundreds of wolves in the Rockies that were not there before the Federal government forced them on our states.  Now, we’ve agreed to keep them at certain population levels and to let the state be the judge over how to best manage the animals.”

Reforming No Child Left Behind

On Wednesday, October 19, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee is scheduled to take up legislation to address the problems with No Child Left Behind. More than a year ago, both sides of the aisle agreed on the nine biggest problems with NCLB and set out to find solution.

As a result of the work of Senator Enzi with Senator Tom Harkin, the reforms greatly reduce the federal footprint in our nation’s schools and continue the transparency that is crucial to parents regarding student performance. The measure also removes many duplicative and wasteful programs while providing states with more flexibility to address their unique education needs.

While the bill is not perfect and does not solve every educational issue, it could make a huge, positive difference to our nation’s young people.

China disadvantages Wyoming soda ash manufacturers through unfair trade practices

China currently provides a 9% rebate for soda ash exports on its 17% Value-Added Tax. The rebate provides its domestic manufacturers an artificial incentive to export more soda ash. Without this incentive, China soda ash producers would be forced to compete more fairly in the global market.

“There are additional policies that our government needs to continue to press that disadvantage U.S. exporters including China’s VAT rebate on soda as,” said Enzi.
“Wyoming soda ash producers can compete with the best but not when other nations stack the deck.”

Click here to watch Sen. Enzi’s speech on the topic.

2012 Spring Internships Program

Senator Enzi is accepting applications for Spring internships in his Washington, D.C. office. The internships, which include hands-on, individualized activities, offer experience in the heartbeat of the nation’s government. Interns will have the opportunity to give Capitol building tours, write policy or hearing summaries, prepare legislative memos, conduct research for legislative aides, observe floor proceedings and attend committee hearings and lectures.

These internships run from Jan. 9 to May 25, 2012 and interns receive a monthly stipend to help defray the costs of living in Washington.

Connect with Senator Enzi on Facebook

If you haven't already become a "fan" of Senator Enzi's Facebook page, check it out. It is a great way to see more of what is going on in Congress.