A message from Senator Enzi
With graduations wrapping up and summer beginning in earnest with all its activities, I hope this newsletter finds you well. In this newsletter my staff and I have summarized just a few of the items I’ve been working on for the state. Thank you for subscribing. There’s more information on my web page (enzi.senate.gov). We look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or concerns.
Headlines and Highlights
Senate Passes FDA Bill
The Senate took a bold step this month to help protect American consumers and patients. With only one dissenting vote, the Senate approved a comprehensive bill to enhance drug safety that provides new resources for post-market reporting and review of new drugs and medical devices. The changes put forth in this bill are key improvements to ensure that drugs and medical devices are safe and effective.
The bill establishes a system that gives the Food and Drug Administration, through sound science and innovation, the tools to get drugs to the market quickly and efficiently, especially when lives are on the line and people need new drugs and therapies. The bill also gives the FDA new authority to take swift, appropriate and decisive action to protect consumers when new information is discovered exposing unexpected risks.
Senator Enzi was a key figure in authoring the bill and working out differences with Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Enzi is the ranking member. Enzi and Kennedy managed debate of the bill on the Senate floor last week.
Meth & Substance Abuse Hearing
Senator Enzi took part in a HELP Committee hearing seeking information about ways to improve the nation's substance abuse and mental health care system. Enzi proposed making the systems more streamlined and giving local communities the flexibility to meet their unique needs.
Enzi called on Rodger McDaniel, Deputy Director of the Wyoming Department of Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division, to testify at the hearing about how to improve care for those suffering from mental health problems and substance addiction.
During the hearing, Enzi said that Congress must address the growing epidemic of methamphetamine use in the United States. Statistics show that approximately 5 percent of the U.S. population is addicted to methamphetamine and Wyoming is among the top third of states with persons 12 or older using the drug.
On the Horizon
The Senate is debating a budget conference report and the Water Resources Development Act. It is expected to turn to an immigration bill early next week. Senator Enzi will continue to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. The Senate also continues work on the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that contains funding for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which Senator Enzi is ranking member, is expected to hold a hearing on mine safety soon. Enzi is working to pass two education bills he introduced yesterday. The bills are designed to help students manage their financial aid.
Yellowstone East Entrance
* Enzi and members of the Wyoming delegation continued their efforts to keep Yellowstone’s East gate open during winter months. The group sent a strongly worded formal letter to the National Park Service on May 2 supporting reasons to keep the entrance open. Enzi opposes closing the entrance to winter use and is in favor of snowmobile access. Enzi is encouraging anyone who is interested in the future of the park to file a formal comment before May 31. Electronic comment forms can be submitted by picking Yellowstone NP in the pull down menu, then clicking on the ‘Open for Comment’ link in the top middle of the page.
Tax Freedom Day
* April 30, 2007 was the first day of the year Americans as a whole earned enough income to fund the annual tax burdens. By this date Americans had earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligation at the federal, state and local levels. Tax freedom day came two days later this year than last. Americans worked 15 days longer to pay for their taxes than they did to pay for food, clothing and housing combined.
President Signs Enzi Bill
* President George W. Bush approved and signed the Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act into law on April 20 which Enzi coauthored. The bill renews a program which brings free and low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening to low-income, uninsured women.
English as Official Language
* Enzi is working to pass a bill he recently cosponsored that would make English the official language of the United States of America. The bill is estimated to save taxpayers $1-2 billion each year on funds currently used to provide federal forms and perform services in languages other than English. Wyoming declared English to be the official language of the state in 1996.