A message from Senator Enzi
May is always an exciting time of the year. Across the state, high school and college students are graduating and taking the next step in their lives. I spoke at the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences commencement in Laramie and at the Casper College Adult Basic Education/GED Center graduation ceremony and reminded the graduates that the top of every mountain they climb is the bottom of the next one they must conquer. I want to congratulate all the students around Wyoming who graduated this month.
I hope this newsletter finds you well and that you are gearing up for a fun summer with your friends and family. Memorial Day is just around the corner and it is more than just a three-day weekend – it is a day to remember the service men and women who gave their lives for our country. On May 19, Diana and I met up with 110 Wyoming World War II veterans who came to Washington, D.C. on an honor flight to visit the memorials built in their honor.
In this newsletter, my staff and I have summarized a few 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
Senate considers faulty financial regulatory reform
The U.S. Senate has been debating a bill for the past month that impacts not only Wall Street, but also small businesses on Main Street and individuals’ private financial records. The “Restoring American Financial Stability Act” is aimed at regulating financial markets that played a part in the financial crisis, but as it stands now it falls short. While Enzi supports regulation of Wall Street, several parts of this bill go too far into the private lives of individuals. The bill also does not mention reforming mortgage lending or the largest mortgage giants – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Housing loans started the financial crisis but this bill does not include any changes to the way Freddie and Fannie operate as government-backed housing lenders. Any bill looking at financial reform – and meant to address the causes of our financial crisis – must also look at the way the housing industry contributed to the economic crisis. Housing should be a vital component to any financial reform the Senate passes.
Enzi introduced an amendment to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the bill from freely thumbing through personal financial records. The amendment simply says that if the new Bureau created in this bill wants to investigate a consumer’s individual transactions, then the Bureau must get written permission from that individual. The Bureau wouldn’t be able to investigate someone’s banking activities or credit card purchases without that person’s permission. “If you think full body scans at airport security are bad, they pale in comparison to the consumer protection provision in the financial regulatory bill we’re debating. My amendment would make it so that the government can’t access an individual’s financial transactions without the person’s permission. My amendment gives consumers a choice,” Enzi said. Unfortunately, Enzi’s privacy amendment was blocked from getting an up or down vote.
Enzi co-sponsored another amendment to the financial reform bill, #3826, that would have addressed many concerns with the proposed new government super agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Division. The amendment would move this new super agency from the Federal Reserve, where it would have little to no oversight, to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, where it would have more Congressional oversight. The amendment would also shift the mission of the super agency to be on educating consumers on financial products, instead of tracking consumer spending habits. The amendment failed by a vote of 38-61.
On the Horizon
On the Horizon
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 in his absence. State offices are open Monday-Friday. For contact information, click here.
Chugwater – Thursday, May 27 – Senior Center – 1:30-2 p.m.
Cody – Monday, May 24 – City Hall – 4-5 p.m.
Gillette – Thursday, May 20 – City Hall – 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Guernsey – Thursday, May 27 – Town Hall – 10-10:30 a.m.
Hulett – Wednesday, June 16 – Town Hall – 1-2 p.m.
Jackson – Wednesday, May 26 – Town Hall – 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
LaGrange – Thursday, May 20 – Town Hall – 10-10:30 a.m.
Moorcroft – Wednesday, June 16 – Town Hall – 4-5 p.m.
Newcastle – Wednesday, June 9 – Library – 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Powell – Monday, May 24 – City Hall – 2-3 p.m.
Sundance – Wednesday, June 16 – Town Hall – 9-10 a.m.
Torrington – Thursday, May 20 – Platte Valley Bank – 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Upton – Wednesday, June 9 – Library – 2-3 p.m.
Wheatland – Thursday, May 27 – Town Hall – 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Wright – Thursday, May 20 – Town Hall – 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Inside the health care debate
On April 21, Senator Enzi released his “Diary of a health care debate veteran: What went wrong and what could go right” on his Web site. As the Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and a member on the Budget and Finance Committees, Enzi had an in-depth and unique perspective on the health care debate that he has made available through this diary. After President Obama signed the health care legislation into law in March, Enzi wants to be sure Wyoming residents know the impacts the massive piece of legislation will have on them. Check out “Health Care by the Numbers” and a “Timeline of Major Provisions in the Democrats’ Health Care Package” to learn more on how this law will affect you.
Senator Enzi always enjoys sharing his latest “good read.” This month, Enzi recommends a book he picked up at his Inventors Conference in April – R.G. Le Tourneau’s “Mover of Men and Mountains”(1967). The book chronicles Le Tourneau, who had to quit school in the eighth grade, and how his entrepreneurial spirit and Christian commitment led him to file 300 patents on several inventions that are still used today on big earth moving equipment. Enzi is passionate about promoting the entrepreneurial spirit found in Wyoming – a state chockfull of creative and business-minded individuals. Every Wyoming resident has the opportunity to come up with the next big idea.
Cheyenne keeps VA surgical services
On May 12, Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and Representative Cynthia Lummis applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) decision to maintain surgical services for veterans at the Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Earlier this year, the VA underwent national site visits with the intent of reducing surgical services at some VA medical facilities. Rep. Lummis led the Wyoming delegation’s effort to work with the VA over the past six months to ensure the Cheyenne VAMC is in compliance with surgical standards. “WText Blocksyoming veterans have Sheridan and Cheyenne to choose from so it is essential that each VA hospital in the state have high quality and available services,” said Enzi.