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Make federal government more effective and efficient for taxpayers

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, held a hearing on how Congress can make the federal government more effective and efficient. He said there were more than $1 trillion in improper payments reported since 2003.  

“It’s important for Congress to ask if we are using taxpayer dollars wisely, and operating the government as efficiently and effectively as the managers of a private sector company would,” said Enzi. “It is time to make the federal government more efficient and effective for hardworking taxpayers.” 

Senators introduce bipartisan bill to protect law-abiding knife owners 

Enzi and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced legislation to ensure that those traveling with a properly secured knife are not prosecuted under local or state laws which ban certain knives.

“Growing up in Wyoming, I know that knives are an essential tool for hunters, ranchers, farmers and other various everyday uses,” Enzi said. “But with conflicting knife laws across the country, it can make it difficult for responsible knife owners to know if they are violating the law if they are travelling with a knife. This bill would help fix that by ensuring that if you’re traveling from point A to point C with a knife that is legal in both locations, you shouldn’t have to worry about being charged with a knife possession crime in between at point B.”

The Interstate Transport Act would provide safe harbor to individuals travelling with a knife where it is lawful for the knife to be possessed at both the points of origin and destination, so long as the knife is transported in a locked container or is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of a mode of transportation.

Enzi votes to fund government, strengthen Wyoming priorities 

Enzi voted earlier this month to support a government funding bill, which the Senate passed with bipartisan support and which stayed within the budget caps set to control annual federal spending.

“This bipartisan spending bill provides billions in additional funding for our military, the largest border security increase in a decade and support for programs on which communities and families throughout Wyoming rely,” Enzi said.

A partial list of what Enzi said were wins for Wyoming include:

21st Century Community Learning Centers - The bill provides a $25 million increase to 21st Century Community Learning Centers (afterschool programming).

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program -  The bill provides $3.39 billion to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Payments In Lieu of Taxes - The bill provides $465 million for the “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) program, which compensates counties for local tax revenue lost to federal land ownership.

Greater Sage Grouse - Continues a one-year delay on any further Endangered Species Act status reviews, listing determinations and rulemakings for Greater Sage-Grouse.

Reduces EPA funding – Provides $81.4 million less funds to the EPA then they received last year.

No funding for United Nations climate funds – The bill provides no funding for the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund or Climate Change Panel.

ICBMs – The bill contains language that prevents reductions in strategic delivery vehicles and launchers, including the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) overseen by F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, from previously established levels.

Rural health - Additional funding is included for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants ($2 million increase) and Telehealth programs ($1.5 million increase). Wyoming receives funding through the “Flex” grant to develop critical access hospital networks and foster collaborative linkages between Wyoming’s primary, secondary and tertiary hospitals.

Wildland firefighting and prevention - The bill fully funds the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs.

Oil and gas inspection and grazing fees - The bill rejects the previous administration’s proposal to increase oil and gas inspection fees and raise fees on ranchers for grazing.

Impact Aid Program - The bill provides a $23 million increase to the Impact Aid Program. The Impact Aid program fulfills the federal obligation to assist school districts that experience a loss in their local property tax base because the district includes federal or Indian l

Wolf management returning to Wyoming

Last month the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. allowed for the return of gray wolf management to the state of Wyoming. Enzi commended the court’s decision.

“This means a lot to the state of Wyoming and brings wolf conservation back to where it belongs,” Enzi said. “It is Wyoming wildlife managers who know best how to manage Wyoming’s wildlife. I applaud all those who have worked so hard with stakeholders and the federal government over the years to create an effective and balanced wolf management plan.”