Wyoming Congressional delegation emphasizes partnerships
Cody – During a June 7 breakfast presentation, Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and Representative Cynthia Lummis addressed Wyoming producers attending the 2014 Summer Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show.
“I’m pleased to be a part of the Wyoming team in Washington, D.C. – and it is a team,” stated Enzi. “We have similar and diverse backgrounds. We’ve had lots of practice, and we make a tremendous difference.”
Working toward influence
Enzi noted that Wyoming delegation is spread throughout a number of committees in Congress to reach the widest audience and spheres of influence.
“Our committees are different, so our constituents have more coverage,” he said. “John and Cynthia have the agriculture, energy and environment areas, and each of them are leaders in their body.”
With elections approaching, Enzi also noted that if control switches to the Republican Party, Wyoming’s delegation is well poised to move up the ranks.
“John, of course, is in a leadership position in the Senate, and if we get the majority, he will get to decide what comes up,” he said. “Cynthia is one of 435, but she is a leader of the House. Out of 535 people in the House and Senate, there is one person who has opposed President Obama more than anyone else – and that is Cynthia.”
Lummis emphasized, “We are a great team, and our staffs work together daily to communicate and leverage the resources we have.”
Enzi further noted that Barrasso and Lummis lead the House and Senate Western Caucuses.
Despite the challenges seen in Congress, each of Wyoming’s delegation identified issues that must be fixed in Congress.
“We need to eliminate uncertainty, and one of those areas is in the tax extender bill where we deal with ag depreciation,” he said. “I have a bill to do that, and we will get that done this year.”
EPA and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) were also identified as problematic for Wyoming’s delegation.
EPA’s recent announcement about coal rules is one that will hurt Wyoming’s economy and make the U.S. less competitive with Russia and China, said Barrasso.
Lummis noted that the ESA continues to overreach, and after a series of hearings, four bills have been introduced into the House Natural Resources Committee to address issues.
“These bills are tweaks to the ESA,” she explained. “They are not a fix, and they do not gut the bill. They do make four common-sense changes.”
“These four bills will hopefully pass the House soon, and I’m also hopeful that the Senate will consider some of them,” Lummis continued.
Enzi noted that, in the Senate, an additional problem arises in that they talk about a number of issues but don't vote on any of them.
Enzi demonstrated his point by emphasizing that in 2005-06, the Senate voted on 700 amendments. In 2011, they voted on 350, but since July 2013, a total of 16 votes have been held – nine in favor of Republicans. Of those nine, Enzi championed one amendment.
“That is not how Congress is supposed to work,” he said.
Barrasso continued, explaining that if Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, isn’t in favor of a bill or an amendment, he doesn’t allow it to be voted on, which means that nothing is accomplished.
“We have over 160 bills that have passed the House but that the Senate has failed to consider all because of one man – Harry Reid,” said Lummis, “and he is protecting one other man – Barack Obama.”
“I want to thank all of Wyoming’s citizens who are willing to help,” Enzi said. “There isn’t enough recognition for the people doing the day-to-day tasks that help all of us to live.”
“There is no place like Wyoming,” Barrasso commented. “We are continuing to work for all of Wyoming.”
Lummis echoed praise of Wyomingites, commenting, “American farmers and ranchers are the stewards of the land who raise the food, keep our water and air clean, support our wildlife and fish, raise our families and provide the best soldiers and workers in the world.”
With elections approaching, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso said, “We need to take back six seats in the Senate, and three of them are in Montana, South Dakota and Colorado.”
“If we can take those three seats, that gets us half way there,” he commented. “We have a great opportunity coming this fall.”
Additionally, if Republicans obtain the majority in the Senate, Wyoming’s delegation is poised to take leadership.
“If we get the majority, I am the most senior person on Health and Education, Labor and Pension, the Budget Committee and the Finance Committee,” said Senator Mike Enzi. “I will also chair the Tax Reform Subcommittee and the Small Business Committee. There are a lot of places I can make a difference.”
Barrasso would serve as chairman of the Public Lands Subcommittee, which is an area of high importance to Wyoming citizens.
Barrasso also noted it is important to nominate the most conservative person who will win a November election.
“It doesn’t do us any good to nominate someone who can’t win in November,” Barrasso commented. “We will be united in November in an effort to take back the White House.”