Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, and U.S. Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, this week introduced identical bills in both chambers of Congress to facilitate a life-saving road for the isolated community of King Cove, Alaska. Without the road, local residents continue to be at the mercy of high winds, dense fog, and strong storms that prevent safe and timely transportation during medical emergencies.
“It has now been more than 30 months since Sec. Jewell callously rejected a life-saving road for King Cove, and local residents have been forced to endure medevac after medevac since then,” Murkowski said. “The Obama administration clearly has no intention of ever helping this community, but we cannot simply leave the health and safety of nearly 1,000 Alaskans to chance. We need to end the needless pain and suffering caused by the status quo before an even greater tragedy occurs, and we can do that by approving this short, simple road.”
“This administration and their allies in Congress -- beholden to environmental special interest groups -- think they know what’s best for Alaska. To value waterfowl above the well-being and safety of King Cove residents is unimaginable, and documents how out of touch this administration is with reality,” Sullivan said. “To completely ignore the federal government’s responsibility to the Aleut community and other citizens of King Cove is shocking, and that is why I am proud to join Sen. Murkowski and Congressman Young in introducing this fair and equitable land transfer legislation.”
“Secretary Jewell’s heartless denial of the Kind Cove road – a willful and deliberate dismissal of human life in the name of wildlife – represents one of the worst government actions I’ve seen in all my years in Congress,” Young said. “Not only has the Administration dismissed its sacred trust responsibility to the Native people of King Cove, they continue to pay lip service in the hopes this issue will go away. I will say now, this issue will not go away until the people of King Cove get the treatment and respect they deserve. Given that the Administration has entrenched itself with some of the most extreme environmental groups, this legislation is an important step in moving forward by doing what Alaskan lawmakers have done best – building a broad coalition in Congress around a commonsense solution for our people.”
King Cove is located between two volcanic mountains near the end of the Alaska Peninsula, about 625 miles southwest of Anchorage. Since December 2013 alone, a total of 46 medevacs – including 17 carried out by the U.S. Coast Guard – have occurred in often-terrible weather conditions that make flying and sailing extremely dangerous for patients and rescuers alike. In the past, plane crashes have led to multiple fatalities that could have been avoided had road transportation been an option.
The new King Cove bills, S. 3204 and H.R. 5777, authorize an equal value land exchange between the State of Alaska and the federal government for a 206-acre land road corridor. The corridor would account for approximately 0.06 percent of the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge and is needed to facilitate an 11-mile, gravel, one-lane, non-commercial road segment that will connect existing roads on both sides of the refuge. Once the road is complete, King Cove will be reliably linked to nearby Cold Bay, which is home to an all-weather airport featuring the fifth-longest runway in the state.
Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She held an oversight hearing on King Cove’s continuing lack of reliable emergency medical transportation in April 2016, and as chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee has successfully reported language to facilitate a life-saving road in each of the past two years.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young successfully included five Alaska-focused amendments to H.R. 5538, the Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which passed today by a vote of 231 to 196. The legislation provides annual funding totaling $32.1B, $64M below FY 2016, for the Interior Department and other environment related agencies. The bill specifically prohibits funding for the implementation of the Waters of the United States Rule, stops the proposed Stream Buffer rule, cuts funding for the EPA, and eliminates environmental regulatory overreach.
In addition, the bill provides the following funding to assist rural communities and uphold our nation's commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives:
“Although I’m not a member of the Appropriations Committee, I worked very closely with my colleagues to ensure my amendments made it to the floor and eventually into this bill, " said Congressman Don Young. "Given the Administration’s recent actions within our state, I believe it was extremely important to offer amendments that fought back against recent violations of the law, including ANILCA and the Alaska Statehood Compact, and stop some of the most egregious rules and regulations that will only jeopardize our state’s already sensitive social and economic future. Not only does this bill contain major victories for Alaska, it builds upon the House’s efforts to encourage economic development and growth by eliminating massive regulatory land grabs like the WOTUS rule and Stream Buffer Rule.”
Congressman Young’s Amendments Passed Within H.R. 5538:
ANWR Coastal Plain Wilderness Designation:
Congressman Young's amendment, identical to one her offered last year, would prohibit funds from being used to implement the Obama Administration’s revised conservation plan, announced in January 2015, for managing the coastal plain of ANWR as wilderness. Young and others believe this action directly violates the law, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which established more than 100 million acres of conservation areas and specifically stated that future land withdrawals by the Executive Branch over 5,000 acres must be approved by Congress in order to be valid.
Young speaking on his ANWR Coastal Plain amendment (click here to watch).
“I’m just saying that no agency has the right to overcome a law of the Congress…I’m saying no monies shall be spent, no regulatory agency can turn and make [the coastal plain of ANWR] an off limits area to develop the oil – if this Congress so decides,” said Congressman Young. “Here we are trying to let a regulatory agency tell us how to manage it and that’s inappropriate. I listened to the other gentleman on this floor today, talking about the over regulation of the EPA. That’s what’s wrong with this nation today, is regulatory law allowing the Executive Branch to run this nation without the peoples voice being heard. That’s what’s happening here.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Park Service (NPS):
Congressman Young's amendment, which is similar to an amendment he included in H.R. 2406, the (SHARE) Act, would prohibit funds from this Act from being used to issue the January 8, 2016 proposed rule by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the October 23, 2015 final rule issued by the National Park Service that significantly restrict hunting and wildlife management practices upon federal lands in Alaska, in violation of the Alaska Statehood Compact and Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA).
Congressman Young discussing his amendment to stop recent rulemaking by the FWS and NPS (click here to watch).
“To have the federal government manage the game when it is the law, the Constitution of the State of Alaska, an agreement made with this body, is wrong,” said Congressman Young. “The propaganda that’s espoused on this floor from the Humane Society is inappropriate of this body. It’s a flat out lie. That’s what it is. That is not true. The State manages and they have not used these practices, but they have a right and should have a right to manage the fish and game on the property, which was guaranteed to us. No one understands that we have people in Alaska that actually want the state to manage their fish and game… But to have the federal government come in is wrong, it’s against our Constitution, and I will stand by this amendment to stop monies to be spent by an agency that’d overreached in the Reserves.”
Preserving Arctic Lease Sales within 2017 – 2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program
The March 15, 2016 announced 2017- 2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program, which identified three sales, left the door open for areas to be placed off limits as the Program is finalized. Congressman Young’s amendment would prevent the Administration from removing the Arctic lease sales – #255 Beaufort Sea, #258 Cook Inlet, and #265 Chukchi Sea – which contain vast amount of resources and are vital to Alaska’s social and economic future.
Congressman Young discussing his amendment to preserve Arctic Lease sales within 2017-2022 Proposed Plan (click here to watch).
“We sit with our heads in the sand when across the border – China, the other nations – are developing,” said Congressman Young. “We must in fact be part players of this program – to do it wisely, to do it safely, and do it for the benefit of the American people. Now if you don’t believe in fossil fuels, I understand that. But there’s no way we’re not going to be using fossil fuels for years to come…So I’m asking the DOI not to withdraw those sales. It means money for the Treasury. It means we have a less dependence on foreign oil and it means we’ll be actively involved in [Arctic resource development].
BLM Placer Mining Regulations
Young's amendment works to provide relief to placer miners in the 40 Mile Mining District, who currently face insurmountable hurdles from a change in existing mining management plans by the Bureau of Land Management as they pertain to re-vegetation.
Young speaking on his 40 Mile Mining District amendment (click here to watch).
“For some reason – for 170 acres – there was attempt by the BLM to go in and stop this mining. These are not large mines. These are mom and pop operations – placer operations,” said Congressman Young. “And they’ve put down ridiculous regulations and reclamation and they want them to reclaim the land back to the original state – before it was ever mined, not for the disturbance of the mining they’ve done. It’s amazing that they would do this… These miners are the mom and pop of Alaska, the spirit of Alaska. All of a sudden, you have a big agency coming in, saying 'you have to have a reclamation area, this is the way we want it done.'"
“For some reason, they got an idea that they want to put them out of business. I’m just saying no, they ought not to impose these regulations. Follow the state mining laws and the reclamation that takes place now works. Let them continue to do that and we can reclaim the land. And [the miners], they’re agreeable to that. They just can’t do what they’re asking to do because they can’t afford to do it.
Arctic OCS Rule:
Days after the Department of Interior finalized its rules governing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic OCS, which would add upwards of $2 Billion in additional regulatory costs on industry, Congressman Young successfully offered an amendment that would prevent the DOI from implementing or enforcing their overly prescriptive rules.
Congressman Young speaking in favor of his amendment to prevent the implementation of the DOI’s Arctic Rule (click here to watch).
“These overly prescriptive regulations are nothing more than a tactic to lock safe Arctic energy development up in red tape because exploration would become full of unnecessary operational burdens,” said Congressman Young.
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Washington, D.C. – Months after defending Alaskan aviation interests from major structural changes in a proposed overhaul of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), this week Alaska Congressman Young supported the passage of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend the FAA’s existing authority for 14 months and authorize numerous commonsense reforms and improvements, including a major change to the Third Class Medical Certification process for General Aviation Pilots. That legislation, the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016, has been sent to the President's desk following passage in the Senate today.
“For more than a year, Congress has worked to make long-term updates and reforms to the FAA,” said Congressman Don Young. “Although this extension represents only a temporary solution, it gave us an opportunity to make several time-sensitive reforms to aviation security, while including several victories for Alaska and our unique aviation needs. Not only does this legislation make it easier for Alaska’s more than 8,000 pilots to maintain their medical certification, it pushes back against previous attempts to cut programs that support some of Alaska’s most remote and rural communities.”
The stop-gap measure, which was negotiated between the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce Committee, continues Congress’ effort to provide a long-term reauthorization to the agency entrusted with protecting our skies, airline passengers and aviation systems.
“As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues to craft a multi-year bill that included a wide range of reforms and improvements to how aviation is run in this country,” said Congressman Don Young. “As the House and Senate work to resolve its differences on the future of aviation, I will continue to fight to ensure Alaska’s aviation interests and priorities are protected. With more than 80% of our communities off the road system, more than 700 airports and airstrips, and more pilots (8,000 +) and aircraft (10,000+) per capita, Alaska uniquely relies on aviation of all sizes and types to transport people and vital supplies across our state. As Alaska’s sole voice in the House, I will continue to leverage my knowledge of our aviation systems and seniority on the Committee to educate my colleagues on the unique challenges we face when flying in the Last Frontier.”
Provisions of Alaskan Interest:
Essential Air Service
Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) graduates
Third-Class Medical Certification Process for GA pilots
Air Service to Rural Communities
Provisions of National Interest:
Commercial air travel improvements
Click here for more information on Congressman Young’s efforts to protect Alaska’s aviation interests.
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Washington, D.C. – Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Denny Heck (D-WA) today introduced commonsense legislation to authorize a small, but important modification to the Second Division Memorial to recognize and pay tribute to members of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division killed in Korea at the De-Militarized Zone, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan. H.R. 5684, the Second Division Memorial Modification Act, would authorize the Second Indianhead Division Association’s Scholarship and Memorials Foundation to place three stone benches at the Washington, D.C. memorial at no cost to the taxpayer.
“As an Army veteran myself and tireless advocate for our military men and women, I see no reason why the Second Division Memorial Modification Act shouldn’t receive the full support of my colleagues,” said Alaska Congressman Don Young. “This is a simple, common sense piece of legislation that honors members of the U.S. Army who gave their lives in defense of this great nation. Although current law forbids this type of addition, I believe Congress has a duty to update and maintain our memorials to reflect the service of our brave men and women, particularly those that made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“As the representative of the district which includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and a distinguished population of American veterans, I support the addition to the 2ID Memorial to continue to honor the hard work and sacrifice of the soldiers of one of the most decorated divisions in the U.S. Army,” said Congressman Denny Heck, who represents the 10th District of Washington state. “I hope Americans and persons around the globe can come and feel the impact that 2ID soldiers have made in conflicts since World War I. They have made a lasting imprint on our history, and this update to the memorial in Washington, DC, will serve as a reminder of the importance of our men and women in uniform and all they’ve given on our behalf.”
Second Division Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Dedicated in 1936, the Second Division Memorial was built to commemorate those who died while serving in the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. The memorial was rededicated in 1962, with the addition of two wings, to also honor those killed in World War II and the Korean War. The Second Indianhead Division Association – named in recognition of the 2nd Infantry Division patch – has proposed to modify the memorial to honor members of the 2nd Infantry Division killed in subsequent conflicts by adding three stone benches.
The Second Indianhead Division Association submitted a request to the National Park Service to make this modification, however it was denied pursuant to 40 USC Section 8903(b), which stipulates that “a commemorative work solely commemorating… a unit of an armed force may not be authorized.”
While 40 USC 8903 (b) restricts the creation of new monuments for specific military units in the National Capitol Region, Young and Heck believe the 2nd Indianhead Division Association’s proposal to modify the current monument should be allowed to proceed.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Interior’s (DOI) final rule governing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic OCS:
“If this Administration was serious about Arctic exploration and resource development, about stabilizing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and securing energy for U.S. supply, they would not be moving ahead with the “mother-may-I” approach prescribed in their final rule,” said Congressman Don Young. “The proper approach would be taking advantage of planning, standards and engineering practices in the industry and not overlooking areas to improve best practices. Not only do these requirements effectively “lock in” the status quo, they eliminate the opportunity to carefully and methodically introduce new technologies. Bottom line, these rules are overly prescriptive and make it nearly impossible for development to move forward in the future.
On June 16, 2015, Alaska Congressman Don Young participated in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources oversight hearing titled “Arctic Resources and American Competitiveness,” which focused primarily on the DOI’s proposed Arctic rule and the negative impact they would have on Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and to the nation’s goal of energy security and independence.
The hearing included testimony from Richard Glenn, Vice President for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and discussion of a National Petroleum Council study on Arctic energy development. The study, which included a consortium of experts, academia and environmental groups, found that most Arctic offshore resources can be safely developed using existing, field-proven technology.
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young shared the following statement on House passage of H.R. 5485, Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, legislation that provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other related agencies:
“Transparency and accountability are paramount to ensuring our federal agencies, particularly those entrusted with American’s tax dollars, are held to the highest of standards and operate in the best interest of the American people,” said Congressman Young. “In order to safeguard the American people, this legislation makes important reforms to improve the IRS, eliminate red tape for consumers, improve spending accountability and support small businesses. By building upon previous years’ efforts, which included measures to prevent the wasteful use of taxpayer dollars and the unlawful targeting of political groups, we continue a balanced approach for funding government, while ensuring the American people see real added benefit for economic opportunity and job creation.”
Important funding measures included in the bill:
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The bill provides $10.9 billion for the IRS – a cut of $236 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted levels. This holds the agency’s budget to below the 2008 level, but provides sufficient resources to perform its core duties.
The bill maintains current spending – $2.1 billion – for Taxpayer Services. In addition, the bill provides an additional $290 million to improve customer service, including phone call and correspondence response times, fraud prevention and cybersecurity.
The IRS has been plagued in recent years by the inappropriate actions of its employees and political leadership, resulting in the waste of taxpayer dollars and in unjust treatment and targeting of certain ideological groups. To address concerns related to these transgressions, the bill includes:
A prohibition on a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations. The proposed regulation could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of many nonprofit organizations and inhibit citizens from exercising their right to freedom of speech;
Small Business Administration (SBA) – The bill contains $883 million for the SBA to help promote opportunities for American small businesses to begin, grow, and thrive. This includes full funding – $157 million – to support $28.5 billion in 7(a) small business loans and $7.5 billion in 504 small business loans.
Also included is full funding ($186 million) for disaster loan implementation to allow for quick loan processing turnaround when unexpected natural disasters strike, and full funding ($12.3 million) for veterans programs. In addition, the legislation provides funding above the President’s request for Small Business Development Centers ($125 million), State Trade and Export Promotion ($20 million), and Women’s Business Centers ($19 million).
Affordable Care Act (ACA): The bill also includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on any transfers of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to the IRS for ObamaCare uses, and a prohibition on funding for the IRS to implement an individual insurance mandate on the American people.
For the text of the bill, please click here.
For the bill report, please click here.Read More
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Don Young (AK) and Debbie Dingell (MI) yesterday introduced the bipartisan H.R. 5650, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2016, to help promote and enhance our nation’s conservation efforts and ensure the long-term health of fish and wildlife throughout the country. The legislation, based on a recommendation from a panel of conservation and business leaders, would dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing revenue from oil and gas royalties to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program. The funding would provide states with new critically needed financial resources to effectively implement State Wildlife Action Plans to conserve 12,000 species in greatest need of conservation while providing the public with more access to open spaces.
“As a strong supporter of conservation and sportsmen alike, I’m proud to take the lead on an important discussion regarding fish and wildlife conservation across the country,” said Congressman Don Young. “While we’ve seen many great successes in management and conservation projects in the past, this legislation takes a unique approach to allow states to make responsible management decisions at home. As someone who proudly supports the management of fish and game for all Americans – for sportsmen, subsistence purposes, and for future generations – I believe this legislation is a responsible first step in developing a path forward.”
“It has been proven over the decades that incredible gains in species conservation have been made with dedicated sources of funding,” Rep. Dingell said. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act builds off the successes of previous efforts including Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund by giving state fish and wildlife agencies additional resources they need to proactively manage at-risk wildlife species. I am proud to introduce this legislation with my Republican colleague from Alaska, Mr. Young. We both love the outdoors and know we must work hard to protect our natural resources. To some we may seem the odd couple but together we believe we can get something done that will help bring conservation into the 21st Century and complement the other successful programs that are currently in place.”
“America’s hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters have been the primary funders of state-based conservation efforts to this day,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “This recommendation simply uses funding for conservation from other sectors that use our natural resources.”
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to save thousands of at-risk wildlife species by investing in proactive, collaborative conservation. By modernizing how we fund conservation of the full diversity of wildlife, we will bolster our natural resources, strengthen our outdoor recreation economy, reduce regulatory uncertainty, improve public health, and bolster community resilience,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. "We thank Congressman Young and Congresswoman Dingell for their exceptional leadership on the Recovering America's Wildlife Act."
“Hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and motorized boaters, through fees and licenses, have been the backbone of funding the conservation of America’s fish and wildlife. Over the years these original conservationists have greatly enhanced the State’s ability to perform science-based management of fish and wildlife species throughout the country,” said Dave Chanda, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Today we find ourselves at a critical crossroad and impending fish and wildlife crisis that could alter our children and grandchildren’s opportunities to enjoy these resources. If we want to secure the future of all of America’s fish and wildlife resources, a fundamental enhancement in how we finance conservation is essential. We believe the right path is to begin investing now in a 21st century vision for fish and wildlife.”
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, a group of national business and conservation leaders co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops founder John L. Morris and former Wyoming governor Dave Freudenthal, convened in 2015 to recommend a new mechanism to sustainably fund fish and wildlife conservation. In March 2016, the Panel recommended that a $1.3 billion trust fund be created using existing fees from energy and mineral development on federal lands and water to support implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans in every state, territory and the District of Columbia. To read more, please click here.
Without a change in the way we finance fish and wildlife conservation, the list of federally threatened and endangered species is expected to grow from nearly 1,600 species today to thousands more in the future. The new dedicated funding created by the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered to ensure the long-term health of all fish and wildlife that provide countless hours of outdoor enjoyment for the nation’s citizens.
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Alaska Congressional Delegation praised the announcement by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) that it has awarded a sole source contract to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) to support two flight tests of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Systems (THAAD) at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska on Kodiak, Alaska. The contract, which could total up to $80.4 million, will support MDA’s flight test requirements for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 and will include the site preparation for two THAAD launchers, range communication and instrumentation capabilities, and a Life Support Area. This new development positions the Kodiak launch facility for a bright future in missile defense testing.
“As a long-time advocate who helped bring missile defense to Alaska, this contract award is good news for Kodiak and Alaska Aerospace and even better news for the continued security of our country,” said Congressman Young. “Over the last several years, I have fought to bring the Missile Defense Agency back to Kodiak, including a provision I included in this year’s defense bill to help enhance the capability of state-owned spaceports, like the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska. Overall, I can think of no better place to test THAAD than in Alaska and am happy that Kodiak will once again play an important role testing a part of our nation’s missile defense system.”
“As I’ve been saying both in D.C. and back home, Alaska is the cornerstone of our nation’s missile defense,” said Senator Sullivan. “Today’s announcement by the Missile Defense Agency further reinforces that statement by adding missile defense testing to our already robust strategic capabilities at Fort Greely and Clear Air Force Station. This year and last year, I was able to include language in the Defense Authorization to specifically highlight the unique importance of the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska found on Kodiak Island. I am pleased that the Missile Defense Agency was listening, and I am confident that they will appreciate all that Kodiak has to offer for THAAD testing, including a community that strongly supports the military.”
“This is the latest chapter in what’s been an exceptional year for military investment in our state,” said Senator Murkowski. “A significant portion of this contract is expected to be invested in new facilities on the Kodiak launch site – a much-needed boost for Alaska’s construction industry. This is proof once again that Alaska’s strategic and geographic advantages are highly desirable to national security decision-makers. But what distinguishes Alaska from competing locations is the exceptional support our people demonstrate for national defense and our defenders. Today’s decision is a big win for the military and a big win for Alaska’s economy, and welcome news as we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence this July 4th.”
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Systems, or THAAD, is a U.S. Army weapon system intended to defend U.S. service members, allies and partners, cities and populations centers, and critical infrastructure against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. THAAD is a land-based element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and has been proven to be highly effective against ballistic missile threats. Currently, Fort Bliss, Texas hosts two THAAD batteries; Guam hosts another battery intended to protect against the North Korean missile threat to the island and our allies in the Asia-Pacific. Two U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific – Japan and South Korea – are considering basing THAAD in their countries.
Washington, D.C. – Standing up for veterans across rural America, yesterday Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rubén E. Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced H.R. 5558, the VA Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for a vital transportation grant program created by Congress in 2010 to expand healthcare access to veterans.
H.R. 5558 provides a three year extension to the Highly Rural Transportation Grant (HRTG) program, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2017. The program enables State Veterans Service Agencies and Veteran Service Organizations to provide no-cost transportation services to VA or VA-authorized healthcare facilities to veterans in counties with fewer than seven people per square mile.
Congressman Young discussing H.R. 5558, the VA Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act (click here to watch).
“This bill is just one step in my many efforts to stand up for our nation’s veterans,” said Congressman Young. “This bill would reauthorize a critical program for our many rural veterans in Alaska and across the nation. While transportation to a VA facility can be as simple as a driving a few miles in the Lower 48, veterans in Alaska and across much of rural America are often faced with greater hurdles and travel times when attending their VA appointments. The VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grant Program helps these veterans, and ensures the VA lives up to its motto, which says – ‘To care for him who shall have borne to battle – no matter how rural of an area a veteran lives.’”
“The Highly Rural Transportation Grant program is critical to veterans in remote and underserved areas across the United States, but particularly in Deep South Texas,” Congressman Hinojosa said. “Extending this program will ensure that the Texas Veterans Commission can continue providing Jim Hogg County veterans with transportation to the McAllen and Harlingen VA facilities, as well as other high-performing medical providers in our community. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to protect all veterans’ access to the health care they have earned through dedicated service and rightfully deserve.”
Currently, 14 organizations in 11 states administer grants under the HRTG. Grantees are eligible to receive up to $50,000 per highly-rural area in order to “provide innovative transportation options to Veterans in highly rural areas.”
According to the Alaska Department of Veteran Affairs, 8,200 veterans are currently eligible for the program in areas that include Southwest Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna region, Kodiak Island, the Kenai Peninsula, and Prince of Wales Island and Hyder. In just the three months between January and March, 2016, the HRTG program in Alaska provided 3,010 hours of transportation on 3,129 trips, totaling 113,237 miles (and 5,760 nautical miles), for 3,116 veterans. Although FY 2016 HRTG grant funds have been exhausted in several Alaskan areas, Congressman Young remains committed to reauthorizing the program to provide future services to Alaskan veterans.
For more information regarding the HRTG grant, click here
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Washington, D.C. – Moving ahead in the annual appropriations process, today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, by a vote of 282 to 138. The legislation provides $517.1 billion in discretionary funding and $58.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations to support military operations and readiness programs, base operations, health and quality-of-life programs and a 2.1 percent pay raise for our troops.
“Simply put, this legislation ensures that our nation’s military has the resources, personnel and equipment necessary to defend our national interests at home and abroad,” said Congressman Don Young. “Importantly, it makes necessary changes to restore the size of the Army – permanently eliminating cuts facing JBER’s 4-25, provides a much deserved pay increase for our men and women in uniform, and fully funds the acquisition of the Air Force’s F-35A fighter jets, which soon will call Eielson Air Force Base home. The FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Act also includes efforts I’ve been working on for many years to increase awareness for both Alaska’s role in the Arctic and the threats our nation faces in the region. It is clear that this effort was successful with the inclusion of a provision that emphasizes our nation’s concern for Russian aggression in the Arctic, which urges the Secretary of Defense to counter aggression and make maritime security for the Arctic a top priority. With five major military installations in Alaska, all of which serve critical missions for our nation, it’s extremely important we provide our brave men and women the necessary funding to support readiness, new infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization.”
Alaska specific provisions requested by Congressman Young and included in the House-passed legislation:
For a bill summary, please click here.
For the text of the bill, please click here.For the bill report, please click here. Read More
2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.
Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs. Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.
Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.
When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.
It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.
Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”
That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.
Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.
Just met w/ Sitka Sportsman's Association: discussed 2nd Amendment rights, efforts to protect hunting & fishing https://t.co/B2mMNijbzN
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