Congressman Young Shares Message with Alaskans
This month, I have been very fortunate to spend time with Alaskans from across the state to discuss the many issues and concerns currently facing this great nation. Our conversations have transcended party line and affiliation and have dug deep into the vision we see for this country and the path it’s currently on. Over and over again, I have heard the same message; Alaskans are tired of overbearing and out of touch federal policies that continue to eat away at our local economies, jeopardize our many industries, and threaten our Alaskan way of life.
It is through these interactions and conversations that I bring great knowledge and understanding back to Washington, D.C. to stand up and forcefully defend our state from attacks. My commitment to you, as your sole representative in the House, remains strong as I focus on getting people back to work, spurring economic growth, and getting government out of the way.
I look forward to working with you as we address our nation’s many problems. Please take a look at my e-newsletter for August 26, 2014 by clicking here.
Anchorage, AK - Nearly two years after the Department of Commerce declared fisheries disasters for the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and the Upper Cook Inlet Chinook fisheries, $7.8 million in relief funding will soon be distributed to local fishermen. Today, the Alaska Congressional Delegation received notice that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will provide grant funding for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to distribute direct payments "to commercial fishermen in the Yukon River and Cook Inlet Regions of Alaska to compensate them for losses incurred from the Chinook Salmon Disaster during 2012."
"Alaskans, especially those living on the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and Cook Inlet, rely heavily on our fish for basic survival needs,” said Congressman Don Young. “Disaster strikes in many different forms, including our fisheries, and we owe it to our people to provide similar relief to those located in other parts of the country. I am proud that Congress recognized the importance of this funding and am pleased to see the process of distribution begin. Thank you to the many groups involved in this undertaking and for the work you did to find an equitable solution to our needs."
"When disaster funding was announced earlier this year, I made a commitment to get this funding to Alaska as quickly as possible," said Senator Lisa Murkowski. "Today, I am proud to see that commitment pay off in order to begin the process of making our fishing communities whole once again. I fought from the beginning to make sure Alaska received its fair share of fisheries disaster funding and believe countless Alaskans affected by the 2012 disasters will now begin to get what they deserve.
Today's grant announcement represents a portion of fishery disaster funding directed to the state of Alaska earlier this year. A total of $20.8 million will be split among subsistence, sport and commercial users in affected area, and will include funding for future fisheries research. The Alaska Congressional delegation worked with the Governor, federal officials, and numerous user groups to equitably distribute the disaster funding.
Click here to view the NOAA Investment Award notice.
Anchorage, AK – After months of waiting and speculation, the United States Air Force has officially selected Eielson Air Force Base as the preferred location for two squadrons of F-35A fighters. In a call to the Alaska Congressional Delegation this morning, the Secretary of the Air Force announced that following an environmental impact study (EIS) and official record of decision, Eielson AFB should receive its first of 48 F-35 fighters in the summer of 2019.
“Today is a great day for Eielson AFB, North Pole, Fairbanks, and the state of Alaska; it’s been announced that Eielson AFB is the Air Force’s preferred location to house the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” said Congressman Young. “In Alaska, it's always been about the mission. From the interceptors at Greely to the combat-coded F-22s at JBER, the U.S. military truly understands Alaska strategic position. I am pleased to say today that the Air Force continues this understanding by placing the world's most premiere fighter aircraft at Eielson.
“This has certainly been a labor of love for me and the many individuals who fought to bring the F-35 to Alaska. In this year's defense authorization I was able to secure important language to let the Air Force know that Congress was behind the decision to station the F-35 at Eielson. I am pleased that they listened, but more importantly that they understood how critically important Eielson is to this nation and the safety and security of the American people. Today's world is littered with threats, especially in the Pacific region. I believe that the presence of the F-35 in Alaska, in addition to the existing F-22s, will send a powerful message to our adversaries that the U.S. intends to make the Pacific and Arctic a priority."
Congressman Young shares his thought on the F-35’s coming to Eielson AFB (click here to watch).
Following an EIS, the Air Force will make its final record of decision in the fall of 2015. Today, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that the F-35 would bring approximately $37M in military construction in FY 2016 and nearly $150 million in FY 2017 to Eielson AFB.
Congressman Young has long been a proponent of the F-35 coming to Eielson AFB. In recent months, he included an amendment to the H.R. 4435, the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to express the Sense of Congress for basing criteria of the two OCONUS F-35A squadrons, which included emphasis on conditions only found at Eielson AFB:
For his work on the crucial F-35 amendment, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and Mayor Luke Hopkins honored Congressman Young with a resolution thanking him for his work. To view the FNSB resolution, please click here.
Washington, D.C. — To help the United States better prioritize its interests in the Arctic, Representatives Don Young and Rick Larsen, WA-02, announced the creation of the Congressional Arctic Working Group in an op-ed printed in the Washington Post on Sunday, August 3, 2014.
The bipartisan working group, which will focus on bringing together stakeholders from across Native, environmental, oil and gas, mining, national security, and navigation communities to advise Congress about the opportunities and challenges facing the United States as an Arctic nation, will also work to ensure the nation begins securing its strategic and economic interests in the region.
Congressman Don Young shared this statement following the announcement of the Arctic Working Group:
“Our nation must quickly step up to the plate to address the growing needs of the Arctic, including in areas of resource development, shipping, tourism, and Alaska Native priorities. I am proud to lead that charge with my friend Congressman Rick Larsen by expanding the conversation on this vital American issue. As an Alaskan, I am quick to remind my colleagues in Congress that we are an Arctic nation and inaction will only hurt our many social and economic interests.
“As I’ve said before, our nation needs a strong leader in the Arctic with the means necessary to dedicate special attention to the many relationships and priorities in the region. While the announcement of our nations’ first Arctic Representative is a positive step forward for Alaska and the rest of the country, we must show the rest of the world that the United States is ready to take over the Arctic Council Chairmanship in 2015 by appointing an Ambassador level position to the post.”
Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA-2) shared the following statement after introducing the Arctic Working Group:
“The icy waters of the Arctic may seem remote, but other countries are rapidly and successfully traversing those waters to conduct research, develop energy resources and carry goods to market. The U.S. can sit by and let other countries run the Arctic show, or we can suit up and act to protect our economic, strategic and environmental interests.
“Ports in the Pacific Northwest will become more frequent stops for ships journeying through the Arctic, increasing economic activity along our waterfronts. Maritime activity in the Arctic requires specialized equipment like icebreakers. Shipbuilders and mechanics in Northwest ports are well positioned to take on the added work, creating more jobs. Just because the Arctic is at a high latitude doesn’t mean the U.S. should ignore it. The Arctic Working Group, which I’m pleased to start with Mr. Young, will bring needed attention to a part of the world we can’t afford to neglect.”
The Arctic Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on Arctic policy issues and analysis, welcomed the formation of the working group. Arctic Institute Executive Director, Malte Humpert, offered the following support:
“With the United States set to take over the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in Spring 2015, this is great time to get a dialogue started to increase attention on Arctic issues in Congress and raise awareness as to why the Arctic region should rank higher on the agenda. The Arctic Ocean is being transformed from a year-round frozen desert into a seasonally navigable ocean. This transformation brings with it great challenges and opportunities and effective stewardship will be key to ensuring that Alaskan and U.S. interests can be met.”
Young and Larsen have both advocated for improved U.S. infrastructure in the Arctic, including a stronger icebreaking fleet and an ambassador for Arctic Affairs, a position other Arctic nations already have in place. Read their op-ed in the Washington Post.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today offered the following statement after the passage of H.R. 5230, the House Border Crisis Supplemental Package, legislation he supported to address the underlying problems of the growing crisis at our nation’s Southern border and curtail the influx of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) seeking entrance into the United States:
“As most Americans can clearly see a perfect storm of failed policy decisions and executive overreach has led to a growing crisis on our nation’s Southern border,” said Congressman Don Young. “A well intentioned anti-trafficking law enacted in 2008 now handcuffs our border security personnel. An ill-conceived executive order issued by President Obama in 2012 has drawn undocumented children to our borders. And a severely backlogged immigration court has prevented swift asylum hearings and deportations when appropriate.
“In response to an estimated 57,000 UACs at our border to date, the Administration has asked Congress and the American people for an additional $3.7 billion without addressing the 2008 law which prohibits our border enforcement personnel from expediting deportations. Spending billions of dollars in taxpayer money without addressing the problem is bad governance, and thankfully the House has chosen to take a different approach. We are a nation of laws and today’s legislation works to enforce them.”
The House passed package would provide $694 million in funding – fully offset by cuts to federal spending – through September 31, 2014. The bill passed the House by a margin of 223 to 189 and awaits consideration in the Senate.
For more information on the UAC border surge, please visit Congressman Young’s official website.
H.R. 5230 would provide $694 million:
H.R. 5230 makes a number of important reforms to address the many underlying problems of the unaccompanied minor border surge. The legislation would:
Washington, D.C. – Senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Alaskan Congressman Don Young, today moved two pieces of legislation through committee that would directly impact the traditional way of life and subsistence needs of Alaskans.
During a House Natural Resources Committee markup today, Congressman Young successfully amended H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, to exempt subsistence hunters in Alaska from being required to purchase the stamp. The amendment works to reverse a policy decision made by the Department of Interior that required subsistence duck hunters to purchase the federal duck stamp.
“For years, subsistence users in Alaska were not required to purchase a duck stamp, but this changed due to a recent Solicitor’s opinion,” said Congressman Don Young. “The exemption in my amendment would apply to Alaskan subsistence hunters residing in rural areas, many of which are impoverished and have little to no cash economies. The fact remains that not a single dollar generated by the duck stamp is spent in Alaska. And while that point is compelling on its own, the real issue is that subsistence hunters are not sport hunters. While I support raising the price of the duck stamps for sportsmen, myself included, we should not place additional burdens on individuals who rely on subsistence hunting as a means to feed their families.”
Congressman Young believes that in addition to placing additional burdens on hunters who depend on the resource as a vital food supply, this added requirement would disproportionately impact individuals residing in small Alaskan villages, who often face difficulty in obtaining a federal duck stamp due to limited Internet access or the lack of post offices.
The House Natural Resources Committee also unanimously approved Congressman Young’s legislation, H.R. 3109, to address the sale of Alaska Native artwork containing non-edible migratory bird parts. The legislation comes following an incident involving a celebrated Tlingit artist who was cited in 2012 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for using feathers in art intended for sale.
“Creating traditional handicrafts containing bones, feathers, and other non-edible bird parts have been common practice in the Alaska Native culture thousands of years,” said Congressman Young. My legislation today would recognize the legitimate subsistence needs of Alaska Natives by allowing the sale of handicrafts that include these parts. What may seem like a minor issue to some, this legislation holds great importance for a number of Alaska Native people and their traditions, and I’m proud that we have been able to take the appropriate steps in the House to correct this subsistence need.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today praised the passage of H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, which increases accountability, access and care for our nation’s veterans, in addition to following reforms spearheaded in Alaska to expand veteran care to non-VA hospitals and clinics. The legislation, which was sponsored by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), passed today by a vote 420 to 5.
“Today, the House came together and passed a critical veterans package to ensure we keep our promises to those that served this country,” said Congressman Don Young. “By improving access to care through the use of non-VA facilities – something the Alaska Delegation helped bring to Alaska’s Native veterans years ago – and by increasing accountability and allowing the VA to fire incompetent employees, I hope to begin the process of slashing wait times, improving medical care, and restoring trust and transparency with our nation’s veterans. While this package is not a solution to all of the VA’s problems – no single piece of legislation can be – it is a huge step in the right direction. ”
The $16.3 billion Veteran Affairs reform bill would make significant overhauls to the Agency plagued by outdated policies, bureaucratic roadblocks, and significant accountability failures. H.R. 3230 would specifically:
Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young today voted to reign in Executive overreach and address the failures of the President and his Administration to implement key portions of enacted law, including provisions of the Affordable Care Act, by passing H.Res. 676.
The resolution, which passed by a vote of 225 to 201, would empower the Speaker of the House to initiate one or more civil lawsuits against the Executive Branch in order to hold the President, cabinet members(s), or executive employees accountable for their failures to uphold their Constitutional duties of enforcing enacted laws as written.
Congressman Young shared his thoughts following the passage of H.Res. 676:
“Despite what’s written in the Constitution, which clearly requires the President to implement and enforce laws as written, the Obama Administration has selectively chosen which laws to implement and which to ignore. For the President to unilaterally enforce laws his Administration supports, while refusing to enforce laws he disagrees with, is absolutely wrong and goes against everything this nation stands for. This President has time and time again chosen to operate alone and make policy decisions based entirely on political motivation, rather than the will of the American people and Congress.
“No matter who sits in the White House, this blatant disregard for the law and separation of powers is unacceptable. While Americans who share the President’s political party may disagree with the resolution passed today and view it as a partisan attack by House Republicans, I believe it’s important to ask these individuals to imagine a President from an opposing party with the same unyielding power.
“Under Article III of the Constitution, federal courts have the power to hear cases involving disputes under the Constitution. Under judicial law, the House, like any plaintiff, must establish it has standing to sue in this case. I believe the President’s refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress, including the House, provides our chamber of 435 elected representatives with standing to sue. President and Congress took an oath to defend the Constitution, including the clause to faithfully execute enacted laws as written, and I believe it’s time our President kept his word.”
Washington, D.C – The House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young today passed bipartisan legislation aimed at modestly updating the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a law enacted in 1973 to preserve, protect, and recover species. H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act, which passed the House today by a vote of 233 to 190, would make a number of commonsense improvements and updates to ESA by specifically addressing species recovery and increased transparency by the federal government.
“There is no question that the United States has made significant improvements and advancements in biology and technology since ESA was last renewed more than 25 years ago, but unfortunately our current system does not take advantage of any of that,” said Congressman Don Young. “At the core of ESA are a number of good intentions; however, it currently lacks the 21st Century innovation needed to update and improve the law for both species conservation and the American people.”
Since enactment in 1973, more than 1,500 U.S. species and sub-species have been listed as threatened or endangered under ESA. During that same time, only 2 percent of these species have been recovered under the Act created with the primary goal of species recovery. H.R. 4315 works to improve these numbers by placing greater emphasis on recovery actions rather than bureaucratic listing actions.
“Today represents a longstanding push by House Republicans to bring legislative reforms to ESA that foster the science, technology and innovation that has made America successful in other endeavors,” Congressman Young said. “This legislation will give field-tested and empirical data weight when making species listings, and establish a process for state, tribal, and local governments to participate in the process. I believe it’s these types of commonsense reforms that will form a partnership between the federal government and local landowners to encourage species stewardship and remove countless unintended consequences currently associated with ESA.”
The legislation would specifically:
Washington, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young today applauded passage of H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014, which would expand and reform access for a $1,000 child tax credit claimed by parents and families across the nation. The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 237 to 173, would address an unintentional penalty for married couples wishing to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), in addition to instituting common sense reforms to prevent undocumented workers from collecting the same tax benefit.
“American households, whether married or single, deserve equal tax relief under the tax code,” said Congressman Don Young. “This bill would eliminate a marriage tax penalty by giving married couples the same chance to access the ACTC as individuals currently have. Currently, individuals making less than $75,000 a year can access this tax credit, but the combined income cut off for married couples is far from equitable. The idea that our tax code would punish marriage seems absolutely wrong to me, which is why I believe raising the ACTC phase out level for married couples is the right thing to do."
Under current law, an individual or married couple can claim a $1,000 tax credit for every child under the age of 17. However, individuals with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $75,000 and $110,000 for married couples are ineligible. H.R. 4935 would raise the phase out amount for married couples to claim the ACTC to $150,000.
“This bill would also index the eligibility requirement for inflation so future households will not be held to today’s standards of income levels,” said Congressman Young. “Since 1960, the cost of raising a child has gone up 4.4% annually, and I believe allowing the eligibility requirement to rise with inflation only makes sense.”
In addition to adjusting the ACTC eligibility requirement for inflation, H.R. 4935 would also make changes to a loophole in current law that allows undocumented workers to access the tax credit through the use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The legislation would require all individuals claiming the ACTC to provide a valid Social Security Number.
“With a staggering $17.6 trillion national debt, we must do everything in our power to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in our intricate tax code,” said Congressman Young. Through a loophole in our tax code, in 2010 alone, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that 2.3 million undocumented workers claimed $4.2 billion in ACTC benefits. H.R. 4935 would force the Treasury Department to close that loophole. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly consider and pass this common sense legislation so hard working American households can once again access a tax credit that undocumented workers currently find easier to claim that many taxpayers do.”
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.
$7.8 million in fishery disaster funding will soon be distributed to local fishermen in AK http://t.co/BeK6utoM0g
HUGSS & Coats for Kids @ Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Great cause, great day! http://t.co/v4oB3yQECh
Earlier this week, I shared my newest e-newsletter with Alaskans to discuss some of the many critical issues facing our nation. Click here
Many Alaskans incorporate traditional foods like salmon, wild berries and hunted game into their daily diets, and that shouldn’t stop when
Nearly two years after the Department of Commerce declared fisheries disasters for the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and the Upper Cook Inlet
My thoughts are with the Dial family as they search for their missing son Cody. Countless Alaskans have reached out to me in support of 27-year-old
It was an honor and pleasure to attend the United States Coast Guard Foundation dinner tonight in Anchorage to celebrate the heroism of our Coast