Half of the year has gone by, and it’s been an especially busy start to the legislative year in Washington. As the representative of Colorado’s largest congressional district, there are no shortages of issues facing our communities, and here are a few that I have been focused on thus far.
First and foremost, I have continued to work on behalf of the more than 50,000 veterans living in Colorado’s Third Congressional District. It’s critical to ensure that those who served receive the care they deserve. I have introduced several bills to help veterans to include the Veterans Reimbursement for Emergency Ambulance Services Act, the Dental Care for Low-Income Veterans Act, and the Private Cemeteries Honoring Veterans of Next of Kin Act.
I also reintroduced a resolution expressing the importance of the USS Pueblo, a U.S. Naval ship which has been moored in a North Korean river and used as a propaganda tool for over 50 years. It’s incredibly important to honor the crew who were held captive for 11 months and to return the Pueblo back home. I hope the North Koreans view this as a unique opportunity to show a measure of goodwill as the U.S. and North Korea continue to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In line with serving veterans, is the need to ensure our military readiness remains high so that we may continue to enjoy the many blessings this country has to offer. This year, I joined with the Colorado delegation in asking that the Department of Defense (DoD) reestablish Colorado as the headquarters for the U.S. Space Command. Colorado has been a long-time leader in the aerospace and military industries and moving the headquarters to Colorado will ensure that the state continues that role. I have also introduced legislation that protects the DoD’s sole High-Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Gypsum and was glad to have an amendment included into this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that had broad bipartisan support. This site offers world-class training for rotor-wing aviators before they go to combat zones, and it is critical to protect the facility and training to ensure military readiness.
Another issue that must continue to be addressed, specifically for rural communities, is better planning and building out of high-speed internet infrastructure. Broadband isn’t just a luxury in the 21st Century, it is a necessity. Unfortunately, many families, students and businesses in rural areas still don’t have the same access to high-speed internet as their urban counterparts. A recent study by the FCC showed that in Colorado, Denver County is the only county where residents have 100 percent access to high-speed broadband. For residents in other areas, there is a huge disparity. In Conejos County for instance, less than 10 percent of residents in rural areas have access. To address this, I have introduced the RURAL Broadband Act. This bill would help ensure federal funds supporting broadband build-out are going to areas where there is currently no broadband access. In some cases, we have seen duplicative investments in rural broadband infrastructure, which limits the reach of federal resources. It is important to make sure bureaucracy doesn’t stand in the way of bringing internet to the communities that need it most.
Anyone who lives in or has visited Colorado knows the value of our public lands. As a lifelong resident of Colorado, I share this sentiment and was especially proud to vote in support of the Natural Resources Management Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. This bill permanently reauthorized of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has greatly improved access public lands in Colorado, like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The bill also included bills I introduced, the Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act which renamed two mountains after Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, two extraordinary mountaineers, and the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which will extend free access to public lands to 4th grade students across the country.
Lastly, there is still a strikingly high number of lives that continue to be taken because of prescription and illegal drug overdose. I recently held a town hall meeting in Custer County to hear from the residents there on how the federal government can better help law enforcement and community health care facilities. From curbing drug flows at the southern border to ensuring our medical professionals have adequate resources, there are plenty of opportunities for Congress to continue working on behalf of the victims of opioid overdose and I will continue to ensure the best solutions are put forward.
Looking past the political noise in Washington is never easy, but I continue to focus on behalf of Colorado’s Third Congressional District. I look forward to visiting with communities across the district in the August district work period and bringing their concerns back to Washington, D.C. as we look forward to the second half of 2019. As always, I value input on the many issues facing our country. For the latest updates and to give your input, please visit my website at www.Tipton.House.gov.Read More
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the Department of Interior released the details of the plan to relocate the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado. The plan will also relocate additional personnel to other state offices across the West. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03), a longtime advocate of moving the BLM West who has worked on the issue since 2016, applauded the decision and the efforts put forth by local, state and federal officials to make the move possible.
“I could not be happier that the BLM selected Grand Junction as the location for its headquarters,” said Tipton. “The West is home to 99 percent of federal lands and the local input provided to the BLM from our constituents will no doubt improve how federal lands are managed. Moving the BLM West originated from a series of meetings and townhalls in my district and collaboration between all levels of government led to the final decision. I am thankful for the tireless work of everyone involved in making this move a reality. I congratulate Grand Junction and look forward to visiting the new headquarters soon.”
Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt indicated that the moving the BLM headquarters West is necessary to shift the federal land-making decision power back to the states.
"A meaningful realignment of our operations is not simply about where functions are performed; rather, it is rooted in how changes will better respond to the needs of the American people,” said Bernhardt. “Under our proposal, every Western state will gain additional staff resources. This approach will play an invaluable role in serving the American people more efficiently while also advancing the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple-use mission. Shifting critical leadership positions and supporting staff to western states -- where an overwhelming majority of federal lands are located -- is not only a better management system, it is beneficial to the interest of the American public in these communities, cities, counties and states."
Sharing Tipton’s praise for the efforts behind the move and the work by various officials and organizations was Robin Brown, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
"Today is a great day for Grand Junction. Our community has worked very hard over the last several years to build a place that is thriving, inclusive and good for business. The decision to move BLM here is confirmation that our efforts are paying off and our values resonate across the country," said Brown. "We are grateful to Congressman Tipton and all of the people who've advocated for Grand Junction during this process."
Tipton spearheaded the BLM West relocation plan in the House when he introduced legislation in the 115th Congress to authorize the move. House appropriators included $10.5 million for the Interior Department to proceed with the move in fiscal year 2019.
In a letter addressed to the House Committee on Natural Resources outlining the details of the relocation plan, the Interior Department announced that 27 officials would be relocated to Grand Junction including the BLM director, deputy director and other support staff.Read More
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) released the following statement after it was reported that the Bureau of Land Management had zeroed in on Grand Junction as a finalist for the headquarter relocation:
“Today is a great day for Grand Junction, the Western Slope, and for every believer that the federal government should be closer to the people whom its decisions affect. Colorado’s Third Congressional district serves as a microcosm of almost every land-management issue in the American West. As a native of Colorado’s Third Congressional District, Sec. Bernhardt knows the lands well and I applaud his leadership on making this move a reality. I look forward to seeing the final plan and congratulate the community of Grand Junction for this great opportunity.”
Tipton has worked on bringing the BLM West since 2016 and introduced legislation to authorize move in the 115th Congress. Details of the announcement are expected tomorrow.
The U.S. House passed a $733 billion defense spending bill 220-197 without one single Republican vote. The bill is $17 billion dollars less than a Senate version of the bill that passed last month.
Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn voted against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) because of that difference in the bottom line. Lamborn stood with Republican leadership and other members of the Armed Services Committee denouncing the bill as partisan before the vote.
Lamborn is concerned that the current bill does not make up for defense cuts under previous administrations. “I’m concerned that we’re not properly funding our men and women in uniform,” he said.
Democrat Rep. Jason Crow, a veteran, disagrees. He believes that the lower number makes sense.
“It will make us competitive. It’s a pay raise for our troops. It gives them better training and gives them better equipment and it prepares us to deal with the threats of Russia and China. But it's also a sensible number,” Crow said.
Another Republican, Rep. Ken Buck, voted against the bill because, in his opinion, the number was not low enough. He said the bill “misses the mark in a lot of different areas.” He also believes the government has “got to reduce our spending.”
The bill includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for the military, improvements to military housing and a requirement that large military installations plan for climate change.
It also included a number of amendments, many incorporated by Crow. One ensures the president cannot launch an attack against Iran without Congressional approval, and another that prevents Department of Defense funding from being used to “engage in immoral border enforcement policies.”
“Our troops and our defense money should not be spent to forcible separate children from their parents,” he said.
Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter was able to include an amendment on behalf of the former Rocky Flats workers.
“These workers risked their lives to protect our nation and helped end the Cold War,” Perlmutter said. “We owe these patriots the compensation and care they need and deserve as they deal with the health consequences and other side effects related to their service to our country.”
Republican Rep. Scott Tipton was “honored” to see his amendment ensuring the continuation of the only high-altitude rotary-wing training site in Gypsum pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Unfortunately, a deep political divide in the House has brought forth a version of NDAA which has no path forward in the Senate,” Tipton said. “But it is my hope, a less politically-motivated version comes from the Conference that I can support and continue to advocate on behalf of this invaluable training site."
It’s the idea that a better bill can come out of the conference committee process that led to Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette’s support for the bill.
“And as always I’m going to have to look at the final bill as it comes back from conference,” she said.
Before it was even passed, President Donald Trump threatened to veto the House version of the bill. The Senate’s version of the bill passed with strong bipartisan support 86-8, but did not include many of the other amendments that made it into the House bill.Read More
Republican US. Rep. Scott Tipton announced on Wednesday a new resolution calling on the North Korean government to return the USS Pueblo back to the United States.
Tipton’s office announced the resolution requesting the return of the naval intelligence ship on Wednesday, with the resolution stating the House of Representatives “desires the return of the USS Pueblo to the United State Navy”, and “would welcome” its return as “a sign of good faith from the North Korean people to the American people.”
The resolution also directs the clerk of the House of Representatives to transmit copies of the resolution to the president, secretary of defense and secretary of state.
“The USS Pueblo has been used as a propaganda tool by the North Koreans for over 50 years now, and it’s well past time for the ship to be returned home,” Tipton said in a prepared statement.
“The surviving crew lived through almost a year of captivity for the ship’s wrongful seizure by the North Korean government, and it would be a great show of goodwill for the ship to be returned as our two nations continue discussing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Korean government in 1968 while sailing in international waters and one individual, Petty Officer Duane Hodges, was killed.
Following its capture, the remaining crew was held in captivity for 11 months.
Though the surviving crew was eventually released, the Pueblo has remained moored in the Pothong River.
It remains the only U.S. Navy commissioned vessel to be held in captivity.
Tipton introduced a similar resolution in May 2018, and stated: “The USS Pueblo continues to be unlawfully held captive and used as a tool for North Korean propaganda. The return of the USS Pueblo is an important topic that should be included during conversations and negotiations with the North Korean government.”Read More
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Montezuma County Commissioner Keenan Ertel’s testified before the House Natural Resources Committee during a hearing on the Colorado Wilderness Act of 2019, sponsored by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-01). During his oral testimony, Ertel criticized the bill’s re-designation of three wilderness study areas (WSA) in Montezuma County as permanent Wilderness Areas, citing a Bureau of Land Management determination that the lands were not suited for such designation. He also outlined several other local concerns. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) took note of the testimony and gave the following statement:
“I value protecting Colorado’s natural spaces and understand the importance of identifying wilderness areas in our public lands. However, when we are determining which areas are best suited, we cannot ignore the voices of those who would be most impacted by the designations. This bill has received justified local criticism over concerns regarding noxious weed control, mitigating existing fire hazards near residential properties, and stripping local control of energy resource development. Wilderness designations should always be locally driven, and I am thankful for Commissioner Ertel’s efforts to bring the county’s concerns to members of the Natural Resources Committee.”
Earlier this year, three Montezuma County Commissioners sent a letter to Congresswoman DeGette’s office laying out their concerns, and Ertel’s testimony largely echoed those concerns, which according to Ertel, have still not been resolved.
Ertel’s full written testimony can be found here.Read More
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) reintroduced a resolution honoring the more than 80 crewmembers of the USS Pueblo, a U.S. Navy ship captured by the North Korean government during the Cold War.
“The USS Pueblo has been used as a propaganda tool by the North Koreans for over 50 years now, and it’s well past time for the ship to be returned home,” said Tipton. “The surviving crew lived through almost a year of captivity for the ship’s wrongful seizure by the North Korean government, and it would be a great show of good will for the ship to be returned as our two nations continue discussing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Korean government in 1968 and Petty Officer Duane Hodges was killed, and the remaining crew was held in captivity for 11 months. While the surviving crew was eventually released, the Pueblo has remained moored in the Pot'ong River and remains the only U.S. Navy commissioned vessel to be held in captivity.
The full text of the resolution is available here.Read More
Two Pueblo West High School seniors learned just what makes the federal government tick on Capital Hill during a week-long leadership camp in Washington D.C. thanks to the sponsorship of the San Isabel Electric Coop.
Students Ashylnn Danielson and Sherri Wood talked to Colorado congressmen, learned about how government works and toured historic monuments. The camp was, “truly life changing for me,” Wood said.
After submitting a minute-long video about one of the seven principals of a coop, the students were selected by San Isabel Electric staffers to receive the all-expense paid trip.
“It was an amazing opportunity we got to meet our representatives for Colorado - including our Congressman Scott Tipton - and we got to ask questions,” Wood said. “I’ve always been interested in government so to be able to go to Washington D.C., our nation’s capital, is an amazing experience.”
Wood said she learned about government like how bills become laws and the voting process on Capital Hill. She learned about political advocacy like when constituents write letters, the congressmen read them.
“You are connected to D.C. through your congressmen and representatives. They know the problems we face and they are being worked on,” Wood said.
Danielson said the week kicked off with a trip to Tri-State Electric which supplies area coops with electricity. In Washington D.C., she said she gained a better understanding of how the nation started.
“You see your congressmen on TV so to finally get the opportunity to meet them, it is an impact. It is great to see them touching base with the community and youth,” Danielson said.
She said she was impacted most by the Holocaust Museum which she described as “eye opening,” and the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials which were, “breathtaking in person.”
The conference helped her learn to be “more accepting of others and different views. It gives you a different perspective of what people are going through,” Danielson explained.
Doris Morgan, the Pueblo West representative on the San Isabel Electric Board, said, “It is great how San Isabel gives back to the community.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (CO-03) and U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner sent the U.S. Postmaster General a letter requesting swift action to address several postal issues impacting Snowmass, Westcliffe, Estes Park, and Eagle, Colorado.
Recent complaints of missing deliveries, misinformation on websites, and poor customer service prompted numerous constituents to request the Colorado Congressional delegation’s assistance to address these issues. While some of the issues have since been resolved, many concerns for these communities remain largely unanswered. In part, the letter reads:
“Colorado-based USPS staff has acknowledged that service delivery standards and customer service need to improve, but it appears there has been little follow-through on these issues. While we understand solutions take time to implement, we do expect the USPS to articulate what actions it plans to take to better serve our constituents. Our offices ask that you outline what actions the USPS is taking in the Snowmass, Westcliffe, Estes Park and Eagle communities to:
- Ensure critical mail-order medications are not returned as undeliverable;
- Ensure overnight delivery of packages and mail is not delayed;
- Ensure the USPS can handle the increasing population in these communities;
- Ensure fewer packages and mail parcels are lost; and
- Increase home delivery.”
The letter requests that the Postmaster General follow up with a plan of action by July 22, 2019. The full letter can be found here.Read More
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $4.5 billion emergency border funding bill. While Democrat and Republican representatives agree there is a humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, there is disagreement over how to spend the money.
Democrat Rep. Jason Crow said it's needed to address the humanitarian disaster at border. But the House is being specific about how the money can be spent.
“It provides money for the immediate need,” Crow said. “Consumables, food, water, safe housing, safe transportation for children and family. But it also puts guardrails in place to make sure that money isn't used for enforcement.”
Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn does not support the measure because of that reason.
“We're going to keep having an ongoing crisis if we don't ever do something about the broken asylum request process and things like that,” he said.
Call it a fence or a wall, but Lamborn believes a physical barrier of some kind is needed at the border. He believes it will discourage people from putting themselves by taking a risky journey across some harsh terrain.
Fellow Republican Rep. Scott Tipton also believes the bill fails to address a variety of issues, such as increasing the number of immigration judges where a backlog of cases has led to a years-long wait for some cases to be heard and ensuring access to enough beds.
Both Tipton and Lamborn pointed to the Senate version of the bill, which passed out of the Appropriations Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support, as a possible solution.
But Crow said the House can’t wait for others to lead.
“We’ve got to come out with a proposal that we think will work and just make it happen. We can’t sit around and wait for the administration to do something because history has told us that that doesn’t work out well,” he saidRead More
218 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Scott Tipton was raised in Cortez, Colorado. He graduated from Ft. Lewis College in Durango, where he studied Political Science and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. After college, he returned home to Cortez and co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery with his brother Joe. It was through his business that Scott met his wife, Jean, who is a former school teacher. The Tipton’s have two daughters, Liesl and Elizabeth, and two sons-in-law, Chris and Jace.
After a lifetime running his small business, Scott was elected as a Republican to the Colorado House of Representatives for the 58th District in November of 2008. During his time at the state House, he worked to ensure quality water for the people of Colorado and to improve the air quality of Southwest Colorado. He also sponsored legislation to protect children from the worst criminal offenders by mandating harsher penalties for child sex-offenders and allowing law enforcement to collect DNA evidence from suspects through Jessica’s Law and Katie’s Law.
Scott was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and again in 2012 for a second term.
In the 112th Congress, Scott pushed hard to advance a federal version of Katie’s Law to encourage additional states to implement minimum DNA collection standards and enhanced collection processes for felons in order to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to prevent violent crimes, and protect women and children. That effort became a reality when the President signed Katie’s Law on January 3, 2013.
Using his positions on the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Small Business Committees, Scott has is fighting for the issues that most directly impact Coloradans, many of which involve our state’s extensive open spaces and natural resources. In his first term, Scott introduced legislation to encourage healthy forest management and prevent wildfire, as well as passed a bill in the House with bipartisan support to advance the development of clean, renewable hydropower. He is also leading the charge in Congress to stop a federal grab of privately-held water rights, standing up for farmers and ranchers, the ski industry, and all who rely on their water rights to survive.
Scott is champion of advancing an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances common sense conservation with responsible development. He passed the Planning for American Energy Act through the House (as a title under the American Domestic Energy and Jobs Act) to put requirements into place to develop wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals, based on the needs of the American people.
Scott has used his experience as a small businessman to inform his work as a Subcommittee Chairman on the Small Business Committee. Here he has worked to protect farmers and ranchers from regulatory overreach, as well as push for expanded trade opportunities for Colorado products. Scott is a co-founder of the Congressional Small Business Caucus, a bipartisan caucus committed to open dialogue on the issues that most impact small businesses. Members of the Congressional Small Business Caucus are dedicated to advancing efforts to foster the economic certainty needed for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and create jobs.
In the 113th Congress, Scott continues to represent the many interests of one of the most diverse and geographically vast districts in the nation. He will fight to bring Colorado common sense to Washington—focusing on reforming regulation, protecting Colorado’s natural environment, encouraging responsible all-of-the-above energy development, reducing government spending, and removing hurdles so that small businesses can do what they do best—create jobs.
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With 99 percent of federal lands in the West, this move is just common sense. Thank you to everyone who helped make… https://t.co/ui7tiEnCdb
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Congratulations again to Grand Junction and thank you to everyone who was involved in the process. I am honored to… https://t.co/y3AiMJQqTz
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From the local county commissioners to the highest levels of the federal government, getting the BLM HQ to Grand Ju… https://t.co/ouhiTtovR4