Weekly Columns and Op-Eds
Last week, I was joined by 144 of my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives—one third of the entire House—to demand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cooperation with congressional and Inspector General investigations into a very serious matter.
We live in an astounding time of technological progress, during the “Information Age.” Since the 1990s, the internet has flourished and created a digital marketplace, revolutionizing the world economy and the way commerce is conducted. Private enterprise has developed an incredible number of innovative services for millions of consumers.
It may be news to many Americans, but as individual land owners, ranchers, and farmers in Washington already know, the federal government is one of the largest property managers in the nation, and especially in the West. According to a 2014 government survey, federal agencies manage 640 million acres of land, or one million square miles nationwide.
President Ronald Reagan once put it simply: “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So governments' programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.” Sadly, Reagan’s comments on the lack of accountability for taxpayer dollars are no joke.
Last Tuesday, the world was again horrified by coordinated terrorist attacks at the airport and subway in Brussels, Belgium. Dozens of people lost their lives, and many more were injured. Even before they took official responsibility, there was little doubt that the perpetrators would turn out to be ISIS affiliates, whose attacks in Paris last November took the lives of 130 people.
Think for a moment about all the financial products you use on a regular basis: credit cards, a mortgage, an auto loan, perhaps short-term consumer credit. Now imagine a single unelected bureaucrat dictating the terms of all of those products. Imagine if that bureaucrat could cancel any financial agreement they didn't like, for any reason.
Hot summers, several years of low snowpack, and the severity of recent drought across the West illustrate the extent to which water is truly the lifeblood of Central Washington and our economy. Unlike the west side of the Cascades, the “rain shadow” effect caused by the mountain ranges keeps Eastern Washington dry, with less than 10 inches of rainfall on average.
President Teddy Roosevelt—an avid hunter and outdoorsman—summed up the general feeling about public lands best: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children.
Last week, the president announced his plan to close the U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where terrorist detainees are being held. The president’s plan is to shut down Guantánamo Bay by transferring some of the 91 detainees to other countries and moving the rest to the U.S. mainland.
“I don't worry about my legacy,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said. “Just do your job right, and who cares?” Last week, with the sudden passing of Justice Scalia at the age of 79, our country lost a jurist and legal scholar of the highest order.