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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Begich’

What is Mark Begich doing to you in Washington?

Weekly Clips from July 7, 2011 through July 21, 2011

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D) and Joe Miller (U.S. Senate candidate in 2010)

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D)

Alaska’s Senators Support Bill Protecting Pilots

July 7: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “In Alaska, we understand the need to look out for the best interests of general aviation pilots because aviation is such a vital part of life for so many of our communities,” said Senator Begich, who is co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus. “It’s important that general aviation pilots receive fair treatment and up-to-date information from the FAA to help keep food, medicine, and mail moving across our state and arriving safely in the hands of the Alaskans who need it.” More…

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Begich Responds to Executive Order on AK Energy Coordination

July 12: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I am pleased to see the President follow through on his March commitment to coordinate federal oil and gas permitting agencies in Alaska,” Begich said.  “Today’s announcement recognizes the importance of Alaska’s oil and gas to our nation’s economic and energy security, and I appreciate the President’s personal attention to these issues.” More…

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Alaska Delegation Introduces Legislation Repealing Roadless Rule

July 13: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: Senator Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young today introduced legislation to repeal the 2001 Roadless Rule in Alaska’s National Forests. Senator Lisa Murkowski co-sponsored the Senate measure.

“This cookie-cutter rule is a bad fit for Alaska,” Begich said. “With high unemployment and high energy costs in Southeast Alaska, the Forest Service needs greater flexibility to address these issues. Repealing the rule will help keep the few existing mills alive and allow for the development of hydro projects throughout the region as well as two promising mining projects on Prince of Wales Island. Instead of adding options, the roadless rule takes them away.” More…

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Begich Pleased by NOAA Status of Stocks Report

July 14: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “In Alaska, we do fisheries management right” said Begich. “The men and women of the fishing industry work closely with their representatives on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to ensure that our fishery management is fair and is based on sound science.  When we do that, the result is both a robust seafood industry that employs thousands of Alaskans and healthy, sustainable marine ecosystems.”

Fishing in Alaska has a $7.4 billion impact on the economy and supports almost 90,000 jobs, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  In federal waters, more than three miles from land, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service manage 63 fish stocks with six fishery management plans.

“People around the world look to Alaska when they want to see an example of good fishery management,” said Begich, “I am proud of our process and all of the people who make it work.” More…

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Begich Pushes Alaska Development with BOEMRE Officials

July 14: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “With all of the development potential on the horizon for Alaska, I was glad to get to meet Dr. Kendall and once again talk to Director Bromwich about the need to move forward on oil and gas exploration, particularly in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas,” Begich said. “I take every chance I get to push Alaska’s case and continue to believe we are making progress.” More…

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Alaska Senators Continue Fight Against “Frankenfish”

July 15: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “FDA hasn’t considered all of the potential negative impacts of genetically-altered fish and the strong opposition in Congress to approving something that could decimate wild salmon populations,” Sen. Begich said. “Recent scientific evidence shows that if genetically-modified salmon escape, they could successfully breed with wild stocks, potentially destroying the genetic adaptations that have allowed fish to thrive for millennia. Alaska wild salmon is abundant and sustainable.  We don’t need Frankenfish threatening our fish populations and the coastal communities that rely on them.” More…

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Begich Signs Letter Welcoming “Gang of Six” Progress

July 20:  Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “The proposal put forward by the ‘Gang of Six’ is an important step toward reducing the deficit and getting our economy back on track, and I’m happy to see this bipartisan progress.

“It’s a relief to see senators from both political parties working together to make progress so we can avert the consequences of a government default.

“All along I’ve said there’s no room for political grandstanding or gamesmanship. August 2nd is a real deadline and a government default would devastate the economy, hurt the pocketbooks of Alaskans and cause untold damage to the finances of the federal government and our long-term economic stability.

“As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I’ve been working for months to find ways to cut our deficit without hurting seniors or burdening working families and small businesses.

“We must continue to work together to refine proposals from the ‘Gang of Six’ and the Budget Committee to create a balanced solution that reduces our deficit, promotes economic growth, is fair and balanced and avoids a government default. I’ll be working hard to make sure those important pieces make it into any final plan.”

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Begich Supports Veterans & Military Construction with Vote in Senate

July 20: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I am pleased the Senate was able to pass this bill to provide for Alaska’s 77,000 veterans and fund military construction in the state,” Begich said. “Timely passage will ensure our veterans do not have a disruption in the payment of their benefits or services. This bill also bolsters our base infrastructure while creating new jobs. For every military construction project in the state over $30 million, an estimated 100-250 job are created.” More…

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Begich Praises Passage of Energy Bill with Alaska Provisions

July 21: Mark Begich–U.S. Senator: Pressroom: “I was pleased to have my colleagues on the committee recognize and support the importance of Alaska’s vast oil and gas resources to the rest of the nation,” Begich said.  “In particular, the OCS coordination language will speed the development timelines for Alaska’s offshore industry, while giving state and local governments an important voice currently missing from the federal process.” More…

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Obama forms Alaska energy group

Alaska Dispatch: July 7: Effective Tuesday, an 11-member group of high level federal employees is now tasked with managing the process by which oil and gas development in Alaska proceeds. David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior, will chair the newly formed Interagency Working Group and Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska.

The group is “to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies responsible for overseeing the safe and responsible development of onshore and offshore energy resources and associated infrastructure in Alaska and to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” according to an executive order signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama.

Alaska’s Senate delegation believes it’s a good move. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the group “a positive step forward.” Sen. Mark Begich called it “a step in the right direction.” Meanwhile, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the president’s efforts will lead to real reform of the federal permitting process. More…

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Begich calls for debt ceiling compromise in online town hall

Juneau Empire: July 13: Alaska’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich tapped a variety of social media Tuesday night to clarify his position on the federal government’s flirtation with again raising the debt ceiling versus allowing the federal government to default. Begich and staff solicited questions from Twitter, Facebook and his official Senate website and email account, and then Begich turned to the web broadcasting service Ustream for nearly an hour, as a way for the senator to interact with constituents.

Many of the questions raised in the town hall mirrored those from the national debate.

A recurring conern, which Begich responded to directly, was mentioned in a Tweet by Jonathan Teeters of Anchorage: “After pol. gamesmanship & grandstanding – how will you use your leadership to bring others 2 table?”

Begich responded to Tweeters by decrying “political grandstanding” and mentioning the “posturing for 2012 that has taken place on both sides of the table” during the debt ceiling debate. He then reverted to many of the same talking points he used during his testimony on the Senate floor last week.

“(Grandstanding is) not what America needs right now,” said Begich. “There are a lot of congressmen who have said under no circumstances (will they) raise the debt limit. There are social security checks that won’t be mailed. I don’t think they realize the weight of this debate.” More…

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AP Interview: Begich says state needs to be more aggressive in pursuing natural gas pipeline

AP: Juneau Empire: July 13: .S. Sen. Mark Begich told The Associated Press that state leaders should tell TransCanada Corp. that the clock is running, it’s time to produce results and if the company can’t, the state will look for elsewhere.

“We shouldn’t be sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, saying, ‘Well, we’ll see how it all works out and we’ll check in later with them,’” he said. If the state believes it should have a pipeline project — as Begich himself believes it should — then “we should drive that train.”

TransCanada is pursuing a pipeline project that would bring gas from Alaska’s North Slope to North America and perhaps overseas markets with the promise of up to $500 million from the state for reimbursable costs. The company is working under terms of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA, which was championed by then-Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007 as a way to get the ball rolling on a long-hoped for line. More…

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2 Alaska judges face federal confirmation hearings

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: July 7: Two state judges in Alaska have undergone confirmation hearings for federal judgeships.

Morgan Christen and Sharon Gleason appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich recommended the candidates to President Obama, filling the traditional role of the senator from the same party as the president.

The Anchorage Daily News says both nominees also have the support of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

If Gleason and Christen are confirmed by the Senate, they will be the first Alaska women to serve on the federal bench.

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Begich: “Real” threat of debt inaction

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: June 117: U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, visiting Alaska for the weekend, just said he senses a 50 percent chance Congress will fail to increase the federal borrowing limit.

He met with reporters and offered estimates as to how many here would be impacted directly if congressional inaction causes government transfer payments to dry up: A halt to Social Security payments would impact 78,000 Alaskans; to Medicare benefits, 51,000 residents; to Veterans programs (through payments, for example, or access to clinics), 71,000; to active duty military pay, 56,000 people in Alaska.

Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski are part of the congressional majority warning of financial catastrophe unless both legislative chambers increase the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2. A tug of war continues over other corners of a broader deficit reduction proposal.

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Schumer: Cantor ‘standing in the way’ of any debt-limit deal passing the House

The Hill: July 14: Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said moderates are frustrated because they have reached out to Republicans without seeing any sign of compromise, especially from Cantor and the House GOP. He urged Cantor to reach out to House Democrats to find a bipartisan compromise that will pass the House. More…

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Dems look to modernize tax lien system

The Hill: July 20: Two Democratic senators are pushing to bring the federal government’s tax lien system into the computer age.

Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Mark Begich of Alaska say their bill, which would create an electronic filing system, would save roughly $150 million over a decade. As it stands, public notices of liens have to be filed, usually on paper, in one of more than 4,000 local offices.

“It is time to bring the federal tax lien system into the 21st century,” Levin, the chairman of the Senate’s Permanent subcommittee on Investigations, said on the chamber floor.  More…

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Vulnerable Democrats Display Their Timidity

Roll Call: June 21: Sen. Mark Begich, an Alaska Democrat whose 2008 class shares the impatience and ambition previously expressed by the 2006 class, offered a similar critique of the GOP. Begich said Republicans have repeatedly slowed the legislative process for purely political purposes. “They’d rather go down there and jawbone, rather than get the work [done] that this country expects them to do,” he said. More…

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Joe Miller (U.S. Senate candidate in 2010)

Miller Chooses Not to Appeal Legal Fees Ruling

Joe Miller – Restoring Liberty: July 21: Joe Miller added, “The Court’s claim that I was motivated by a U.S. Senator’s salary is wrong and has no factual support in the record. The truth is I ran for the Senate because I wanted to serve my country and represent the people of the great State of Alaska. I was stirred to action by a deeply held belief that our country was (and is) headed in the wrong direction, and I wanted to be part of the solution. I’ve chosen not to appeal, recognizing that course would have spent money that hard-working Americans entrusted to me. Given the amount at issue, it simply does not make good financial sense to move forward with the appeal. Pyrrhic victories are not my goal. Accordingly, this court fight ends today. I’m directing my counsel to contact the Alaska Attorney General’s office today and make arrangements to pay the fees required by this court ruling in an expeditious manner.” More…

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No decision yet on Joe Miller appeal, attorney says

News Tribune: July 14: An attorney says no decision’s been made on whether to appeal a court ruling that Joe Miller pay state legal fees related to his election challenge last year.

Attorney John Tiemessen says the deadline for a decision is next week.

A state court judge ordered Miller pay more than $17,300 in legal costs incurred by the state during his challenge to the U.S. Senate race last fall.

Miller sued over how the state handled the election and counted votes for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who ran as a write-in after losing her primary to Miller.

In state court, winning parties can seek up to 20 percent of their attorney fees in cases where money wasn’t at issue.

Three courts, including the Alaska Supreme Court, refused to overturn election results favoring Murkowski.

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Joe Miller agrees to pay legal fees

CNN: July 21: Joe Miller, who lost a 2010 senate bid against Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, announced he won’t be appealing a court order requiring that he pay state legal fees incurred in his fight to overturn the election results.

“Given the amount at issue, it simply does not make good financial sense to move forward with the appeal,” Miller said in a statement Thursday. “Pyrrhic victories are not my goal. Accordingly, this court fight ends today.”