Idaho Press Tribune
By Phil Bridges
September 3, 2015
NAMPA — Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, says he has gotten an earful from unhappy Republicans about the state of the country and what’s happening in Washington, D.C.
He told the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board Wednesday that he shares their frustrations and, while some GOP faithful say they haven’t seen any changes since the party took both houses of Congress eight months ago, progress has been made.
“There has been a major change in how the Senate operates,” Crapo said. “(Before Republicans took control in January) there were 12 votes in two years. We passed our first budget in seven years. … There have been 175 votes in the last eight months. The problem is there have been filibusters and vetoes killing many of those votes.”
As to whether Republicans should invest the time to pass legislation they know will be vetoed by President Barack Obama, Crapo said the votes should be held nonetheless to “put every senator on record and force them to take a position.”
Here are some other issues he talked about in Wednesday’s meeting:
Crapo said he understands Trump’s ascendency in the Republic primary polling.
“He is striking a chord with a variety of people in various socioeconomic groups,” Crapo said. “He’s a strong campaigner.”
On Trump’s major immigration proposals — a key element of his campaign — Crapo said he supports a strong border fence utilizing modern technology but believes there are some spans of the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico that may not need a fence. In regard to rounding up people who immigrated to the country illegally, Crapo said a strong guest worker problem would help with migrant flow, but “I just don’t think we necessarily have the capacity” to round up every person here illegally. He added that he opposes the concept of “birthright citizenship” but believes it’s up to the court system to determine whether the 14th Amendment guarantees it.
“I understand the frustration with the widening gap between the wealthy and the middle class,” Crapo said. “I think a major reason for the flow of that wealth is laws that have bailed out bad financial management.”
He cited the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation passed into law in 2010 as an example of those bad laws and said the solution is to eliminate tax code advantages for poorly-performing corporations, require them to go through “orderly bankruptcy” and stop the “bailout and backstops.”
At a time where public support for liberal social platforms like same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization is growing, the GOP should focus on “limited government and a free and open economy. The government should not be caretakers,” he said.
Wildfires and the Bureau of Land Management
Crapo said he agrees that questionable BLM policies have helped exacerbate Idaho’s wildfires somewhat and said he supports legislation that would enable Congress to review agency rules — a power it does not have but the state of Idaho does.
Crapo anticipates another deadline showdown due to party disagreements over defunding of some agencies Republicans have objections with, as well as Obama’s insistence on spending increases in other areas to match GOP military spending demands. Crapo defended military spending increases, saying “I’m not saying we need to be the world’s policeman, but national defense is our most important priority. Look at the state of the world today.”