eNews from Sen. Lisa Murkowski - Vol. 1, Issue 8
STAY TUNED ON ANWR
Late last night, the House of Representatives passed its budget reconciliation bill. While the bill does not include language to open ANWR, passing the bill itself was critical for ANWR's success. The House bill must now go to conference with the Senate bill which does include the ANWR language. The conference committee gives us one more chance to include ANWR in a final budget reconciliation bill that will be voted on by both the House and the Senate. Stay tuned for more ANWR news in December.
THE PRESIDENT VISITS ALASKA...
Earlier this week I accompanied President Bush as he visited Elmendorf Air Force Base. In his second visit to Alaska as President, Bush spoke to some of Alaska's finest soldiers and military families about their steadfast work for the
country and the world.
I was honored by the President's remarks:
I want to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski for flying all the way from Washington today to make sure she was here to see her fellow Alaskans, as well as to be with the President. It means a lot to me.
The President also spoke of Alaska's historic role, protecting the country during the Cold War and of current role in fighting the war on terror. In the 20th century, the men and women of Elmendorf Air Force Baseand Fort Richardson stood guard on the frontlines of freedom -- serving in the shadow of the Soviet Union. From here, you gave our nation "Top Cover" -- standing ready to defend America at a moment's notice. Since September the 11th, 2001, thousands of men and women from Elmendorf, Fort Richardson, U.S. Army Alaska, and Alaska National Guard have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other fronts in the war on terror. From the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, America's Arctic Warriors are leaving their mark, and leaving a legacy of freedom.
PUTTING THE BRAKES ON PATRIOT ACT REFORM...
I joined with a bipartisan group of Senators in objecting to the draft Patriot Act reauthorization conference report that was made public this week. Earlier this summer, the Senate unanimously passed a version of the Patriot Act that struck a balance between ensuring civil liberties and providing necessary tools for our law enforcement agencies.
Unfortunately, the conference report that has emerged markedly departs from the Senate version of the bill. When I first came to office, reform of the Patriot Act to better protect civil liberties was an issue I heard about from
file:///H /Newsletter/111805%20newsletter/111805%20enews.html (1 of 2) [11/21/2005 12:19:14 PM]
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski :: eNews Sen. Murkowski joins Senators Sununu, Craig, Feingold and Specter to announce opposition to the draft Patriot Act conference report communities all over Alaska. We have worked too long and too hard to allow this conference report to eliminate the protections for civil liberties that were agreed to unanimously in the Senate.
Because of our objections, Judiciary Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced today that we would revisit the Patriot Act in December.
INDUSTRY TO INDUSTRY RELIEF...
When the enormous Katrina related damage to the Gulf Coast fishing industry became apparent, my office and Alaska's fishing community immediately began working to find a way for Alaska fishermen, processors and others to help their colleagues recover. I'm happy to serve as the honorary chairman of a new charity dedicated to Gulf Coast fishery relief efforts, AFIRM - Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission Inc. AFIRM's advisors include distinguished representatives of fishing industries and policymakers.
AFIRM's intention is to work with appropriate agencies in the affected area to determine how best to accomplish our goals and to direct assistance where it will do the greatest good for the Gulf fishing industry. Please visit www.akgulfhelp.org for more information.
MEDICARE DRUG BENEFITS NOW AVAILABLE...
Seniors on Medicare can now begin registering for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Options range from plans that offer more coverage than Medicare's standard drug benefit to stand alone plans that meet specific medical and financial needs to plans that provide coverage through preferred pharmacies. The new prescription drug plans may not be for everyone but, for many people on Medicare, signing up for coverage may significantly reduce monthly prescription drug costs.
The initial signup period has now begun and ends May 15, 2006.
To signup or obtain more information visit:
Visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ON RECORD
The Department of Justice officially declared its position in favor of splitting the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week. In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Assistant Attorney General William Moschella stated that the Department "favors legislation that would improve the administration of justice by providing for additional Federal judgeships and by splitting the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Department believes that dividing the Ninth Circuit would improve the administration of justice at the Federal level in the States located within that Circuit."
I applaud the decision of the Department to go on record in support of a split and look forward to continuing to work on this issue.