Mike Crapo

Washington DNR

Lawmakers from Idaho and Oregon say they are renewing efforts to change the way the country pays to fight catastrophic wildfires, arguing that agencies should be using natural disaster dollars rather than money set aside for fire prevention.

Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon announced Wednesday that they are getting ready to pitch bipartisan legislation to Congress this fall.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo from Idaho has announced that he will be running for his fourth consecutive term in the Senate in 2016.

The Idaho Republican has represented the Gem State in the U.S. Senate since 1998. He was re-elected in 2010 with 71 percent of the vote after running unopposed in 2004.

Crapo said in a prepared statement that he will continue to fight for the Idaho's conservative values in Washington.

At least five prominent female Idaho attorneys who applied for the U.S. District Court bench opening haven't been interviewed by the state's two U.S. senators while four men who applied for the job have.

The Spokesman Review reports in a story on Tuesday that U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, U.S. Magistrate Candy Dale and Boise attorney Terri Pickens Manweiler are among the attorneys who say they completed questionnaires made available by Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

Some sportsmen's groups and conservationists say they're frustrated with votes by both of Idaho's Republican senators on a budget resolution the groups say is a first step to federal land transfer or sale.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted late last month to establish a procedure for selling, exchanging or transferring to the states federal lands.

The Basin School District in rural south-central Idaho has something most districts in the state don't: preschool. But now that's at risk because of federal funding cuts.

It's not alone: Sparsely populated school districts and counties covered in federal forest lands will have less money this year — $250 million less — because Congress allowed the Secure Rural Schools Act to expire.

Since Idaho doesn't have public preschool, schools that want to offer it have to find creative ways to pay for the program — state money isn't an option.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

During a two-day visit to Idaho, U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James met with Idaho's congressional and state leadership about the future of the A-10 fighter jet.

The aircraft – which has supported combat ground missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the 1970s – is the sole mission of the Idaho Air National Guard at Boise's Gowen Field. The Air Force has slated the A-10 to be replaced by the F-35, a more multi-purpose military plane that will cut costs.

Mike Crapo
U.S. Senate

A bill to renew federal subsidies to timber counties has been filed in the Senate.

The Secure Rural Schools program made up for federal timber revenues that declined as environmental protections reduced national forest logging, but it expired last year. Efforts to renew it failed in the lame-duck session of Congress.

The latest version was filed Thursday by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo.

Donald Sandquist / Flickr Creative Commons

In a survey released by Republican Sen. Mike Crapo's office a third of more than 1,000 Idaho veterans who responded say they're unhappy with health care through the Veterans Administration.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate in January. That could mean more influence for Idaho’s two Republican senators.

When a new party takes control, each of the Senate’s 20 committees and 68 subcommittees get a new leader. Sarah Binder studies Congress at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. She describes it as a big round of musical chairs. Binder says heading a Congressional committee brings power.

U.S. Forest Service

 A slow wildfire season in the U.S. means the Forest Service won’t have to dip into other parts of its budget to cover firefighting expenses. The federal government’s fiscal year ends Tuesday. It’s the first time in three years the agency’s firefighting allotment will cover actual costs.

The Forest Service exceeded its firefighting budget by $505 million last summer, and $440 million the year before.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the United States must adapt all types of energy production to help minimize the negative impacts of global warming.

Moniz spoke in front of a crowded room in Idaho Falls Wednesday at the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit. Idaho congressmen Jim Risch, Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson also spoke during the conference.

Moniz says the United States isn't shunning coal or oil energy sources, but instead, officials are finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

Mike Crapo

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo says he will seek re-election in 2016.

In making the announcement Friday in Lewiston, the 63-year-old Republican says he's committed to resolving a number of critical issues to the country.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Crapo was elected to the Senate in 1998 to succeed Sen. Dirk Kempthorne. He is serving the fourth year of his third term and is ranked 39th in seniority in the Senate.

Courtesy of the Bergdahl family

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived at a military hospital in Texas Friday to continue his recovery process. There has been no shortage of strong opinions about the release of the former POW, except among Idaho's Congressional delegation. The two senators and two congressmen from Bergdahl's home state have largely avoided the national fray.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A coalition of Congressional Democrats and Republicans gathered in Boise Monday to tout a proposal that would change the way the federal government pays for firefighting operations in the West and beyond.   

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to create a new way to pay for battling wildfires that prevents the diversion of money intended to reduce the size of such fires.

Lawmakers from Oregon and Idaho met with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday to discuss the budget reform.

President Obama's proposed budget seeks a change in the long-standing method of funding the fight against the most catastrophic wildfires.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s senators Tuesday sided with a majority of their colleges to pass the revamped farm bill. It now goes to President Obama for a signature. Both Idaho senators had said they were undecided in the days leading up to the vote.

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

Idaho’s Republican delegation in the U.S. House voted early Wednesday in favor of the new farm bill. Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Mike Simpson cast votes in favor of the legislation, which cuts more than $8 billion in food stamp spending while ending a direct subsidy to crop farmers. It also expands crop insurance programs backed by the federal government.

Boise National Forest

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo says he expects wildfire funding legislation he introduced just before Christmas to get bipartisan support in Washington.

Crapo and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the legislation on December 19. If approved, it would bolster funding for the U.S. Forest Service.

At issue is the agency’s firefighting budget, which is regularly exhausted before a wildfire season ends. Funds from other parts of the agency’s budget are then used to cover additional costs. That money often comes from fire prevention budgets, which can make future fires worse.

Mike Crapo
U.S. Senate

Idaho's Republican Sen. Mike Crapo said Wednesday that he has not consumed alcohol since his arrest last December near Washington, D.C.

Crapo was arrested in northern Virginia on December 23, 2012 after he was pulled over for running a red light. A test showed Crapo’s blood alcohol content was .11, an amount above the legal limit.

Cliff1066 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Republican U.S. senators both voted against a bipartisan budget deal that now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch on Tuesday opposed the plan that passed 67-33.

Like Crapo and Risch, all those against the measure were from the Senate's minority GOP side.

The deal marked a modest congressional accomplishment at the end of a year punctuated by a partial government shutdown, a near-default by the U.S. Treasury and congressional gridlock on issues ranging from immigration to gun control.