senator john barrasso

Stephanie Joyce

Every four years the federal government is required to release a report on the world’s changing climate and this year's was the most comprehensive report since Congress mandated it. It states there’s “no convincing alternative explanation” to climate change other than that humans are the cause. The report is the work of more than a dozen federal agencies, but Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the political appointees in the Trump administration have buried their heads in tar sands.

Bob Beck

The EPA’s announcement that it’s rolling back an Obama-era rule to expand regulations on the nation’s waters and streams is being cheered by Wyoming lawmakers who now are offering input on how to rewrite it.

Farmers and ranchers across Wyoming were up in arms over the regulation commonly referred to as the Waters of the U.S. rule. It would have expanded the scope of what the EPA and other federal agencies regulate, which had many fearing the government would be monitoring dry stream beds and puddles. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso praised the move.

U.S. Forest Service

Forest fires have dominated headlines in much of the west this summer. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Senate Environment Committee and this week held a hearing on a string of bills that proponents say will help keep those catastrophic wildfires at bay.

To Barrasso and a bipartisan group of senators, the problem is clear: Catastrophic wildfires are manmade, well more precisely, made by the inaction of man and all the red tape of environmentalists.

Matt Laslo

Wyoming’s senators are supporting a massive bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system next week.

The new GOP health bill eliminates the mandate that every American must have health insurance and it ends the Obamacare subsidies that help many Wyomingites afford insurance. The new proposal does maintain some taxes under the Affordable Care Act but then sends that money back to the states as a block grant, which Wyoming Senator John Barrasso likes. 

Wyoming’s lawmakers just returned to Washington after a summer break that President Trump urged the Senate to cut short to take up more of his agenda. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on what Wyoming lawmakers think they can accomplish this fall.

(NPS Photo/ Tim Rains)

The Endangered Species Act has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the act was intended to highlight the “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” But Wyoming Senator John Barrasso says it needs updating.

“The Endangered Species Act was written, created and adopted for all the right reasons and there’s just too much sand in the gears right now.”

Barrasso says the Act creates too many hoops and hurdles.

Bob Beck

As the Senate health insurance reform effort remains on life support, Wyoming’s two senators are pushing their Republican colleagues to get on board with the effort.

Senator John Barrasso literally burned the midnight oil on Wednesday when he invited a large group of Republican senators into his office for last minute negotiations on their party’s health insurance reform plan. Barrasso emerged late and was the last to address the thirty or so reporters who huddled outside for hours.  

Stephanie Joyce

Newly minted Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke just took a massive step towards streamlining the permitting process for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Wyoming lawmakers love the move, but Democrats fear it’s a dangerous first step down a slippery slope.   

By United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg: Architect of the Capitolderivative work: O.J. - United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17800708

Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators have been at the center of their party’s effort to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, and they’re still optimistic they can pass a bill when they return to Washington after their July Fourth recess. Some have been critical of their work, mostly because Republicans have been negotiating their health insurance bill behind closed doors after holding no hearings on it this year. 

Public Domain

President Trump desperately wants a major legislative victory, which is why he held a Rose Garden ceremony with House Republicans after only their chamber passed an overhaul of Obamacare – a bill he later told Republican senators was “mean.”

But Trump and his agenda remain bogged down by the Russian investigation and he keeps distracting Congress with tweets that Republican leaders have tried to get him to stop sending out. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney says Trump needs to rise above.

Volunteers carrying toads down to Mortenson Lake
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Endangered Species Act is threatened. Or at least facing significant reform. Momentum in Congress and in western states is building to make changes to the landmark regulation that protects threatened animal and plant species and their habitats. 

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

  

President Trump unveiled his budget this week and it’s being met with mixed reactions from Wyoming lawmakers.

The president is proposing massive cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid and Meals on Wheels in order to pay for a defense buildup. He also wants to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by thirty percent, while also cutting the Interior Department’s budget by eleven percent, which critics say would cripple National Park funding.

 

Wyoming Humanities Facebook

  

President Trump's first budget proposal called for totally zeroing out federal funding for the arts and humanities, which could disproportionately hurt rural states like Wyoming.   

Last year some of that money went to a mobile museum that toured the state teaching students and adults alike about the state's heritage. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso admits that he doesn't like that the president is calling to end the program. 

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney helped her party pass a historic bill to unwind Obamacare, but its chances of passage in the Senate remain far from certain.

After House Republicans passed their bill to overturn Obamacare they walked out of the Capitol and were greeted with a few hundred protestors who were chanting shame.

But Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney was undeterred.

Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

This winter, the Upper Green River Basin has experienced seven high ozone days when the young and elderly are discouraged from spending time outdoors. Elaine Crumpley, the founder of CURED or Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development, said the Bureau of Land Management’s methane waste rule would eventually help reduce that problem of air pollution in her community.

Willow Belden

Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to repeal an Obama-era rule that would limit methane emissions on federal lands, but they're hitting a snag and this time it's coming from their fellow Republicans.

The White House

  

Many Wyoming Republicans are gushing over the vision President Donald Trump laid out in his first address to a joint session of Congress, but critics say it lacked specifics. Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

It had been eight years since a Republican had addressed the nation and the GOP loved what they heard from President Trump who says the American people are behind him.

When Congress recessed earlier this month, Senators Enzi and Barrasso and Representative Cheney all held office hours and visited communities around Wyoming – but did not hold larger public events in the state.

Bob Beck

The Republican Party hates so-called Obamacare, but when it comes to replacing the bill the party is divided over how to change the health care system.

You’ve heard about the angry protests at Republican town halls across the nation, but you may not know there’s also a heated debate happening inside closed door Republican meetings on Capitol Hill. The thirty or so member House Freedom Caucus voted as a block to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act before the party even has a replacement in hand.

Carol S. Bock

The Endangered Species Act was under Senate scrutiny Wednesday, when the Environment and Public Works Committee met to discuss how to reform the law.  

Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal attended the meeting chaired by Senator John Barrasso. Both politicians said that while the ESA is important, it needs an update, and mentioned the Western Governor’s Association’s efforts to come up with specific recommendations for reform.  

Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming’s junior senator, John Barrasso, is now chairman of the committee tasked with crafting President Donald Trump’s call for a massive infrastructure proposal. Trump wants to rebuild roads, bridges, railways and airports across the country. 

Senator Barrasso is known as a penny pinching conservative, but when it comes to transportation he thinks Washington has been the one pinching Wyoming pennies.

Stephanie Joyce

This week Congress unleashed an assault on Obama-era regulations, and Wyoming lawmakers played a big role in the effort and the new effort is angering the environmental community.

 

Ever heard of the Congressional Review Act? Me neither, that is until Wyoming’s senior Senator Mike Enzi gave me a tutorial on it.

“It’s the ability for Congress to pass a claw back on any regulation that’s pass within 45 days after the time that’s it’s published provided there are enough signatures from the House and the Senate.”

Gage Skidmore

With Republicans preparing to control the House, Senate and White House for the first time in a decade, Wyoming Republicans are moving up the ranks and will wield significant power in the coming Congress. 

Bureau of Land Management

A new rule proposed by the Bureau of Land Management could cut years off of lengthy land use planning debate. The agency said “Planning 2.0” would streamline procedures that have taken up to eight years in the past.

A major component of the initiative includes more opportunities for early public involvement, rather than later on when the agency has already spent years working on a plan.

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

Wyoming Republicans were dealt a setback in their efforts to keep sage grouse off the federal endangered species list.

House Republicans were able to include a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit the federal government from changing the conservation status of sage grouse for the next decade. But the provision was left out of the final bill when House leaders negotiated a final bill with their Senate counterparts. That didn’t sit well with members of the lower chamber.

Cynthia Lummis

Environmentalists around the West are looking hard at what a Trump administration means for issues like wildlife conservation and federal land takeovers.

National Wildlife Federation President Collin O’Mara said, on the campaign trail, Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Junior, both expressed disapproval for the idea of putting federal lands in state control.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso will take on a new leadership role in the next Congress, as chair of the Environment and Public Works committee.

The committee has oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things.

Pete Souza - Official White House Photo

  

 

With President Obama heading out of office soon, Wyoming lawmakers fear he’s preparing a slew of executive orders that could hurt the western economy.

The president has already done executive actions on everything from the energy policy to immigration. Some have been upheld by the courts, while others have been struck down. But court cases take years, and that has Republicans like Wyoming Senator John Barrasso worried that Obama is going to use his pen on the way out of office.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

You ever heard of a conference committee? Here in Washington, ‘conference committee’ is congressional speak for when senators and House members get together and try to work out the differences between their competing pieces of legislation.

Eric Barnes

In the 1960’s, Fontanelle Reservoir in southwest Wyoming was partially built to store water from the Green River for irrigation and industrial use in Western Wyoming. It was never completed, but now a bill has passed the U.S. House that would allow the state of Wyoming to finish the job.

Since the Green River is a major tributary of the Colorado, expanding the reservoir could allow as much as 100,000 more acre feet of water to be diverted from the Colorado River system.

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