Articles & Op-eds


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska's senators offer support, criticism of Obama's energy plan

FAIRBANKS - President Obama's comments about energy earlier this week have split Alaska's senators. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. "can't overnight convert to an all-solar, all-wind economy," but he said investment in clean energy will be key to economic growth in the 21st century. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, took the opportunity to write the president a letter emphasizing the importance of an Alaska natural gas pipeline in producing cleaner energy for the country. "I kn… Continue Reading


The Hill: Alaska senators press White House on energy

Alaska's senators both criticized President Obama's energy policy this week - one gently, the other, not so much. Sen. Mark Begich (D), in a letter to Obama Tuesday, urged him to "reconsider" proposals in the fiscal year 2011 budget request that would repeal billions of dollars in tax incentives for oil producers. The oil industry is a major part of Alaska's economy. "These important incentives have been part of our tax code for decades, and their repeal threatens American jobs and domestic en… Continue Reading


Politico: Snow freezes legislative action

A winter that could turn out to be the snowiest in Washington history is having a serious impact on Capitol Hill, where the last legislative week before Congress's winter break could be lost as a second large snowstorm looms. The House canceled votes for Tuesday. And even though the Senate, as of late Monday, planned to hold votes Tuesday, only three of the Senate's 100 lawmakers showed up at a brief session Monday after the weekend's 2-foot snowstorm forced lawmakers to scrap Monday votes. Amo… Continue Reading


Roll Call: Snow? What Snow?

Those Alaskans sure are rugged types. Not only was the office of GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski "fully staffed" bright and early Monday morning despite the thick layer of snow blanketing Washington, but the gang of hardy souls was doing a little snow trash talking. "We don't take snow days," boasts Michael Brumas, Murkowski's communications director. Take that, silly blizzard. The dozen or more Murkowski-ites trekked in from the far-away 'burbs and nearby neighborhoods, unhindered by what in Alaskan… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: President’s budget proposal gets mixed reviews from Alaska Senators

President Obama's proposed 3.8 trillion dollar budget for the next fiscal year was unveiled today (Monday) in Washington. It includes hits for Alaska programs, but some benefits as well. You can listen to the audio here. # # #… Continue Reading


Ketchikan Daily News: Murkowski warns: Carbon rules could hurt

Visiting Ketchikan on Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski warned that many small businesses could see negative effects from potential federal Clean Air Act regulations for curbing carbon emissions. Sen. Lisa Murkowski Murkowski's effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing regulations to limit the discharge of greenhouse gases was one of several subjects addressed by the Alaska Republican with local media Friday morning. Murkowski described the highly charged partisan atmosphe… Continue Reading


Ketchikan Daily News: Senator talks health care

Health care dominated a discussion Friday between Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and members of the Ketchikan Young Professionals Network. The lunchtime conversation started with a brief statement from Murkowski, who then asked what issues concerned the approximately 20 audience members. The first question was about ensuring quality health care for all the veterans coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Murkowski agreed that the number of veterans is growing, and at 18 percent, Ala… Continue Reading


Ketchikan Daily News: Intertie completion celebrated

Ketchikan's Ted Ferry Civic Center was a who's who in Alaska politics Friday night, with at least 200 people gathered to celebrate the completion of the Swan-Tyee hydroelectric intertie. Among those attending the party were Sen. Lisa Murkowski, representatives from the offices of Sen. Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young, legislators from throughout the state, former lawmakers, officials from Ketchikan, Saxman, Petersburg, Wrangell and Metlakatla; and representatives from the Alaska Energy Authority,… Continue Reading


KSRM Radio: Senators React to State of the Union Address

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski felt President Barack Obama connected on a few of the issues important to everyone with his State of the Union speech on Wednesday night. Some of those issues involved jobs, the strength of the economy and spending. However, she was concerned that the President still supports the current health care reform bill. She had hoped that the President would ask Congress to go back to the drawing board with the health care reform issue. Senator Murkowski was pleased that Pre… Continue Reading


KTUU: Congressional delegates, local parties, react to State of the Union

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - In his first State of the Union Address, President Obama promised more focus on jobs. But he pointed a finger at Republicans and admitted he's inspired doubt among those who trusted him to change Washington. After the address, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was surprised that Obama asked senators to take another look at his healthcare proposal. "To ask us to go back to a proposal that is a $2.5 trillion proposal, increases premiums, increases taxes, cuts to Medicare of about… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: State's delegates share thoughts

Here's how Alaska congressional delegation reacted to the State of the Union address: • Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski: "I think it was important that the president in his words tonight really tried to convey an understanding and appreciation as to where this country is, where families are, what their anxieties, their angst and their concerns (are). For months now, the Democratic conference and the president, the administration, have been so focused on health care, health care, health car… Continue Reading


Homer Tribune: Murkowski explains healthcare views

Efforts to shape the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the name of the new healthcare plan under debate in Congress, continue with hundreds of amendments. Eighty six of those were written by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski's amendments were to address the following: a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee healthcare bill to ensure that Alaska Natives would be able to participate in the healthcare grant programs included in the HELP bill; that Medicare patients c… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Stricken oil tanker approved to sail after making repairs

by By Elizabeth Bluemink. Originally published by the Anchorage Daily News on January 18, 2010

The Exxon tanker that briefly lost power in state waters Sunday while carrying more than 25 million gallons of crude oil has quickly become a poster child for pending federal legislation to beef up protection for Prince William Sound oil shipments. Two tugs escorting the 832-foot SeaRiver Kodiak through the Sound towed it to safety on Sunday morning. The tanker now is en route to San Francisco. The towing was precautionary, said Joel Kennedy, maritime operations project manager for the Prince … Continue Reading


KTUU: Most Alaskans against health care reform, poll says

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- With Democrats' ability to pass health care reform on the line in a U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts, a recent poll here in Alaska shows that more than half of Alaskans want their congressional delegation to vote against the legislation. According to a poll completed by Dittman Research the last week of December, 64 percent of Alaskans expect their health costs to increase, and 60 percent say they expect the quality of their care to decline if the health care p… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Begich, Murkowski question contractor rule on health care

Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski have both sent letters to U.S. Senate leaders asking that a provision that puts a mandate on small construction companies that would not apply to other small firms be changed in the health care bill. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would not face the mandates that larger companies would under the health bill. But an amendment was inserted last month to say that construction businesses would only be exempt if they have five or fewer employees.The New … Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Sen. Murkowski is optimistic after Afghan tour

FAIRBANKS - Sen. Lisa Murkowski returned from a trip to Afghanistan last week with an unexpected sense of optimism about the future of the troubled country. Murkowski said she was encouraged to see more responsibility being taken by the Afghan army and police in securing the country. A surge in recruitment efforts makes her think the Afghan people believe their government is destined to succeed. The positive reports come from a battlefield that has proved stubborn for the U.S. military in the … Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: Murkowski goes to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski joined Republican lawmakers in meetings with leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan over the weekend, according to Murkowski's office. The delegation, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Razi Gilani on Friday and traveled to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, according to Murkowski. The talks focused on political, economic and military issues, Murkowski's office said. On S… Continue Reading


Anchorage Daily News: After trip, Murkowski sees some progress in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- Over the weekend, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, walked through a bazaar in Garmsir, a town in Afghanistan's unstable Helmand province. That she was able to do it was remarkable, said Murkowski, who returned this week from a whirlwind, 15,000-mile journey with three other Republican senators through 15 times zones and one war zone. The senators walked through the village with Marines, but the protection for the village was the local police force, Murkowski said. "That was who was… Continue Reading


Alaska Public Radio Network: Murkowski: More Troops in Afghanistan Paying Off

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says she believes the troop surge in Afghanistan will be effective, although it will likely cost more American casualties. Alaska's senior Senator returned from a brief visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday She and three other Republican members of Congress went on the five-day trip at the invitation of the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Murkowski says they saw evidence that President Obama's recent decision to boost troops in Afghanista… Continue Reading


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaskans question what effect health care reform would have on state

FAIRBANKS - The two chambers of Congress have yet to ink final plans for remaking the country's health care system, but state leaders have long been wondering how the final product will treat Alaska. In particular, questions have sprouted about a proposed tax on high-priced, generous insurance policies. The tax would apply to the price of insurance premiums, which are high in Alaska, and is one leg of the plan to finance other sections of reform. Sen. Mark Begich, who generally supported the S… Continue Reading

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