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News from Senator Begich; February 3, 2014



February 3, 2014

Senator Pushes Alaska Priorities Through Senate

After months of unnecessary partisan posturing, I am proud to announce that the Senate has made important progress on critical issues like protecting homeowners against steep flood insurance hikes and passing the long-delayed Farm Bill.

And just last month, the Senate passed the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act to fund key federal programs and projects and create thousands of jobs across the nation. Even as I fight to reduce the deficit and cut waste from federal spending, I am also using my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure Alaska's priorities are protected and that we receive our fair share of federal investment dollars.

I am pleased to protect Alaska's priorities such as salmon recovery and marine debris removal, mental health services, harbors and infrastructure around the state, contract support costs for tribal health services and rural projects like improvement to water and wastewater systems.

Last week, the Senate approved a national flood insurance bill which provides Alaskans welcome relief from the steep increases in flood insurance costs that have threatened to push some homeowners out of their homes. I fought these steep increases because we must protect Alaska residents in coastal and flood-prone communities from the devastating financial impact of these cost increases.

Looking forward, the Senate is scheduled to slash wasteful subsidies, save taxpayers billions of dollars, and prevent the federal government from pushing new, unnecessary regulations onto Alaska when we take up the Farm Bill. I was able to include many Alaska priorities in this measure, including one that recognizes the nutritional and cultural value of Alaska Native subsistence traditions.

I was also able to make a quick trip home over the weekend, with stops in Fairbanks and Anchorage to meet with volunteer fire-fighters, Wal-Mart employees, and speak to several conferences including a statewide Subsistence Summit organized by the Alaska Federation of Natives.

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Senator Mark Begich



Repeal the COLA cuts – Sen. Begich joined the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America CEO Paul Rieckhoff to call for a complete restoration of COLA cuts to veterans' benefits.



Upcoming Events

March 1, 2014
10:00 a.m. (Alaska)
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race start
Anchorage: 4th Avenue and D Street

March 1, 2014
4:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Fur Rendezvous Alaska Hold'em Tournament of Champions
Anchorage: Egan Center

March 3, 2014
11:00 a.m. (Alaska)
Address to the Alaska Legislature
Juneau: State Capitol

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Keystone Pipeline Report Contains Good News

Senator Begich welcomed news that the Keystone XL pipeline environmental impact statement (EIS) did not reveal any significant environmental concerns. "After years of waiting, we are another critical step closer to building the Keystone XL pipeline," said Begich. "The EIS confirms what Alaskans already know -- there are ways to safely and responsibly diversify our domestic energy supply. The Keystone XL pipeline is a common sense project that offers a secure supply of energy from a trusted ally, creates much-needed jobs and an overall boost to our economy."

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Traveling through the Interior – Sen. Begich traveled to Ester over the weekend to meet with residents and listen to their concerns.

Visiting our Veterans – Sen. Begich visited with wounded veterans on Super Bowl Sunday.

Begich Demands Solutions for Alaska Mail Delays and Post Rate Increases

Senator Begich demanded an immediate meeting with the U.S. Postmaster General to find a solution to the overwhelming number of complaints about the post office his office has received. Alaskans have reported mail delays, understaffing at post offices, uncertainty surrounding post office closures, and reports of efforts to cut back Parcel Post shipping. Begich will use his clout as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service– to insist these issues be addressed immediately. "The U.S. Postal Service needs to step up, fix these problems and ensure that Alaskans have reliable mail service," said Begich.

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Showing Appreciation to Volunteers – Sen. Begich met with members of the Steese Volunteer Fire Department on Super Bowl Sunday.

No Pebble Mine Town Hall – Sen. Begich called into a No Pebble Mine Town Hall, hosted by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Trout Unlimited, Bristol Bay United, and Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.

Senator Joins Veterans Group to Fight for Repeal of Military Retirement Cuts

Senator Begich joined veterans, military families and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to call for total repeal of the military retirement cuts included in last month's budget. "We shouldn't be balancing this budget on the backs of our military men and women who have served and sacrificed for this country," said Begich. "I will continue to fight for the benefits that service members, veterans and their families deserve.

This week's website features
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Protecting Veteran Rights

Begich Puts Alaska Back on the Map

Begich joined the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America group to call for a complete restoration of COLA cuts.

In this week's Begich Minute, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich details one his pet peeves: Maps that don't include Alaska.

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