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News From Senator Begich; February 28, 2011: Reduce the Deficit Without Derailing the Economy


Upcoming Events February 28, 2011
Washington d.c. Native American Youth Roundtable Discussion
Sen. Begich speaks to the Center for Native American Youth
The Aspen Institute
2:30 p.m. (Eastern)

March 3, 2011
Washington D.C. Coffee w/ Sen. Begich
Alaskans in D.C. visit with Sen. Begich
Russell Senate Office Building
Room 485
8:30 a.m. (Eastern)


March 5, 2011
Anchorage Iditarod Race Start
4th Avenue
Downtown Anchorage
10:00 a.m. (Alaska)

March 6, 2011
Anchorage Fur Rondy Alaska Hold'em Tournament of Champions
Egan Center
4:00 p.m. (Alaska)

March 9, 2011
KBBI Radio - Homer Coffee Table w/ Aaron Selbig
Sen. Begich takes questions from callers from Washington
Listen Live
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. (Alaska)

March 10, 2011
Washington d.c. Coffee w/ Sen. Begich
Alaskans in D.C. visit with Sen. Begich
Capitol Visitor Center
Room SVC 202
8:30 a.m. (Alaska)


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enewsletter_title.jpg February 28, 2011 Reduce the Deficit Without Derailing the Economy 20110228 NewsletterFortIrwin Sen. Begich visited Alaska-based troops from Fort Wainwright at Fort Irwin, CA. View more photos here.

I am hopeful Congress will avoid a shutdown of the federal government this week by agreeing to significant budget cuts while continuing to provide essential programs and services. Already, those of us in the Senate majority have agreed with President Obama to cut $41 billion from this year's federal budget, a dramatic reduction that will be felt in Alaska and across the nation. Our goal is to put federal spending on a sustainable basis while significantly reducing the crippling $14 trillion federal debt. The recent proposal from the House Republicans to cut $4 billion in two weeks is not a practical approach to reducing the size of government or investing in our economy, but merely a two-week stopgap that puts critical funding for education, public safety, and other investments in our future on the chopping block.

I had an excellent opportunity last week to visit Alaska-based troops from Fort Wainwright who are currently training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. Some 4,000 soldiers from the 1-25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team are getting ready to deploy in May to Afghanistan. I was pleased to see their training first-hand and get a sense of the troops' needs. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, this experience gives me a much better idea of how the decisions in Washington are impacting those serving our country.

Digital Signature
Senator Mark Begich

Begich Launches "Reduce the Deficit" Website Feature 20110228 BudgetVideo

In an ongoing effort to find the best ways to reduce the national deficit and find innovative ideas to curb government growth, Sen. Begich launched a feature on his website asking Alaskans for their ideas on how to cut the budget and reduce the deficit." Begich's website has a feature on the front page making it simple and easy for Alaskans to submit budget cutting and deficit reducing suggestions. Contributors are asked for basic contact information and box is provided for suggestions, some of which will be featured on the website. "I know Alaskans have great ideas - often better than many of the decision-makers in Washington - so let me hear from you," Begich said in announcing the new site.

Begich Named Chairman of Oceans Subcommittee With Alaska fisheries one of the state's leading industries, Sen. Begich was named to chair the Senate panel with prime jurisdiction over that industry and other ocean and coastal issues. Begich was named chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The subcommittee is responsible for legislation and oversight of matters impacting oceans, coasts, and climate, including: coastal zone management; marine fisheries and mammal management; ocean science, weather forecasting; and overseeing NOAA. The subcommittee also helps oversee the Coast Guard, whose responsibilities include defending America's maritime domain, protecting life at sea by regulating shipping and conducting search and rescues, and the enforcement of laws to support maritime commerce and protect marine living resources. "With Alaska fisheries such a vital part of the state's economy, producing over half the seafood landed in the nation, this is a key assignment for Alaska," Begich said. "Management of these fisheries as well as protection of the oceans and the Coast Guard's work on fisheries enforcement and search and rescue also are critical functions for our state."

United Way Walk for Warmth 20110228 WalkforWarmth

Sen. Begich and his son, Jacob, joined hundreds of Alaskans at the United Way's Walk for Warmth in Anchorage. The walk raises money for vulnerable families struggling with the cost of heating their homes.

Military Family Fun Fair 20110228 MilitaryFamilyFunFair

Sen. Begich joined military members and their families at the Military Family Fun Fair in Anchorage. Hosted by Deborah Bonito, Sen. Begich's wife, the fair provides an afternoon of family activities for military members and their families.

Begich Supports FAA Reauthorization in Senate
Defeats Amendment to End Air Service 20110228 KTVAEAS Watch news coverage of the fight to preserve the Essential Air Service for 44 Alaska communities from KTVA - Channel 11 Anchorage.

With an eye on stimulating job creation and improving aviation safety, the Senate recently voted to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. With widespread impacts on aviation in Alaska, the legislation passed with strong bipartisan support, 87-8. The bill makes significant investments in FAA programs, including $8.1 billion nationwide for the Airport Improvement Program which will create American jobs and support airport infrastructure in Alaska. The bill includes $200 million a year for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which subsidizes regular air service to rural areas throughout the country, including $12 million to support service to 44 communities in Alaska.

Sen. Begich led a group of senators to fight an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which would have repealed the EAS Program. Sen. Begich took to the Senate floor to speak on the negative impact the McCain amendment would have on rural communities in Alaska.

Begich to Introduce "STEM" Education Legislation 20110228 YouTubeEducation Learn more about Sen. Begich's STEM bill by watching news coverage from Your Alaska Link.

In his ongoing effort to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and better prepare Alaska's students for the future, Sen. Begich is reintroducing his education legislation designed to promote science, technology, engineering, and math. Speaking to the Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE), at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage last week, Begich emphasized NCLB does not work for Alaska. In speaking to the conference, Begich announced the reintroduction of The Effective STEM Teaching and Learning Act (STEM), designed to prepare American students for a global economy the STEM Act establishes competitive grants to help states develop comprehensive STEM strategies. "Graduating from high school prepared for college and careers in this new economy means having a solid grounding in STEM," Begich said. "But those subjects are not just for future scientists and engineers. A STEM education is essential preparation for all students - in order to help them succeed and keep our nation competitive."

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