The importance of ports and harbors to Alaska’s economy was underscored in the U.S. Senate last week with approval of major legislation authorizing port, navigation and flood control projects across the nation. I was pleased to see the Senate agreed to an amendment Senator Lisa Murkowski and I offered to help spur the development of a deepwater port in the Arctic.
This week, the Senate takes up the Farm Bill, to which I am proposing numerous amendments to address Alaska issues including reauthorization of the Denali Commission, banning Frankenfish and providing for rural teacher housing.
Meanwhile, the latest news about political targeting by the IRS is simply unacceptable. I’ve been monitoring the situation closely to make sure actions are taken to punish those involved and ensure this does not happen again. I believe the IRS has been given too much power to determine whether an organization is eligible for tax-exempt status.
Government should be fair - the same, clear guidelines should apply to all organizations. That’s why I’m working with senators of both political parties on legislation to prevent this type of activity from happening again. The Senate plans hearings on this matter to determine if any laws were broken. I believe resignation of the IRS’s interim director was a good first step.
I will continue to fight in the Senate for transparency and improved oversight of our taxpayer dollars.
Senator Mark Begich