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News from Senator Begich; May 20, 2013: Begich Sponsors Legislation to Increase Development, Criticizes IRS for Playing Politics


Begich Sponsors Legislation to Increase Development, Criticizes IRS for Playing Politics

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.

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Senator Mark Begich



Moving Anchorage forward - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich met with Anchorage officials, including Mayor Dan Sullivan, in his Senate office to discuss priorities for transportation, port projects, education and other matters of importance to the municipality.



Upcoming Events

May 25, 2013
Kodiak Crab Festival

May 27, 2013
12:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Annual Memorial Day Service
Fort Richardson National Cemetery

May 28, 2013
8:00 a.m. (Alaska)
Casey Reynolds Show

June 7, 2013
4:00 p.m. (Alaska)
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
Centennial Hall

June 8, 2013
Kenai River Festival

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Begich Strengthens Military Sexual Assault Prosecution Process

Sen. Begich has co-sponsored legislation to strengthen prosecution of sexual assault crimes in the military. "Both in Alaska and nationally, the current situation is completely unacceptable," Begich said. "We need to move quickly to fix it and make sure our military men and women are protected." Specifically, the bill removes the authority of commanders to overturn or lessen court-martial verdicts in sexual assault cases, requires justification for changes in court-martial sentences by a commander, and removes the military chain-of-command from determining whether sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

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Kuspuks in the Capitol - Sen. Begich was happy to catch students from Jack Egnaty Senior School in Sleetmute on their way back from a tour of the U.S. Capitol.

Conserving our Coasts - The Center for Coastal Conservation awarded Sen. Begich the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Begich Calls for Eliminating Wasteful Government Spending

On learning that federal agencies are essentially throwing taxpayer money away by spending $890,000 annually to maintain 13,000 empty bank accounts, Sen. Begich called on the Office of Management and Budget to put an end to this wasteful practice . "I know that $890,000 may not seem like much to some folks here in Washington, but it is this kind of careless spending that angers American taxpayers—and rightly so," said Begich. "I’m glad I could highlight these wasteful accounts and push the administration to fix this misuse of taxpayer dollars. In the coming weeks I will look for more ways to cut the budget and the deficit."

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Killer Whale - Sen. Begich received a Tlingit red cedar war paddle with a killer whale handle and an eagle on the blade from the Sealaska Corporation.

"The Secretary of Fish" – Sen. Begich met with Secretary of Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker to discuss the importance of sound fisheries management and Arctic development.

Begich Stands up for Seniors, Announces Plan to Make Social Security Fair and Dependable

Sen. Begich introduced his three-point plan to strengthen Social Security at a roundtable discussion with Alaska organizations that are likely to feel the effects of President Obama’s recent budget proposal to cut Social Security benefits. "There are responsible ways to cut the budget without hurting our seniors. Let’s be clear – Social Security is not the problem," said Sen. Begich. Begich's plan seeks to replace the current system for calculating cost-of-living adjustments to more accurately reflect the cost-of-living for seniors, lift the cap on high-income contributions, and repeal provisions that unfairly penalize workers.

This week's website features
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Begich Minute: Brewing Up Jobs in Alaska During Craft Beer Week

Begich to DOD: No Domestic BRAC Proposals without Approval

Highlighting the important economic contributions of small brewers to Alaska and the entire country, Sen. Begich hosted Kodiak Island Brewing Company brewer and manager Ben MIllstein last week during the Small Craft Brewers meeting in the U.S. Capitol. Millstein then joined Begich in this week’s Begich Minute.

Sen. Begich grilled representatives from the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of the Navy on domestic base re-alignment and closure (BRAC) during a Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

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