Liz Ruskin, APRN
lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Liz
Secretary of State John Kerry today named former Coast Guard commandant Robert J. Papp Jr. as special representative to the Arctic. Kerry created the new position to elevate Arctic issues in America’s foreign policy and national security strategy as the U.S. prepares to assume the chair of the Arctic Council.
A U.S. Senate bill requiring companies to cover birth control in employee healthcare plans failed a procedural vote today . Both Alaska senators voted for the bill, aimed at undoing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of only three Republicans to vote for the measure, dubbed the “Not My Boss’s Business Act.”
The CEO of Kotzebue-based Maniilaq Association on Tuesday urged a U.S. House subcommittee to pass a bill that would provide advance funding for the Indian Health Service.
In the U.S. Senate race, it appears Republican candidate Dan Sullivan is sustaining his fundraising momentum.
A bill to ensure hunters have access to federal land was blocked in the U.S. Senate today, even though nearly half the Senate had co-sponsored it. Sen. Lisa Murkowski , who crafted the bill, was spitting nails after it was derailed. It’s the latest round of an ongoing fight over whether to allow amendments – in this case, amendments about gun control – on the Senate floor.
Some people go into politics for prestige, some for power. Talk to Mead Treadwell for a while and it’s clear, he just loves policy. This is the first in a series about the three Republicans vying for the chance to challenge Sen. Mark Begich in November.
Senator Mark Begich today joined other Democrats in sponsoring a bill that would make it illegal for a company to deny employees certain health benefits, including birth control, if they are required to be covered by federal health care law.
A U.S. Senator from Missouri is continuing her crackdown on the advantages Alaska Native Corporations enjoy in government contracting.
In a recent presentation in Washington, D.C., Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell spoke of the need to stay on neighborly terms with Russia. It’s caused a bit of a ruckus. Dan Sullivan, Treadwell’s rival in the GOP primary for U.S Senate, issued an email yesterday saying Treadwell attended a “pro-Putin rally,” echoing the words of an anti-Russian columnist who denounced the conference where Treadwell spoke.
A bill moving through the U.S. Senate has $6 million for a new Coast Guard icebreaker. That would make three years in a row of small appropriations for the ship, projected to cost nearly a billion dollars. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is on a mission to get Congress and the Administration to make Arctic issues a bigger priority.
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell on Friday signed a bill to finance a $900 million bridge across Knik Arm. A decade ago, bridge proponents hoped to fund the project entirely with federal earmarks. But then Congress banned earmarks, in part due to public outrage over this bridge and another in Ketchikan, both derided nationally as “bridges to nowhere.” Now, the Knik project all depends on winning a low-interest from a federal program known as TIFIA.
Governor Sean Parnell on Friday signed a bill to finance a $900 million bridge across Knik Arm, from Anchorage to Point McKenzie. Bridge proponents originally wanted to fund the project entirely with federal earmarks. But then Congress banned earmarks, in part due to public outrage over this bridge and another in Ketchikan, both derided nationally as “bridges to nowhere.” The new Knik bridge plan is contingent on low-interest loans from the federal government.
The House Ethics Committee today issued a letter of reprimand to Alaska Congressman Don Young for spending campaign money on trips to hunting lodges and improperly accepting gifts, many of them from lobbyists and related to travel.
The U.S. House Ethics Committee today issued a letter of reproval to Alaska Congressman Don Young for accepting multiple hunting trips as gifts in violation of the House Gift Rule. The committee says he should repay $59,000 for gifts and expenses related to 15 hunting trips between 2001 and 2013.
In Congress today, a bill that would allow foreign students to work in Alaska fish processing plants cleared a major committee. The provision is part of a spending bill now headed to the Senate floor. Both Alaska senators say they pressed for the return of the J-1 visa program to help meet demand for seasonal seafood processors. But, the program is controversial.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today the government is sending $28.5 million to local governments in Alaska to compensate them for the tax-exempt federal land within their boundaries. It’s called “Payment-in-lieu of taxes” and this year’s total is $2 million higher than last year.
President Obama announced today he intends to vastly expand the Pacific Remote Islands marine sanctuary, putting a swath of the south-central Pacific off-limits to fishing and energy development. The announcement is part of a high-profile oceans conference taking place this week at the State Department. Australian scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg focused on ocean acidification, which he says undermines the entire marine food chain – from plankton and shellfish to bowhead whales.