February News Letter Senator Dan Sullivan - P.O.W. Report

Monday, February 18, 2019

February News Letter Senator Dan Sullivan

Dear Alaskan,
Like many of you, I’m relieved that the partial government shutdown is over and that our federal employees in Alaska who went without pay will soon be receiving a paycheck.
Shutting down the federal government was not the best way to bring in a New Year, nor the 116th Congress, but I’m hopeful that congressional leadership can come to an agreement soon that includes funds for border security and begins to tackle the broader immigration issue.
The new Congress may have begun on a divisive note, but I don’t believe that such divisiveness needs to continue. President Trump certainly hit a unifying and positive tone in his recent State of the Union, highlighting America's significant achievements and milestones of the past century and imploring members of Congress to choose greatness. You can see more of my thoughts on the speech by clicking here.
I believe the new Congress presents opportunities for continuing bipartisan successes to address issues that are impacting Alaskans and all Americans: cleaning up our oceans, combating sexual abuse and domestic violence, and getting more resources to the states to stem the addiction crisis.
In the past few years, we’ve achieved many successes working in a bipartisan manner, including the following:

Image  The Save Our Seas (SOS) Act

In October, the president signed the SOS Act, a bill to help clean up our oceans that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and I authored. The new law boosts the federal government’s domestic and international response to ocean waste, and empowers the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to declare severe marine debris emergencies and authorize additional funds to states, like Alaska, for clean-up and response efforts. It also directs the U.S. State Department to undertake negotiations with other countries to address the ocean debris crisis internationally.

With hundreds of thousands of tons of debris estimated to be floating on the ocean’s surface, this matter is urgent and threatens the well-being of our citizens and coastal communities – and for Alaskans, the sustainability of our world-class fisheries. In this new Congress, I’m working with Senator Whitehouse and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle on Save Our Seas 2.0, which would build even more
international momentum behind combating the global challenge of marine debris.  

Image The POWER Act

Far too many women in our state, and across the country, are assaulted or sexually abused. Roughly 25 percent of American women will be victims of domestic assault in their lifetime. Every day in our country, three women are killed by a current or former partner. In Alaska, this abuse is even more prevalent. There are no simple solutions, but experts agree that securing a lawyer for victims is the best way to help get them out of their situation. The "Pro Bono Work to Empower and Represent" (POWER) Act, which I authored and which was recently signed into law by the President, will help provide much-needed legal assistance to victims and survivors to help break the cycle of abuse. My hope is that the law will help create an army of lawyers to defend victims and survivors of abuse. In this new Congress, I will be working with my Democratic colleagues on a bill that would bring the promise of Alaska’s Choose Respect initiative to the whole country, devoting more resources to awareness and education, and expanding legal representation.

Image Combating the Addiction Crisis

ImageCombating the opioid and addiction crisis plaguing so many of our communities in Alaska and across the country is also an area for bipartisan cooperation. Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have awoken to this challenge and have worked together to pass significant legislation that will bring billions of dollars to the states—as well as critical funds for our rural communities and Native health organizations—to provide treatment and strengthen enforcement efforts. This work with continue in the new Congress.
Although there are many opportunities to do good work together, the new Democratic majority in the House will likely try to overturn some of the successes we've had in the past few years.
Many House members have been ardently opposed to resource development in our state, including the legislation that we passed to open the 1002 area of ANWR and the Interior Department’s goal of holding a lease sale in 2019. They have opposed giving Alaskans access to more lands—like the life-saving road that connects King Cove to Cold Bay. They have been against the tax bill that we passed, which will allow many middle class Alaskans to see bigger paychecks and incentivize our main-street businesses to reinvest here in Alaska, and help get us out of a recession.
Some have also opposed significant increases in funding for our military and our Coast Guard. After years of cuts, I believe that such increases are absolutely necessary as we face more global threats.
ImageMembers of the new majority will likely hold hearings to try to undermine these successes, particularly as it relates to resource development in our state. To be clear, all three of us—Congressman Young, Senator Murkowski and I—will fight to make sure that they aren’t successful.
As we move forward into the new Congress, there will be challenges, both old and new. But there will also be opportunities. Let’s work together to seize them!
Senator Dan Sullivan

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