Barrasso discusses Iran, Planned Parenthood
By John Barrasso, M.D.
While the nuclear agreement with Iran dominated the headlines in July, it’s just one of the many pressing issues debated this month in the US Senate. We passed a long-term highway bill, advanced broad bipartisan energy legislation important to Wyoming’s economy and introduced a bill to address the taxpayer funding of abortion services.
Congress Begins Debate on Iran Nuclear Deal
The Senate started the review process for the recently released nuclear agreement with Iran. Any agreement with Iran must protect the American people and our allies while preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I’ve been involved in multiple hearings regarding the agreement with Iran.
After reviewing this agreement, it’s clear that it falls short. In fact, this deal does not take away Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon— it just delays it for a short period of time while giving Iran access to over $100 billion. They will likely use part of this money to support terrorism. Before we vote in September, Congress will continue to take a very close look at this agreement to ensure it protects the American people’s security— not the president’s political legacy.
Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill
On July 30th, the Senate passed a fiscally responsible, bipartisan transportation bill to address our country’s transportation infrastructure challenges for the next 6 years. It provides long-term funding for state and local governments to improve our roads, bridges and other transportation projects. The bill also ensures the unique transportation needs of both rural and urban communities are equally addressed. As a member of the committee who helped write the bill, I was able to include provisions that provide flexibility and regulatory relief for rural states like Wyoming, as well as communities across Indian Country. Now this bill will head to the House of Representatives for consideration this fall.
Bipartisan Energy Bill Advances with LNG Exports, Helium Provisions
The Senate Energy Committee passed a broad bipartisan energy bill this month that will go a long way in modernizing our nation’s energy policies. Part of the bill includes my bipartisan legislation to speed up the review process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. In addition to expanding markets for Wyoming gas, LNG exports will create jobs, reduce our nation’s trade deficit and strengthen the energy security of key U.S. allies who are eager to buy America’s natural gas.
The energy bill also includes an amendment I introduced that will increase opportunities for Wyoming’s helium producers. Wyoming is home to half of the nation’s helium reserves. Nearly all of this helium is located on federal land. My amendment makes it easier for these projects to move forward by directing federal agencies to prioritize environmental reviews for helium projects.
Bill to Redirect Planned Parenthood Funding
The country was shocked this month with the recent release of graphic and appalling videos that show Planned Parenthood executives discussing in gruesome detail the organization’s role in the harvesting and selling of fetal tissue. In response, I cosponsored a bill that redirects federal funding from Planned Parenthood, a partially taxpayer-funded organization. The money will go to other organizations and community health centers that provide women’s health care. This bill will ensure funding for women’s health is protected while preventing further taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood.
Wyoming Comes to Washington
Laramie’s Madeline Moreno, Lyman’s Brianna Turner, Cheyenne’s Colter Heckman and Rock Springs’ Steve Anselmi-Stith were in town this month representing Wyoming at the American Legion Girls and Boys Nation conference. All four students were selected to attend this prestigious week long leadership conference through their involvement in Wyoming Boys State and Girls State.
Members of the Wyoming Nurses Association from Sheridan, Powell and Gillette also visited the Senate. We had a great discussion about legislation I co-sponsored called the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act. This bill will make it easier for nurse practitioners to provide home health services for our nation’s seniors.
In August, Congress recesses and I’ll be criss-crossing the state. I hope to see you in person soon.