senator john barrasso

U.S. Air Force

Historic church bells seized in the Philippine-American War and brought back to the Mountain West may soon head back home. But Wyoming's delegation is not happy with the possible move across the ocean.

Bank of the West logo
BNP Paribas Bank of the West

Leaders across Wyoming are criticizing Bank of the West for its recent decision to stop doing business with coal, oil or gas companies — including financing coal mines or power plants, or engaging in activities to do with mineral exploration, distribution, or marketing. The bank has 23 branches in Wyoming.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

Fires continue to burn in many parts of the west and officials are bracing for a long, grueling and even deadlier fire season than they’re used to. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Environment Committee where he oversees the nation’s forests.   

A Wyoming rig on federal land used for long directional drilling
BLM Wyoming / Bureau of Land Management


Wyoming’s lawmakers in Washington are looking for ways to decrease Russia’s influence in Europe, and they think they may be able to do it with good ole fashioned Wyoming natural resources.

Tom Koerner/USFWS via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The Trump administration is proposing sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, but they’re actually late to the party - Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has been leading the GOP effort within Congress to revamp the decades-old legislation that was set up to protect animals on the brink of extinction back in 1973. It hasn’t been reauthorized since 1992 and Barrasso wants to overhaul it.

A Jackson Republican is running a campaign on putting Wyoming first as he tries to upset incumbent U.S. Senator John Barrasso. Dave Dodson had intended to run as an Independent, because of his concerns about the current state of Republican Party. But he decided to stick with his roots and run as a Republican. 

barrasso.senate.gov

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has been a leading player in his party’s years-long effort to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare, but the GOP has failed to deliver.

Screenshot of a passage Sen. Barrasso's proposed draft legislation
Environment and Public Works Committee

U.S. Senator John Barrasso is leading an effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed draft legislation would give states more authority over endangered species.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Public Domain

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso helped craft a sweeping bipartisan bill that could go a long way to deal with Wyoming water issues.

Environmental Protection Agency

Despite the concern of others, Wyoming’s congressional delegation says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been great for the state’s industries and they don’t seem too worried about all the scandals hanging over him. 

Governor Matt Mead
Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead was in Washington for the National Governors Association Meeting and the nations opioid crisis was a central focus.

The nation is now annually witnessing as many deaths from Opioids and heroin in the nation as were lost during the entire Vietnam War. Governor Mead says policymakers have to think more broadly about the crisis. 

U.S. Capitol Building
Public Domain

Now that the government’s lights are turned back on after last weekend’s three-day shutdown, Wyoming’s lawmakers are joining a growing chorus of Republicans calling for a change to how Congress conducts its day to day business.

Bob Beck

Last year Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke infuriated Democrats when he announced intentions to cut about one third or about 4,000 people from his department. When Congress mostly rejected that plan in its funding bills, Zinke then focused more on a plan to reshape the department by moving key offices out West, to places like Denver. New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall is dubious.

“It looks to me more like a dismantling rather than a reorganization, so I’m very worried about it.”

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President Donald Trump told voters he would come to Washington and shake things up, which he surely has but not in the way many people expected. He spent much of last year frustrated that he couldn’t get much of his agenda through Congress. But he did have success unwinding regulations, especially many in the oil and gas industry. While riding the subway under the Capitol Wyoming Senator John Barrasso explains that in the New Year he’s hoping to revive a bipartisan energy bill that lawmakers have failed to get both chambers to agree on.   

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso is advising the Department of Interior to focus on Wyoming as a prime example for sage grouse management. He wrote a letter to the department’s secretary, Ryan Zinke, writing that Wyoming is a leader in sage grouse management.

Former Democratic U.S. House Candidate Gary Trauner has announced that he will run for Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seat. The seat is currently held by John Barrasso who is up for re-election. Trauner who calls himself an organizational and financial entrepreneur most recently served as the Chief Operating Office of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Jackson. He said he’s running because government is no longer working.

 

Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

Wyoming’s Republicans in Washington are hoping to pass broad energy policy in this congressional session after inter-party squabbling in the GOP derailed the effort last year.

In the last Congress, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan energy bill that included Wyoming Senator John Barrasso’s push to expedite the export of Liquefied Natural Gas. That bill garnered support from 85 out of 100 senators but was never sent to the desk of former President Obama. Barrasso was upset that the bill died after negotiations with House Republicans fell apart.

Stephanie Joyce

Every four years the federal government is required to release a report on the world’s changing climate and this year's was the most comprehensive report since Congress mandated it. It states there’s “no convincing alternative explanation” to climate change other than that humans are the cause. The report is the work of more than a dozen federal agencies, but Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the political appointees in the Trump administration have buried their heads in tar sands.

Bob Beck

The EPA’s announcement that it’s rolling back an Obama-era rule to expand regulations on the nation’s waters and streams is being cheered by Wyoming lawmakers who now are offering input on how to rewrite it.

Farmers and ranchers across Wyoming were up in arms over the regulation commonly referred to as the Waters of the U.S. rule. It would have expanded the scope of what the EPA and other federal agencies regulate, which had many fearing the government would be monitoring dry stream beds and puddles. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso praised the move.

U.S. Forest Service

Forest fires have dominated headlines in much of the west this summer. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Senate Environment Committee and this week held a hearing on a string of bills that proponents say will help keep those catastrophic wildfires at bay.

To Barrasso and a bipartisan group of senators, the problem is clear: Catastrophic wildfires are manmade, well more precisely, made by the inaction of man and all the red tape of environmentalists.

Matt Laslo

Wyoming’s senators are supporting a massive bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system next week.

The new GOP health bill eliminates the mandate that every American must have health insurance and it ends the Obamacare subsidies that help many Wyomingites afford insurance. The new proposal does maintain some taxes under the Affordable Care Act but then sends that money back to the states as a block grant, which Wyoming Senator John Barrasso likes. 

Wyoming’s lawmakers just returned to Washington after a summer break that President Trump urged the Senate to cut short to take up more of his agenda. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on what Wyoming lawmakers think they can accomplish this fall.

(NPS Photo/ Tim Rains)

The Endangered Species Act has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the act was intended to highlight the “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” But Wyoming Senator John Barrasso says it needs updating.

“The Endangered Species Act was written, created and adopted for all the right reasons and there’s just too much sand in the gears right now.”

Barrasso says the Act creates too many hoops and hurdles.

Bob Beck

As the Senate health insurance reform effort remains on life support, Wyoming’s two senators are pushing their Republican colleagues to get on board with the effort.

Senator John Barrasso literally burned the midnight oil on Wednesday when he invited a large group of Republican senators into his office for last minute negotiations on their party’s health insurance reform plan. Barrasso emerged late and was the last to address the thirty or so reporters who huddled outside for hours.  

Stephanie Joyce

Newly minted Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke just took a massive step towards streamlining the permitting process for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Wyoming lawmakers love the move, but Democrats fear it’s a dangerous first step down a slippery slope.   

By United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg: Architect of the Capitolderivative work: O.J. - United_States_Capitol_-_west_front.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17800708

Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators have been at the center of their party’s effort to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, and they’re still optimistic they can pass a bill when they return to Washington after their July Fourth recess. Some have been critical of their work, mostly because Republicans have been negotiating their health insurance bill behind closed doors after holding no hearings on it this year. 

Public Domain

President Trump desperately wants a major legislative victory, which is why he held a Rose Garden ceremony with House Republicans after only their chamber passed an overhaul of Obamacare – a bill he later told Republican senators was “mean.”

But Trump and his agenda remain bogged down by the Russian investigation and he keeps distracting Congress with tweets that Republican leaders have tried to get him to stop sending out. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney says Trump needs to rise above.

Volunteers carrying toads down to Mortenson Lake
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Endangered Species Act is threatened. Or at least facing significant reform. Momentum in Congress and in western states is building to make changes to the landmark regulation that protects threatened animal and plant species and their habitats. 

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

  

President Trump unveiled his budget this week and it’s being met with mixed reactions from Wyoming lawmakers.

The president is proposing massive cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid and Meals on Wheels in order to pay for a defense buildup. He also wants to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by thirty percent, while also cutting the Interior Department’s budget by eleven percent, which critics say would cripple National Park funding.

 

Wyoming Humanities Facebook

  

President Trump's first budget proposal called for totally zeroing out federal funding for the arts and humanities, which could disproportionately hurt rural states like Wyoming.   

Last year some of that money went to a mobile museum that toured the state teaching students and adults alike about the state's heritage. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso admits that he doesn't like that the president is calling to end the program. 

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