WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ Idaho Congressman Bill Sali scored big victories for Idaho and the nation in just his first year in Congress, and proved heâ€™s got the right set of ideas to get the nation back on track, House GOP Whip Roy Blunt said Friday.
â€œThe volume and depth of Congressman Saliâ€™s first-year accomplishments is something the people of Idaho can be proud of. Being in the minority in the House of Representatives and being able to get passed as much as he has is a testament to his leadership and effectiveness as a member of Congress,â€ Blunt said. â€œCong. Saliâ€™s ideas on congressional reform have not only lent a valuable new perspective to the current debate, but also have gone a long way toward helping this institution regain the trust of the American people. Heâ€™s been an important colleague to me personally, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on issues that move our country forward.â€
Sali is president of the Freshman GOP class. In addition to that role, he is co-chairman of the bipartisan Mining Caucus and a member of House Minority Leader John Boehnerâ€™s High Tech Working Group. Leader Boehner also recently appointed Sali to work groups on Health Care Reform and enhancing American Security.
Among his successes in Congress, Sali:
* Secured funding n the DOD Appropriations bill for research to benefit the Navy and submarine safety from mines and from being detected. The research will be done in conjunction with the University of Idaho at the Bayview Idaho research center, on Lake Pend Oreille.
* Secured funding for a Boise detox center.
* Secured funding for health care infrastructure improvements at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho.
* Helped combat the national nursing shortage by securing funding for expansion of Northwest Nazarene Universityâ€™s nursing program.
* Secured funding for research on a human vaccine for West Nile Virus, with the research to be conducted at Boise State University.
* Won House passage of a resolution commending Idaho on winning the bid to host the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
* Won House passage of an amendment to H.R. 3221, an energy bill that passed the House in August, to acknowledge the importance of conventional hydropower as a form of clean, renewable energy. The amendment passed 402-9. Sali also introduced a resolution asking Congress to oppose removal of the dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and recognize the environmental benefits of keeping the dams in place. The resolution carries significant support of key Idaho agriculture groups, water users and the Port of Lewiston.
* Won passage of irrigation, flood control, recreation and other projects as part of the Water Resources Development Act which was signed into law by President Bush, including:
* The Boise River General Investigation Study â€“ The Boise River General Investigation will complement ongoing efforts by the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR), the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) and other state and local entities to formulate and implement to address and plan for important water management issues in the Boise River Valley. Complementary areas of concern to be studied through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersâ€™ (USACE) General Investigation include the impact of growth on flooding and on the Valleyâ€™s water resources.
* Dworshak Reservoir Improvements ($5.3 million) â€“ The funding would help make recreational improvements at the dam, including houseboat moorage, extended boat ramps, lower elevation vehicular parking, campground upgrades, improved fishing access, mechanized lift at the Big Eddy Marina, potable water and electricity improvements at the marina, marina wave protection, boat access to the visitor center, boat ramp docks and other water access improvements, improved toilets at boat-in campsites, and sign replacements.
* Port of Lewiston Development â€“ The legislation eliminates land use restrictions at the Port of Lewiston. The Port of Lewiston requires the flexibility to consider recreational and commercial opportunities as possible tenants for this site.
* Riley Creek RAMP/Albeni Falls Dam ($600,000) â€“ The Riley Creek Recreation Area is located on a peninsula on the north shore of the Lake Pend Oreille and is approximately 40 acres in size. The site has more than 70 campsites and 47 picnic tables, and averages 35,000 visitor days during the May-September season. The money will be used to improve modernizing campsites, renovating the gatehouse, and improving restroom/shower houses, boat docks, boat ramps, fishing piers, and picnic shelters.
* Fish Creek Dam ($6 million) â€“ The money would be used for repairs to Fish Creek Dam, located near Carey, Idaho. The dam was constructed in 1919 through 1922 with private funds. It is the only method area farmers have to provide their necessary irrigation water.
In addition, Congressman Sali successfully convinced the Bureau of Land Management to reverse a decision barring recreational shooting on public lands in southwestern Idaho. Sali also advocated on behalf of recreational users of Lake Cascade, drafted and introduced legislation to protect home and property owners from dangerous wildfires that burn on federally-administered lands and has drafted and introduced several pieces of legislation to change the way Congress does business.
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