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           THE  BENNET  TEAM:  WORKING  FOR  COLORADO   SUMMARY  OF  ACCOMPLISHMENTS  2009-­‐2012    

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TOP HIGHLIGHTS     Successful  Bid  to  Bring  a  Patent  Office  to  Colorado    

In  July  2012,  the  Department  of  Commerce  selected  Colorado  for  the  location  of  one  of  its  new   satellite  patent  offices.    The  new  satellite  office  in  Denver  will  bring  500  direct  jobs  to  the  region  over   the  next  five  years,  create  even  more  indirect  jobs,  and  lead  to  economic  activity  totaling  $440  million   over  the  first  five  years  of  operation,  including  $261  million  in  direct  expenditures  through  the  facility.     We  expect  a  range  of  Colorado  businesses  focused  on  intellectual  property  to  expand  their  payrolls   and  accelerate  hiring  in  2013  as  a  direct  result  of  the  patent  office.  Michael  coordinated  the  effort   advocating  for  placement  of  the  office  in  Colorado;  he  led  several  letters  from  the  Colorado  Delegation   to  the  Administration  urging  the  selection  of  Colorado,  and  worked  with  the  Metro  Denver  Economic   Development  Corporation  and  Colorado’s  business  community  to  pull  together  a  one-­‐of-­‐a-­‐kind  report   that  included  an  economic  study  about  the  benefits  of  placing  the  patent  office  here.      The  new   satellite  offices  were  authorized  because  of  an  amendment  Michael  and  Senator  Udall  passed  in  2011   to  establish  three  new  satellite  patent  offices  across  the  country  by  2014.    

Reformed Regulations  That  Stifle  Satellite  Exports     Based  on  input  from  the  Colorado  Competes  Innovation  Roundtable  and  statewide  aerospace   businesses,  Michael  worked  with  the  industry  in  Colorado  to  draft  a  bill  that  eliminated  a  competitive   disadvantage  to  the  U.S.  aerospace  industry  caused  by  outdated  export  controls.  Colorado’s  aerospace   industry  employs  over  70,000  people  across  the  state,  with  Colorado  workers  in  the  sector  earning  an   average  salary  of  $109,000.  A  substantial  number  of  Colorado  aerospace  companies  that  build   satellites  or  satellite  components  will  be  affected.  Under  previous  law,  the  Administration  did  not  have   authority  to  determine  the  appropriate  export  controls  for  satellites  and  space-­‐related  items  even  if   they  had  civilian  applications  and  were  available  commercially  abroad.  As  a  result,  non-­‐sensitive   commercial  satellites  were  subject  to  the  same  export  regulations  governing  defense-­‐related   materials,  putting  U.S.  manufacturers  at  a  competitive  disadvantage  in  the  global  market  against   foreign  competitors  not  subject  to  these  regulations.      Michael  pushed  lawmakers  to  include  the   provision  in  the  National  Defense  Authorization  Act  that  was  signed  into  law  in  January  2013.    The   aerospace  industry  has  been  pushing  for  this  change  for  the  past  10  years.    

Chimney Rock  Designated  a  National  Monument     In  response  to  local  advocacy  from  the  Archuleta  County  Commissioners  and  the  town  of  Pagosa   Springs,  Michael  introduced  a  bill  in  2010  to  make  Chimney  Rock  a  national  monument.    With  Congress   stuck  in  gridlock,  Michael  worked  with  local  communities  to  build  public  support  for  a  presidential   declaration  establishing  the  monument.    Earlier  this  year,  a  study  commissioned  by  the  National  Trust   for  Historic  Preservation  found  that  national  monument  designation  for  the  Chimney  Rock   Archaeological  Area  would  double  the  economic  impact  Chimney  Rock  has  on  the  region,  bringing  an   additional  $1.2  million  to  the  area  in  annually.  In  the  wake  of  this  study  and  Michael’s  efforts,  130  local   businesses  in  Durango  and  Pagosa  Springs  signed  on  with  a  bipartisan  group  of  community  leaders  as   supporters  of  a  monument  designation  by  either  legislation  or  presidential  proclamation.    Based  on   this  support,  Michael  successfully  persuaded  President  Obama  to  declare  Chimney  Rock  a  national   monument  under  the  authority  of  the  Antiquities  Act  in  September  2012.       2    


FDA Reauthorization  that  Supports  Innovators  and  Protects  Patients     In  response  to  concerns  raised  in  meetings  with  Colorado’s  bioscience  community,  Michael  helped   author  the  bipartisan  U.S.  Food  and  Drug  Administration  (FDA)  reform  law  that  made  it  easier  for  high-­‐ quality  drugs  and  medical  devices  to  make  it  to  market  faster  while  ensuring  safety  and  effectiveness.     The  bipartisan  law,  enacted  in  summer  2012,  will  help  cut  bureaucratic  red  tape  for  the  600  bioscience   companies  operating  in  Colorado,  paying  an  average  wage  of  over  $74,000.    It  included:     Ø Drug  Innovation  &  Breakthrough  Products:  A  bipartisan  measure  led  by  Michael,  along  with   Senators  Orrin  Hatch  (R-­‐UT)  and  Richard  Burr  (R-­‐NC),  expedites  FDA  approval  and  provides  more   flexibility  for  breakthrough  drugs  and  treatments  that  show  dramatic  responses  early  in   development,  while  still  ensuring  safety  and  effectiveness.  The  new  law  will  be  of  particular   importance  to  advancing  innovations  in  cancer,  Alzheimer’s,  and  other  devastating  diseases.     Ø Medical  Device  Innovation  and  Patient  Protection:  Michael’s  bipartisan  provision  to  reduce   regulatory  burdens  that  unnecessarily  delay  new  medical  devices  from  reaching  the  market.    The   provision  codifies  a  set  of  rules  from  1997  to  ensure  that  the  Secretary  focuses  only  on  relevant   information  when  reviewing  medical  devices  and  considers  alternative  approaches  to  evaluating   devices  in  order  to  reduce  the  time,  effort,  and  cost  of  reaching  a  regulatory  decision.  Another   bipartisan  provision  Michael  authored  would  give  the  FDA  the  tools  it  needs  to  improve  oversight   and  tracking  of  medical  devices  after  they  are  approved  for  patients.     Ø Drug  Safety:  A  bipartisan  effort  Michael  spearheaded  that  increases  oversight  of  the   pharmaceutical  industry  and  enhances  the  ability  of  the  FDA  to  ensure  U.S.  prescription  and  over-­‐ the-­‐counter  drugs  and  drug  ingredients  are  both  safe  and  effective  –  regardless  of  what  country   they  are  made  in.  With  over  80%  of  the  active  ingredients  in  our  drugs  made  abroad,  the  new  law   will  hold  foreign  manufacturers  exporting  to  the  U.S.  to  the  same  high  standards  met  by  domestic   manufacturers  by  removing  barriers  that  prevent  the  FDA  from  inspecting  drug  facilities  abroad,   requiring  company  accountability  and  oversight  of  manufacturing  practices,  and  increasing  criminal   penalties  for  counterfeiting  and  intentional  adulteration  of  a  drug.  For  example,  under  previous   law,  companies  with  facilities  abroad  could  delay  FDA  inspection  of  their  drug  products  where   American  facilities  were  subject  to  surprise  FDA  inspection,  and  the  penalties  for  counterfeiting  a   CD  could  be  higher  than  for  counterfeiting  a  drug.     Ø Track  and  Trace:  In  addition  to  the  new  drug  safety  provisions  already  enacted  into  law,  Michael   continues  to  work  with  a  bipartisan  group  of  senators  to  establish  a  uniform,  national  traceability   system  to  secure  the  pharmaceutical  supply  chain.  In  October  2012,  Michael  and  this  group   released  a  draft  track-­‐and-­‐trace  draft  bill,  which  would  establish  a  more  effective  alert  system  for   when  a  drug  is  found  to  be  faulty,  fraudulent  or  harmful.  Michael  is  pushing  to  enact  a  Track-­‐and-­‐ Trace  bill  in  2013.                              

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Crowdfunding as  a  New  Option  to  Raise  Equity  Capital   Michael  passed  a  bipartisan  amendment,  signed  into  law  in  April  2012,  enabling  entrepreneurs,  start-­‐ ups,  and  companies  to  raise  money  and  offer  equity  financing  via  the  Internet  and  social  media.  The   bipartisan  CROWDFUND  Act,  which  Michael  coauthored  with  a  Republican  and  a  Democratic  Senator,   provided  a  balanced  approach  –  offering  investor  protections  while  expanding  business’  access  to   capital.    The  new  law  was  created  partly  in  response  to  concerns  expressed  by  business  leaders   through  Michael’s  Colorado  Competes  innovation  table  about  the  difficulty  of  raising  capital.    After  the   amendment  passed,  Michael’s  office  held  forums  attended  by  more  than  700  business  owners  and   entrepreneurs  across  the  state  to  provide  information  on  the  new  capital  raising  options  available.        

Colorado Compact,  Giving  Momentum  to  National  Immigration  Reform     Michael,  along  with  former  Senator  Hank  Brown  and  statewide  leaders  spanning  the  political,  business,   agricultural,  civic,  and  religious  spectrum,  unveiled  a  set  of  principles  in  December  2012  signed  by  over   100  statewide  stakeholders  to  guide  a  national  discussion  on  comprehensive  immigration  reform.    The   Colorado  Compact  represents  a  year-­‐long  effort  to  convene  and  promote  a  civil  conversation  on   immigration  in  Colorado  that  can  lead  to  real  and  lasting  reform  at  the  federal  level.    It  brings  together   leaders  and  community  members  of  diverse  backgrounds  and  politics  who  are  committed  to  fostering   a  more  rational  and  collaborative  approach  to  immigration  policy  than  exists  today.  It  is  a  result  of   more  than  450  meetings  across  the  state.    With  an  urgent  need  for  a  comprehensive  immigration   policy,  Colorado’s  commonsense  approach  is  the  beginning  of  an  effort  to  demonstrate  to  Washington   the  type  of  constructive  discussion  that  can  lead  to  a  lasting  solution.    In  Washington,  Michael  is  a   member  of  a  group  of  8  senators  negotiating  immigration  reform.    

Leading the  Fight  for  a  Comprehensive  Solution  to  Our  Deficit       Michael  has  been  fighting  for  a  comprehensive  solution  to  our  unsustainable  deficits  since  2009.     Meeting  with  leaders  in  both  parties,  Michael  has  pushed  for  a  balanced  approach  modeled  on   Simpson-­‐Bowles  that  includes  both  significant  tax  reform,  spending  cuts  and  meaningful  entitlement   reform.  In  2011,  Michael  and  Senator  Johanns  led  a  bipartisan  letter  to  President  Obama,  signed  by  32   Republicans  and  32  Democrats,  to  support  a  comprehensive  deficit  reduction  package  that  includes   discretionary  spending  cuts,  entitlement  changes  and  tax  reform.  As  a  member  of  the  Gang  of  Eight,   Michael  has  worked  with  Democrats  and  Republicans  on  the  outlines  of  a  reasonable  bipartisan  debt   deal.    Michael  also  spent  months  throughout  2012  working  with  Republican  Senator  Lamar  Alexander     on  a  process  that  would  result  in  a  Simpson-­‐Bowles  style  deficit  reduction  plan  if  Congress  and  the   Administration  failed  to  come  to  a  grand  bargain  in  advance  of  the  fiscal  cliff.    Michael  was  one  of  eight   senators  to  vote  against  the  fiscal  cliff  compromise  because  he  believed  it  failed  to  materially  address   the  deficit.  He  continues  to  push  vigorously  for  comprehensive  deficit  reduction  that  would  put  our   economy  on  a  sustainable  path.              

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Helped Craft  and  Pass  a  Responsible  Farm  Bill  that  Trims  the  Deficit,   Promotes  Conservation     After  dozens  of  meetings  across  Colorado,  Michael  helped  craft  the  bipartisan,  five-­‐year  Farm  Bill  that   passed  the  Senate  in  2012.    It  reauthorizes  and  strengthens  the  crop  insurance  program,  streamlines   and  improves  conservation  programs,  and  protects  the  integrity  of  the  Supplemental  Nutrition   Assistance  Program  (SNAP),  on  which  over  450,000  Coloradans  rely  in  order  to  afford  food.    The  bill   represents  the  only  effort  in  Congress  where  Democrats  and  Republicans  came  together  to  agree  on   how  to  reduce  spending,  and  the  final  bill  includes  $23  billion  in  deficit  reduction,  in  large  part  by   eliminating  direct  payments  to  some  of  the  country’s  biggest  farms.    Michael  led  the  work  to  make   sure  that  the  streamlined  conservation  title  was  improved  for  Colorado’s  farmers,  ranchers  and   environmental  community.    He  amended  the  Senate  passed-­‐bill  to  give  landowners  and  producers   more  opportunities  to  enter  into  conservation  easement  agreements  like  the  ones  that  have  preserved   the  orchards  and  wineries  in  the  Grand  Valley  and  the  Music  Meadows  Ranch  outside  Westcliffe.  He   worked  with  Senator  Mark  Udall  to  include  additional  resources  to  mitigate  the  bark  beetle  epidemic   that  has  plagued  Colorado’s  forests.      

Social Security  Video  Hearings  for  Southwest  Coloradans   In  2011,  local  advocates  and  representatives  of  disabled  applicants  applying  for  Social  Security   approached  Michael  about  providing  additional  opportunities  for  benefit  hearings  in  Durango.    At  the   time,  applicants  were  required  to  travel  to  Colorado  Springs  or  Denver  for  hearings,  a  more  than  five-­‐ hour  drive.      In  spring  2012,  Michael  urged  the  Commissioner  of  Social  Security  to  begin  scheduling   video  hearings  for  constituents  with  disabilities  in  southwest  Colorado,  rather  than  forcing  these   individuals  to  travel  hundreds  of  miles  for  in-­‐person  hearings.  The  agency  responded  and  will  soon   begin  scheduling  video  conferences  for  the  approximately  200  people  in  Southwest  Colorado  waiting   for  a  disability  hearing,  alleviating  the  burden  of  travel  for  these  constituents  and  the  high  cost  to  the   federal  government  responsible  for  reimbursing  travel  costs.    

Extension of  PILT  and  SRS  Programs       Michael  led  the  fight,  with  Senator  Udall,  in  support  of  extending  the  PILT  and  SRS  programs.    The   Payment  in  Lieu  of  Taxes  (PILT)  program  provides  federal  payments  to  local  governments  to  help  offset   losses  in  property  taxes  due  to  nontaxable  federal  land  within  their  boundaries.    Rural  Colorado   communities  shared  more  than  $27  million  in  both  fiscal  years  2012  and  2011.    The  Secure  Rural   Schools  (SRS)  program  provides  resources  for  public  schools,  road  improvement  and  maintenance   projects,  and  forest  restoration  and  improvement  projects  in  and  around  National  Forests.    In  May   2012,  Michael  and  Senator  Udall  sent  a  letter  to  the  conference  committee  considering  the   transportation  reauthorization  urging  its  members  to  include  full  funding  for  the  programs  in  the  final   transportation  bill.    The  conference  report  which  passed  into  law  extended  full  funding  for  PILT  and   SRS  for  one  year.           5    


Wind PTC  Extension     Michael  was  one  of  the  most  active  members  of  Congress  in  the  fight  to  extend  the  Wind  Production   Tax  Credit  (PTC),  a  push  that  finally  succeeded  at  the  end  of  2012.    He  wrote  a  letter  signed  by  seven   other  members  of  the  Colorado  delegation  calling  on  a  congressional  conference  committee  to  extend   the  wind  energy  production  tax  credit.  He  also  worked  with  Senator  Jerry  Moran  (R-­‐KS)  on  two   bipartisan  amendments  to  extend  the  credit.  He  is  an  original  cosponsor  of  a  bipartisan  freestanding   bill  with  Senators  Udall  and  Grassley  that  would  extend  the  credit.  Wind  energy  supports  about  6,000   jobs  in  our  state  and  tens  of  thousands  more  across  the  country.  Congress’  failure  to  take  a  long  term   view  on  extending  the  bipartisan  credit  threatens  the  ability  of  the  industry  to  plan  for  its  long  term   viability.  Vestas  layoffs  are  a  perfect  example  of  the  economic  repercussions  of  this  uncertainty.    Due  in   part  to  Michael’s  effort,  an  extension  of  the  PTC  was  included  in  the  Fiscal  Cliff  deal  and  passed  into   law  at  the  start  of  2013.  Although  Michael  ultimately  voted  against  the  much  larger  package  out  of   concerns  that  it  did  not  adequately  address  the  federal  deficit,  he  is  pleased  there  has  been  a   temporary  extension  of  the  credit.    

Red Cliff  Loan  Refinancing     Earlier  in  2012,  officials  from  the  Town  of  Red  Cliff  approached  Michael  for  help  in  working  with  the   U.S.  Department  of  Agriculture  (USDA)  to  refinance  a  series  of  high-­‐interest  rural  development  loans.     The  town  had  been  trying  to  renegotiate  the  terms  of  the  loans  for  10  years  without  a  response  from   the  USDA.    Michael  wrote  a  letter  to  the  USDA,  asking  it  to  work  with  the  town  to  solve  the  issue.    After   nearly  a  year  of  meetings  and  follow-­‐up,  Red  Cliff  and  the  USDA  reached  an  agreement  that  will  allow   Red  Cliff  to  repair  its  credit  rating,  pay  off  the  loans  in  a  timely  fashion,  and  save  nearly  $400,000.  The   substantial  savings  for  the  town  may  also  allow  it  to  repair  its  aging  and  broken  municipal  water   system,  which  froze  over  last  year,  costing  $160,000  in  emergency  repairs  and  leaving  the  remote  town   without  running  water  for  four  days.      

Opening Access  to  Manitou  Trail   At  the  request  of  area  leaders  and  the  Colorado  Springs  and  Manitou  Springs  communities,  Michael   worked  with  Rep.  Doug  Lamborn  to  introduce  companion  bills  in  the  House  and  Senate  that  would   help  open  access  to  the  Manitou  Incline  Trail.  It  had  been  illegal  to  hike  the  trail  because  it  crosses  a   right  of  way  owned  by  the  Mt.  Manitou  Park  and  Incline  Railway  Company.  The  trail  is  popular  with   hikers,  supporting  as  many  as  500,000  per  year.  Michael’s  bill  is  a  key  step  in  a  locally  supported  plan   to  officially  open  the  Incline  as  a  recreation  trail,  improving  conditions  so  that  hikers  may  access  it   legally  and  safely.  The  legislation  passed  the  House  and  the  Senate;  as  of  January  8,  2013  it  awaits   signature  by  the  President.                   6    


Expanding Troops  to  Teachers     Michael  fought  to  include  bipartisan  legislation  to  expand  the  successful  Troops  to  Teachers  program   in  the  National  Defense  Reauthorization.    The  final  legislation  passed  Congress  with  the  Troops  to   Teachers  expansion,  and  was  signed  into  law  early  in  2013.    The  expanded  program  will  help  our   veterans  extend  their  service  to  America  in  classrooms  across  the  country.  The  Troops  to  Teachers   expansion  has  been  a  priority  of  Michael’s  since  his  early  days  in  the  Senate.    He  first  introduced  a   bipartisan  bill  to  expand  the  program  with  Senator  John  McCain  (R-­‐AZ)  in  2009.    The  program,   originally  created  in  1994,  provides  qualified  troops  with  financial  incentives  to  teach  in  our  nation's   neediest  schools.    Despite  the  program's  success,  many  service  members  were  ineligible  to  participate   in  the  current  program  because  of  certain  restrictions,  including  the  requirement  of  six  years  of   military  service  and  limits  on  the  number  of  schools  eligible  to  participate  in  the  program.    In  Colorado   for  instance,  many  of  the  school  districts  located  near  military  installations  –  where  Troops  to  Teachers   participants  often  prefer  to  teach  –  are  excluded  from  participation  because  of  the  restrictions  on   eligible  schools.    The  Bennet-­‐McCain  amendment  will  make  the  program  more  accessible  by  reducing   length  of  service  requirements  and  expanding  the  number  of  eligible  schools  in  which  participants  can   teach  once  they  receive  their  teacher’s  license  or  certification.    

Standing up  for  Public  Safety  and  Colorado  Women   In  May  2012,  Michael  introduced  the  SAFER  Act  with  Senator  John  Cornyn  (R-­‐TX),  which  would  help   states  and  local  governments  conduct  audits  of  rape  kits  in  law  enforcement  storage  facilities  and   increase  available  funds  for  crime  labs  to  test  those  kits.  According  to  prominent  victim’s  rights  groups,   there  is  a  national  backlog  of  at  least  400,000  rape  kits  sitting  untested  across  the  country.  The  bill   would  repurpose  existing  federal  funds  under  the  Debbie  Smith  DNA  Backlog  Grant  Program  to  reduce   the  backlog  of  crime  scene  DNA  evidence  such  as  rape  kits.  It  will  not  add  to  the  deficit.  The  Senate   passed  the  bill  late  in  the  112th  Congress.    The  bill  has  bipartisan  support  in  the  House  of   Representatives  and  Michael  will  continue  to  push  for  Congressional  passage  in  the  113th  Congress.    

Senate Passed  PREEMIE  Act  to  Reduce  Infant  Mortality  and  Pregnancy-­‐ Related  Deaths   This  year  in  the  U.S.  alone,  approximately  28,000  babies  will  die  before  their  first  birthday,  36  percent   of  them  from  preterm  birth  complications.  Premature  birth  can  also  cause  a  lifetime  of  health   challenges  and  intellectual  disabilities  for  those  children  who  do  survive.  To  address  this  health  crisis,   Michael  cosponsored  a  bipartisan  bill  with  Senator  Alexander  that  will  help  us  better  understand  the   causes  of  preterm  birth  and  how  we  can  reduce  the  number  of  occurrences  in  Colorado  and  around   the  country.    This  bill  will  reauthorize  the  Centers  for  Disease  Control  and  Prevention’s  research  and   data  collection  on  preterm  birth,  support  community-­‐based  programs  that  educate  mothers  at  high-­‐ risk  for  premature  babies,  and  issue  recommendations  on  the  treatment  and  outcomes  for  babies  born   prematurely.  It  passed  the  Senate  with  overwhelming  bipartisan  support  on  November  16.  Bipartisan   companion  legislation  has  been  introduced  in  the  House,  and  Michael  will  continue  to  push  for  passage   in  the  113th  Congress.  

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Passage of  Amendment  to  Make  College  Campuses  Safer  for  Women   As  part  of  the  reauthorization  of  the  Violence  Against  Women  Act  (VAWA),  the  Senate  passed  a   provision  Michael  wrote  with  the  University  of  Colorado  to  help  make  college  campuses  safer  for   women.      The  bill  would  have  helped  to  provide  more  education  programs  and  resources  to  victims  of   violence  and  expand  law  enforcement’s  tools  to  prosecute  cases  of  assault  and  abuse.  The  larger   VAWA  legislation,  which  included  Michael’s  amendment,  passed  the  Senate  in  April  with  68  votes,   demonstrating  broad  bipartisan  support.    The  House  refused  to  pass  the  legislation,  which  died  in  the   112th  Congress;  Michael  is  pushing  for  swift  passage  this  year.    

Including Natural  Gas  Vehicles  as  Part  of  the  New  CAFE  Standards   In  August  2012,  Michael  led  a  letter  to  the  Congressional  Budget  Office  requesting  that  the   Administration  consider  creating  a  technology  neutral  pool  of  alternative  fuel  vehicle  incentives  so  that   all  qualified  alternative  vehicles,  including  Natural  Gas  Vehicles  (NGVs),  would  be  eligible  for  the  tax   benefits  awarded  to  other  types  of  alternative  fuel  vehicles  for  oil  savings  and  increasing  fuel   efficiency.    Previously  the  Administration  only  awarded  incentives  for  hybrid  and  electric  vehicles,  even   though  NGV’s  are  competitive  in  terms  of  fuel  efficiency  and  in  decreasing  emissions.    The   Administration  changed  its  position  and  adopted  our  recommendation.    

New Veterans  Cemetery  in  Southern  Colorado   Since  his  appointment,  Michael  has  fought  hard  to  locate  a  Veteran’s  cemetery  in  southern  Colorado.   Shortly  after  entering  the  Senate,  in  March  2009,  he  introduced  legislation  with  Senator  Mark  Udall  to   create  a  cemetery  in  El  Paso  County.  The  following  year,  he  and  then-­‐Representative  John  Salazar  met   with  Secretary  for  Veterans  Affairs  Eric  Shinseki  to  discuss  the  issue  and  shortly  thereafter,  the   President’s  FY2011  budget  included  language  for  establishing  such  a  cemetery.  Earlier  in  2012,  Bennet   convened  a  meeting  of  the  Southern  Colorado  Veterans  Cemetery  Committee  to  receive  feedback  on   potential  site  locations.    This  new  cemetery  will  help  ease  demand  for  space  at  existing  facilities  while   significantly  reducing  the  cost  and  distance  of  travel  for  families  of  fallen  soldiers.  The  new  cemetery   will  also  enable  veterans  who  reside  in  Southern  Colorado  to  be  buried  near  the  communities  they  call   home.  The  Pikes  Peak  area  has  one  of  the  highest  concentrations  of  veterans  in  the  country,  estimated   at  more  than  100,000.    

Fulfilling the  Promise  of  the  Arkansas  Valley  Conduit   Since  John  F.  Kennedy  was  in  the  White  House,  southeastern  Colorado  has  been  waiting  for  a  conduit   to  call  its  own.  Michael,  working  with  Senator  Mark  Udall  and  Representatives  John  Salazar  and  Betsy   Markey,  was  able  to  secure  funding  to  begin  construction  on  the  Arkansas  Valley  Conduit  and  deliver   clean  drinking  water  to  southeastern  Colorado  communities.  He  continues  to  push  for  adequate   funding  of  the  project  in  the  113th  Congress.          

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Expanding Membership  in  Blue  Star  Mothers   The  Blue  Star  Mothers  is  a  congressionally-­‐chartered  veterans’  service  organization  that  provides   support  and  services  to  members  of  the  Armed  Forces,  Reserve  Components,  veterans,  and  military   families.    In  September  2011,  Michael  introduced  bipartisan  legislation  (with  Senator  Kelly  Ayotte)  to   allow  grandmothers,  foster-­‐mothers,  and  female  legal  guardians  to  become  members  of  the   organization.  The  legislation  passed  both  chambers  of  Congress  with  broad  bipartisan  support  and  was   signed  into  law  in  December  2011  

 

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REMAINING HIGHLIGHTS  FROM  2011-­‐2012   MAKING  GOVERNMENT  WORK  BETTER  FOR  COLORADO     Reforming  GI  Overpayment  Procedures  to  Support  our  Veterans     After  hearing  about  the  difficulty  many  veteran  students  face  meeting  their  financial  obligations  when   they  are  penalized  for  overpayments  of  GI  Bill  benefits  from  his  Veteran  Working  Group,  Michael  wrote   to  the  Department  of  Veteran  Affairs  (VA)  Secretary  Shinseki  in  2012,  urging  him  to  change  the  VA’s   policy.  Currently,  there  are  times  when  veterans  are  paid  more  in  GI  Bill  benefits  than  they  are  entitled.   When  students  are  notified  that  they  have  received  a  GI  Bill  benefit  overpayment  they  are  allotted  30   days  to  contact  the  VA  to  repay  the  entire  debt,  establish  a  repayment  plan,  or  request  a  waiver.  If  a   student  fails  to  satisfy  one  of  these  three  options,  the  VA  immediately  begins  deducting  the  debt   amount  from  tuition  and  housing  payments.  The  immediate  loss  in  benefits  can  create  a  serious   hardship  on  veteran  students  relying  on  the  tuition  and  housing  benefits  to  enable  them  to  stay  in   school.    Michael  proposed  that  these  reduced  benefit  payments  should  come  at  the  end  of  students’   eligibility  period  for  benefits,  instead  of  upon  discovery  of  the  overpayment.  The  change  would  ensure   that  the  VA  is  able  to  collect  the  debts  owed  to  it  without  unnecessarily  impairing  the  ability  of   veterans  to  use  their  benefits  and  complete  their  education.  

Fighting  for  Efficient  Delivery  of  GI  Bill  Benefits  

Michael’s statewide  Veterans  Working  Group  and  his  staff  heard  increased  reports  from  Colorado’s   student  veterans  experiencing  difficulties  with  GI  Bill  payment  delays.  In  an  effort  to  take  a  more   comprehensive  look  at  the  issue,  Michael  conducted  a  survey  of  student  veterans  at  Colorado   universities.    More  than  200  veterans  responded  to  the  survey,  which  found  that  two  out  of  three   respondents  reported  an  issue  with  education  benefit  payments,  including  widespread  payment   delays.    In  response  to  the  results,  Michael  wrote  a  letter  to  Department  of  Veteran  Affairs  Secretary   Eric  Shinseki  calling  for  a  critical  examination  of  the  effectiveness  of  the  Department’s  delivery  of   education  benefits,  so  that  student  veterans  are  able  to  get  the  benefits  they  earned  on  time.    

Giving  Colorado  a  Voice  in  National  Veterans  Licensing  Improvements  

Several members  of  Michael’s  statewide  Veterans  Working  Group  expressed  concerns  about  the   difficulty  service  members  encounter  when  they  attempt  to  obtain  professional  licensing  after  serving   in  the  military.    In  many  cases,  service  members  complete  training  and  gain  the  experience  necessary   to  earn  a  professional  license  during  their  service  in  the  military.  However,  many  state  licensing   agencies  and  certifying  organizations  have  difficulty  recognizing  and  understanding  the  military   experience,  forcing  the  service  member  to  repeat  training  after  they  leave  the  military  to  earn   professional  licensure.    The  Department  of  Defense  is  currently  working  on  a  broad  pilot  program   meant  to  make  it  easier  for  veterans  to  use  training  and  experience  gained  in  the  military  to  earn   professional  licensure.    Due  to  Michael’s  office’s  advocacy,  the  DOD  is  now  working  directly  with  the   State  of  Colorado  to  get  input  on  this  project.         10    


Climbing in  Black  Canyon     The  National  Park  Service’s  draft  plan  for  managing  wilderness  areas  in  the  Black  Canyon  of  the   Gunnison  National  Park  proposed  ending  guided  rock  climbing  on  the  world  famous  big  walls  of  the   Black  Canyon.    The  climbing  community  in  Colorado  had  strong  concerns  that  this  policy  change  would   end  many  people’s  ability  to  complete  one  of  these  climbs  safely.    Michael,  along  with  Senators  Udall   and  Baucus,  asked  the  Park  Service  to  reconsider  this  policy.    After  the  request,  the  Park  Service   revised  their  proposed  policy  and  will  continue  to  allow  guided  climbing  and  the  economic  activity  it   generates.  

Reducing  Financial  Regulatory  Burden  for  Companies  to  Scale    

The 2012  JOBS  Act,  which  included  Michael’s  crowdfunding  amendment,  also  included  modifications  to   the  Securities  and  Exchange  Commission  (SEC)  rules  to  help  early-­‐stage  and  high-­‐growth  companies   raise  capital.  After  hearing  from  Colorado  small  businesses  about  the  difficulties  they  were   experiencing,  Michael  played  a  key  role  in  pushing  this  bill  across  the  finish  line.  The  law  directs  the  SEC   to:  (a)  raise  the  cap  under  Regulation  A  from  $5M  to  $50M;  (b)  update  Regulation  D  to  allow   companies  to  solicit  funds  from  a  wider  network  of  accredited  investors;  (c)  increase  the  SEC  reporting   threshold  from  500  to  2000  shareholders;  and  (d)  defer  Sarbanes-­‐Oxley  Section  404(b)  compliance  up   to  five  years  for  companies  with  under  $1B  in  annual  revenues  after  they  complete  their  Initial  Public   Offering.  

Pushing  for  Science,  Technology,  Engineering  and  Math  (STEM)  Visa  Reform  

In response  to  recommendations  from  his  Colorado  Competes  Innovation  Table,  Michael  introduced  a   bill  that  would  create  a  new  green  card  category  for  foreign  students  graduating  from  American   colleges  and  universities  with  advanced  degrees  in  Science,  Technology,  Engineering  and  Mathematics   (STEM).  Michael  continues  to  push  for  passage  of  this  legislation  and  for  comprehensive  immigration   reform  that  improves  STEM  visa  policy,  in  2013.     Cutting  Government  Waste,  Using  Improved  Technologies  to  Streamline  Government     Michael  and  Senator  Tom  Coburn  (R-­‐OK)  introduced  legislation  in  summer  2012  to  conserve  energy,   save  taxpayer  dollars  and  reduce  government  waste  by  requiring  federal  agencies  to  shut  down   needlessly  duplicative  federal  data  centers.  Agencies  have  been  instructed  to  develop  consolidation   plans  that  would  save  over  $2  billion,  according  to  the  Government  Accountability  Office  (GAO).     However,  a  number  of  agencies  have  been  slow  to  begin  to  implement  the  plans  –  or,  in  some  cases,  to   even  take  stock  of  the  total  number  of  centers  they  currently  manage.    The  Bennet-­‐Coburn  legislation   would  require  participating  federal  agencies  to  submit  a  complete  data  center  inventory  and   consolidation  plan,  which  must  include  a  timeline  for  implementation  and  cost-­‐savings  estimates,  to   the  Office  of  Management  and  Budget  with  hard  deadlines.  The  GAO  has  publicly  argued  that   legislation  is  needed  to  ensure  that  agencies  move  more  decisively  to  close  down  unnecessary  data   centers.  Michael  continues  to  work  to  enact  a  provision  achieving  these  objectives  in  2013.    

Advancing a  Bill  to  Protect  Tuition  Waivers  at  Fort  Lewis  College    

Colorado is  home  to  Fort  Lewis  College,  one  of  two  four-­‐year  universities  that  participate  in  land-­‐grant   agreements  between  the  federal  government  and  Native  American  tribes.  These  agreements  require   the  university  to  provide  a  tuition-­‐free  education  to  Native  American  students.  Because  of  the   11    


agreements, the  states  in  which  the  universities  are  located  are  required  to  cover  the  full  cost  of  the   tuition  reimbursements  with  no  assistance  from  the  federal  government.  In  Colorado,  the  burden  of   the  payments  on  the  state  has  increased  exponentially  over  the  years,  especially  as  an  increasing   number  of  out-­‐of-­‐state  students  choose  to  attend  Fort  Lewis  College.  In  the  past  25  years  alone,  the   State  of  Colorado  has  spent  over  $110  million  for  the  tuition  waiver  program,  repaying  the  original  land   grant  valued  today  at  less  than  $19  million  many  times  over.  Michael  introduced  the  Native  American   Indian  Education  Act,  a  bill  that  would  require  the  U.S.  Department  of  Education  to  cover  the  costs  of   tuition  waivers  for  any  out-­‐of-­‐state  students,  while  states  would  continue  to  pay  for  any  in-­‐state  tuition   waivers.  In  August  2012,  Michael  held  a  field  hearing  in  Colorado  on  his  bill.  This  legislation  would  help   significantly  alleviate  the  burden  on  the  education  budget  for  both  states.  The  hearing  helped  highlight   the  importance  of  this  issue  and  build  support  for  the  bill.      

A  Comprehensive  Guide  to  the  Grant  Programs  in  Health  Care  Reform  

In 2012,  Michael  released  a  comprehensive,  easily  searchable  guide  to  grant  programs,  demonstration   projects  and  workforce  development  initiatives  included  in  the  Affordable  Care  Act.  The  guide  provides   the  eligibility  requirements,  application  timeline  and  the  department  and  office  in  charge  of  the   program.  The  guide  also  provides  information  about  the  most  recent  appropriation  of  the  grant.     Community  Forums  to  Provide  Coloradans  with  Information  about  Health  Care  Reform       During  the  summer  of  2012,  Michael  partnered  with  the  U.S.  Department  of  Health  and  Human   Services  and  Know  Your  Care  Colorado,  an  organization  that  seeks  to  educate  Coloradans  about  the   Affordable  Care  Act,  to  host  educational  forums  about  the  health  care  law.  The  forums  highlighted  the   Supreme  Court  decision,  the  provisions  that  have  already  taken  effect,  and  provisions  taking  effect  in   the  near  future.  Michael  and  his  staff  heard  from  community  members  with  questions  about  consumer   protection,  preventative  services  for  Medicare  beneficiaries,  and  Colorado’s  health  insurance   exchange.  The  forums  were  held  in  Pueblo,  Lakewood,  Boulder,  and  Fort  Collins.     Additional  Review  of  the  Estes-­‐Flatiron  Transmission  Project     In  late  2011,  the  Western  Area  Power  Administration  (WAPA)  moved  forward  on  a  project  that  would   consolidate  two  power  transmission  lines  (along  two  different  routes)  into  one  line  running  just   outside  Estes  Park.  The  project  involved  placing  100-­‐foot  towers  within  a  subdivision.  Roughly  150   property-­‐owners  in  the  area  who  would  have  been  affected  opposed  the  project,  raising  a  number  of   concerns  about  the  proposal  and  the  rigorousness  of  the  review  process  to  date.    Michael  worked  with   Senator  Udall  to  push  for  an  extension  of  the  public  scoping  period  and  suggested  that  the  Western   Area  Power  Administration  consider  undertaking  a  more  rigorous  review  process  before  moving   forward  with  the  project.    WAPA  agreed  with  Michael’s  suggestions,  and  we  expect  a  draft   Environmental  Impact  Statement  in  2013.    

Meaningful Campaign  Finance  Reform  to  Protect  Integrity  of  our  Elections   In  response  to  Super  PACs  bombarding  Colorado  with  millions  of  dollars  in  political  advertising  over  the   past  two  election  cycles,  with  the  source  of  funding  often  unclear,  Michael  has  fought  for  meaningful   campaign  finance  reforms.  In  March  of  2012,  Michael  joined  a  group  of  his  colleagues  in  the  Senate  to   form  the  Citizens  United  Task  Force,  to  reduce  the  impact  of  the  Supreme  Court’s  2010  Citizens  United   decision.    The  taskforce  introduced  the  DISCLOSE  Act  of  2012,  which  requires  any  covered  organization   12    


that spends  $10,000  or  more  during  an  election  cycle  to  file  a  report  with  the  Federal  Election   Commission  within  24  hours,  detailing  the  amount  and  nature  of  each  expenditure  over  $1,000  and  the   names  of  all  of  its  donors  who  gave  $10,000  or  more.    Michael  and  the  task  force  pushed  twice  in  July   2012  for  passage  of  the  legislation,  and  Michael  spoke  about  the  importance  of  the  issue  on  the  Senate   floor;  however,  a  minority  of  Senators  filibustered  the  bill  twice.  In  addition,  in  February  2012,  Michael   led  members  of  the  task  force  in  a  letter  to  the  commissioner  of  the  Internal  Revenue  Service  (IRS),   calling  on  the  IRS  to  investigate  whether  organizations  claiming  tax-­‐exempt  status  are  engaging  in  a   substantial  amount  of  campaign  activity.  Michael  and  Senator  Tom  Udall  have  also  introduced  a   constitutional  amendment  to  grant  Congress  and  the  states  the  authority  to  regulate  the  campaign   finance  system.  

Pushing for  Stricter  Rules  on  Washington  Lobbying   As  part  of  a  larger  package  designed  to  reform  the  worst  excesses  of  Washington,  Michael  had   previously  proposed  new  stricter  rules  to  shut  the  revolving  door  of  lobbyist  influence  in  Washington   by  banning  Members  of  Congress  from  ever  becoming  lobbyists.  In  February,  Michael  and  Senator   Tester  filed  an  amendment  to  a  larger  bill  that  would  have  made  this  proposal  law.    The  amendment   would  have  placed  a  lifetime  ban  on  current  members  of  Congress  from  becoming  lobbyists,  banned   congressional  staff  from  lobbying  their  former  boss  for  six  years,  created  a  more  accessible  website  for   public  reporting  of  lobbying  activities,  improved  disclosure  requirements,  and  made  other  positive   changes  to  the  current  law.    Michael  continues  to  push  for  passage  of  this  legislation,  in  order  to   ensure  that  Washington  lobbyists  can’t  drown  out  the  voices  of  Coloradans.        

STANDING  UP  FOR  COLORADO  WOMEN,  STUDENTS,  AND  FAMILIES    

Providing a  Forum  for  Advancing  and  Creating  Opportunity  for  Women     Last  October,  Michael  partnered  with  the  University  of  Denver  Women’s  College  and  Alchemy   Consulting  to  host  the  first  annual  Women’s  Leadership  Forum.    Over  130  leaders  from  around  the   state  attended  the  forum  to  talk  about  how  to  foster  an  environment  in  Colorado  that  continues  to   advance  and  create  new  opportunities  for  women.    Through  their  discussions  on  tax  policy,   entrepreneurship,  health  care,  and  fulfilling  our  obligations  to  our  women  veterans,  forum  participants   were  able  to  develop  policy  recommendations  that  will  serve  as  a  road  map  for  Michael’s  work  on   women’s  issues  in  the  months  to  come.       Preventing  Student  Loan  Interest  Rates  from  Doubling   Michael  successfully  fought  to  keep  interest  rates  from  doubling  on  federal  student  loans  this  year,   which  would  have  hit  more  than  166,000  college  students  in  Colorado.    The  average  2011  bachelor's   degree  recipient  in  Colorado  graduated  owing  $23,662,  according  to  the  Colorado  Department  of   Higher  Education.    The  current  3.4  percent  rate  on  subsidized  Stafford  student  loans  was  set  to  double   at  the  end  of  June.    Michael  joined  students  at  the  University  of  Colorado  and  other  colleges  and   universities  across  Colorado  to  highlight  the  issue  and  put  pressure  on  Congress  to  extend  the  current   more  affordable  rate.    A  provision  extending  the  lower  rate  for  an  additional  year  was  included  in  a   larger  package  due  to  pressure  applied  by  Michael  and  others,  and  became  law  at  the  end  of  June   2012.       13    


Opposed Restricting  Access  to  Contraception   In  March  2012,  Michael  railed  against  an  amendment  offered  by  Senator  Roy  Blunt  that  would  have   restricted  access  to  contraception.    Before  he  voted  against  the  amendment,  Michael  argued,  “I  have  a   wife  and  three  daughters  .  .  .  and  one  thing  I  know  is  they  don’t  need  to  be  told  by  the  government   how  to  make  their  own  health  care  decisions,  nor  do  the  362,000  Colorado  women  who  would  be   affected  immediately  if  this  amendment  passed.  This  amendment  is  written  so  broadly  that  it  would   allow  any  employer  to  deny  any  health  service  to  any  American  for  virtually  any  reason,  not  just  for   religious  objections.”    The  amendment  failed.    

Successfully Pushing  to  End  Deportation  of  Eligible  Young  Immigrants   In  June  2012,  the  Obama  Administration  announced  that  certain  young  people  who  were  brought  to   the  United  States  as  children,  do  not  present  a  risk  to  national  security  or  public  safety,  and  meet   several  key  criteria  will  be  considered  for  relief  from  removal  from  the  country  or  from  entering  into   removal  proceedings.  Those  who  demonstrate  that  they  meet  the  criteria  will  be  eligible  on  a  case-­‐by-­‐ case  basis  to  receive  deferred  action  for  a  period  of  two  years,  subject  to  renewal,  and  will  be  eligible   to  apply  for  work  authorization.  It’s  estimated  that  at  least  15,000  young  Coloradans  are  eligible  to   apply  under  the  new  program;  U.S.  Citizenship  and  Immigration  Services  began  accepting  applications   for  deferred  action  in  August  of  2012.    In  2011,  Michael  joined  21  of  his  colleagues  in  writing  to   President  Obama  to  push  for  this  new  policy.    The  young  immigrants  who  stand  to  benefit  from  this   policy  are  commonly  referred  to  as  “Dreamers,”  after  the  DREAM  Act,  a  bill  Michael  cosponsored   which  would  have  implemented  the  policy  legislatively,  but  which  a  minority  of  Senators  succeeded  in   filibustering  in  previous  years.    

Supporting a  Visa  System  That  Keeps  Families  Together    

This past  summer,  Michael  joined  Senator  Bob  Menendez  in  sending  a  letter  to  the  Department  of   Homeland  Security  in  support  of  administrative  action  that  would  help  prevent  families  from  being   torn  apart  and  increase  efficiency  in  our  visa  system.  The  rule  change,  finalized  at  the  beginning  of   2013,  allows  qualified  immigrant  spouses  and  children  to  remain  in  the  country  with  their  family   members  while  they  apply  for  a  hardship  waiver  in  order  to  stay  in  the  United  States  and  undergo  the   process  to  obtain  a  green  card.  Before  this  change,  these  individuals  without  legal  status  were  forced   to  return  to  their  home  countries  to  apply  for  the  waiver  without  the  certainty  of  seeing  their  loved   ones  again  for  months  or  even  years.    

ADVOCATING  FOR  RURAL  COMMUNITIES    

Increasing Transit  Funding  for  Colorado’s  Rural  Communities     Michael  successfully  pushed  to  pass  a  final  transportation  bill  that  provides  more  certainty  for  highway   and  transit  projects  in  Colorado.    The  bill,  enacted  into  law  in  June  2012,  reauthorizes  our  highway  and   transit  programs  for  the  next  2  years,  providing  some  needed  certainty  for  Colorado  businesses  after  a   series  of  short-­‐term  extensions.  Michael  secured  an  amendment  in  the  final  bill  which  modified  the   rural  transit  formula  to  account  for  the  number  of  miles  traveled  on  rural  transit  trips  –  this  common-­‐ sense  improvement  means  that  Colorado’s  share  of  rural  transit  funding  will  increase.    Michael  also   14    


secured a  provision  that  authorizes  $10  million  per  year  to  award  competitive  grants  for  transit-­‐ oriented  development  planning  purposes,  allowing  urban  and  rural  communities  alike  to  plan  mixed-­‐ used  communities  centered  around  transit  hubs  more  effectively.  

Long  Term  Certainty  on  FAA  Reauthorization  for  Colorado’s  Economy:      

Congress finally  passed  the  Federal  Aviation  Administration  (FAA)  Reauthorization  Bill  earlier  this  year,   after  23  temporary  extensions,  one  partial  shutdown  and  numerous  unnecessary  delays.    Last  year,   Michael  advocated  on  numerous  occasions,  including  on  the  floor  of  the  Senate,  for  the  passing  the   FAA  reauthorization  to  provide  certainty  for  Colorado  businesses,  airports  and  travelers.    The  bill   authorizes  funding  for  the  FAA  for  the  next  four  years,  including  $3.35  billion  per  year  for  the  Airport   Improvement  Program  (AIP),  which  provides  grants  to  airports  in  Colorado  to  make  needed   improvements.    The  bill  also  makes  investments  in  the  Next  Generation  Air  Transportation  System   (NextGen),  a  satellite-­‐based  GPS  navigation  system,  which  will  reduce  delays  in  Colorado  and  across   the  country.  The  bill  also  helped  to  maintain  flights  out  of  Alamosa,  Cortez,  and  Pueblo  airports.     Standing  Up  Against  Increasing  Grazing  Fees     Michael  wrote  a  letter  opposing  the  Administration’s  proposed  doubling  of  grazing  fees  in  2012.     County  Commissioners  and  ranchers  on  the  West  Slope  argued  that  the  grazing  fee  increase  was   unfair,  especially  in  a  year  when  ranchers  were  already  hit  hard  with  the  drought  and  low  cattle  prices.     The  Administration  decided  not  to  raise  the  fees.  

Advocating  for  Broadband  to  Silverton    

Silverton was  the  only  county  seat  left  out  of  the  original  agreement  between  Qwest  and  the  State  of   Colorado  to  bring  broadband  fiber  to  all  counties  in  Colorado.    In  winter  of  2011,  Michael  organized  a   meeting  with  local  leaders;  the  Governor’s  office,  FCC,  Eaglenet,  Ouray  County  Commissioner  Lynn   Padgett  and  other  stakeholders  to  discuss  options  for  moving  forward  on  this  issue.    The  meeting   elevated  the  importance  of  the  issue  within  the  Administration  and  has  led  to  continued  work  towards   a  solution  in  2012.    

Supporting  Northwest  Colorado’s  Application  for  Economic  Development  Assistance      

For the  past  several  years,  the  Northwest  Colorado  Council  of  Governments  had  tried  unsuccessfully  to   obtain  a  designation  as  an  “economic  development  district”  from  the  federal  Economic  Development   Administration  (EDA).    The  designation  would  help  the  region  apply  for  competitive  grants  to  boost   tourism  and  promote  commercial  activity  across  the  area.    After  hearing  about  the  importance  of  the   issue,  Michael  and  his  staff  shared  relevant  data  with  EDA,  highlighted  the  issue  through  multiple   conversations  with  local  representatives  of  the  agency,  and  finally  persuaded  the  regional  and  national   EDA  office  to  award  the  designation  in  2012.       Supporting  Colorado  Potato  Farmers  by  Boosting  Exports   Over  60  percent  of  U.S.  potato  exports  to  Mexico  come  from  Colorado  San  Luis  Valley  farmers.   Unfortunately,  significant  trade  barriers  currently  prevent  these  potatoes  from  reaching  many  Mexican   consumers.    Michael  has  repeatedly  fought  to  support  these  farmers  by  boosting  U.S.  potato  exports   to  Mexico:   15    


Ø Michael pushed  the  Administration  to  resolve  a  trucking  dispute  between  the  two  countries  that   resulted  in  hefty  retaliatory  tariffs  placed  on  U.S.  potatoes  and  other  agriculture  exports.    Resolving   the  dispute  lifted  these  tariffs,  making  Colorado  exports  more  competitive  in  Mexico.       Ø Mexico  continues  to  block  access  to  markets  outside  a  26-­‐kilometer  zone  below  the  U.S.-­‐Mexico   border  by  claiming  that  potatoes  grown  in  the  U.S.  may  contain  pests  that  will  harm  the  country’s   agriculture  industry,  yet  an  independent  panel  convened  by  both  the  U.S.  and  Mexico  has   confirmed  that  these  pest-­‐related  concerns  are  unfounded  in  science  and  do  not  provide   reasonable  ground  for  blocking  market  access.  Senator  Udall  recently  led  a  bipartisan  letter  of   senators  to  President  Obama,  which  Michael  joined,  urging  the  President  to  make  resolving  this   potato  issue  a  top  priority.  

Urging Caution  on  Agriculture  Regulatory  Changes     The  Department  of  Labor  proposed  a  rule  in  2011  to  update  child  safety  standards  for  agricultural  work   under  the  Fair  Labor  Standards  Act.    The  new  rule  would  have  prevented  children  under  age  16  from   handling  pesticide,  operating  heavy  machinery,  cutting  timber  and  performing  other  agricultural  tasks   identified  as  hazardous  to  children  by  the  National  Institute  for  Occupational  Safety  and  Health.   In  response  to  concerns  heard  from  Colorado  farmers  and  ranchers  about  the  impact  the  new  rule   would  have  on  family  farms,  Michael  wrote  a  letter  with  Senator  Udall  encouraging  the  Department  of   Labor  to  take  into  account  the  concerns  of  Colorado  farmers  and  ranchers  before  making  any  decisions   about  finalizing  the  rule.  The  letter  was  well  received  by  the  agricultural  community  across  Colorado.   The  Department  of  Labor  withdrew  this  proposed  rule  in  April  2012.     Pushing  for  An  Immigration  System  that  Works  for  Agriculture     Michael  has  routinely  spoken  with  farmers  and  ranchers  across  Colorado  struggling  with  labor   shortages  driven  in  large  part  by  convoluted  and  inflexible  immigration  policies  that  hurt  our  economy   and  undermine  our  state’s  robust  agriculture  industry.  In  March  2012,  Michael  led  a  bipartisan  letter  to   Secretary  Hilda  Solis  expressing  serious  concerns  regarding  the  H-­‐2A  guest  worker  program.  In  the   letter,  Bennet  called  for  improving  and  streamlining  the  administration  of  H-­‐2A  visas  to  better  meet   the  needs  of  business.  The  letter  further  asked  the  Department  of  Labor  and  other  H-­‐2A  managing   agencies  to  strengthen  the  program  through  better  communication  with  local  representatives  and   businesses.  The  Department  of  Labor  has  since  announced  the  creation  of  an  H-­‐2A  Ombudsman  to   work  directly  with  producers  to  resolve  complaints  and  concerns  and  now  allows  H-­‐2A  program  users   to  prepare  and  file  applications  online.    

PUBLIC LANDS  AND  NATURAL  RESOURCES    

Draft Thompson  Divide  Bill   Michael  released  a  draft  bill  in  summer  2012  for  the  management  of  the  Thompson  Divide  area   southwest  of  Carbondale.  His  draft  bill  offers  a  middle  ground  solution  to  the  ongoing  conversation   about  Thompson  Divide’s  future.  It  presents  an  option  that  would  withdraw  un-­‐leased  public  minerals   in  the  area  from  future  oil  and  gas  development  while  also  preserving  existing  private  property  rights   16    


for current  leaseholders.  The  bill  also  creates  an  opportunity  for  existing  leases  to  be  retired  should   they  be  donated  or  sold  by  willing  owners.  The  bill  was  drafted  at  the  request  of  local  governments  and   following  a  series  of  conversations  Michael  held  with  a  unique  coalition  of  Colorado  leaseholders,   elected  officials,  ranchers,  advocacy  groups  and  community  leaders.  It  has  been  endorsed  by  the   Garfield,  Gunnison  and  Pitkin  county  commissions.         Establishment  of  Sangre  de  Cristo  Conservation  Area     Michael  helped  secure  formal  establishment  of  the  Sangre  de  Cristo  Conservation  Area  in  the  San  Luis   Valley,  which  Interior  Secretary  Ken  Salazar  signed  in  September  2012.  The  agreement  was  made   possible  by  the  donation  of  a  nearly  77,000-­‐acre  conservation  easement  by  Louis  Bacon.  

Extension  of  the  BLM  Comment  Period  for  the  New  Fracturing  Rule       At  the  request  of  natural  gas  companies  in  Colorado,  Michael  requested  an  extension,  with  Senator   Udall,  of  the  comment  period  of  a  proposed  rule  that  would  “require  the  disclosure  of  hydraulic   fracturing  fluids,  as  well  as  reporting  requirements,  certifications,  approvals  and  standards  for  well   construction  and  management  of  produced  water.”    The  Department  of  Interior  extended  the   comment  period  on  the  rule  by  60  days.  

Supported  Passage  of  NAT  GAS  Act        

The “NAT  GAS  Act”  would  have  provided  greater  federal  support  for  natural  gas  vehicles.    Specifically,   it  would  have  created  smart  incentives  in  the  tax  code  to  ramp  up  penetration  of  natural  gas  vehicles   and  infrastructure.    Estimates  say  the  Nat  Gas  Act  would  put  700,000  natural  gas  vehicles  on  the  road   in  10  years,  all  while  displacing  20  billion  gallons  of  petroleum  and  creating  millions  of  direct  and   indirect  jobs.    Michael  went  to  the  Senate  floor  to  call  for  support  of  the  bill,  and  he  voted  for  passage.     Colorado  River  Valley  BLM  Plan  Extension   In  January  2012,  the  Bureau  of  Land  Management  was  preparing  to  close  a  public  comment  period  on   the  draft  Resource  Management  Plan  (RMP)  for  the  500,000  acres  of  public  land  managed  by  the   BLM’s  Colorado  River  Valley  Field  Office.    The  BLM  had  already  granted  an  extra  32  days  on  top  of  the   standard  90-­‐day  comment  period  for  the  plan,  but  a  number  of  oil  and  gas  companies  and  trade   groups—as  well  as  some  counties,  and  conservation  groups—had  publicly  expressed  a  need  for   additional  time  to  research  the  complicated  document  in  order  to  submit  informed  comments.   Congressman  Tipton  and  Governor  Hickenlooper  had  also  requested  additional  time.    Senator  Bennet   wrote  a  letter  to  Secretary  Salazar  and  then-­‐BLM  Directory  Abbey  requesting  an  additional  90  days,   prompting  the  Executive  Director  from  the  West  Slope  Colorado  Oil  and  Gas  Association  to  state  that   “it  doesn’t  matter  if  you’re  a  Democrat  or  Republican  or  if  you’re  an  energy  producer  or  an   environmentalist,  it’s  important  to  everybody  to  get  it  right.”  Four  days  later,  the  BLM  extended  the   comment  period  by  an  additional  42  days.  A  final/proposed  RMP  is  expected  in  summer  2013.       Hermosa  Creek  Watershed  Protection  Legislation   Michael  has  been  working  with  local  stakeholders  to  protect  108,000  acres  of  San  Juan  National  Forest   land  between  Durango  and  Silverton.    He  formally  introduced  legislation  to  enshrine  the  local   community’s  vision  for  this  area  in  July  2012.     17    


DISASTER RESPONSE    

Supporting the  Wildfire  Recovery     Michael  worked  vigorously  with  Senator  Udall  and  the  rest  of  the  Colorado  delegation  to  ensure   Coloradans  got  the  support  they  needed  in  the  wake  of  the  devastating  wildfires  that  swept  the  state   earlier  this  summer.       Ø Michael  and  Senator  Udall  succeeded  in  including  necessary  funding  for  the  Colorado  wildfires  in  a   larger  disaster  supplemental  package  passed  by  the  Senate  at  the  end  of  2012.  Colorado  urgently   needs  supplementary  funding  for  the  Emergency  Watershed  Protection  fund  (EWP)  to  help  the   state  rebuild  water  management  systems  that  were  damaged  and  destroyed  in  the  High  Park  and   Waldo  Canyon  fires,  putting  Colorado  communities  at  increased  risk  of  flooding.  After  writing  a   bipartisan  letter  to  the  President  and  the  Appropriation  committees  with  Senator  Udall  and  other   Colorado  representatives,  as  well  as  introducing  a  stand-­‐along  bill,  the  Senate  leadership  was   persuaded  to  pass  a  disaster  supplemental  package  with  $125  million  in  EWP  funding  shortly   before  Christmas  2012.  Michael  is  currently  pushing  the  House  of  Representatives  to  include  EWP   funds  in  its  disaster  supplemental  in  the  new  Congress.     Ø Previously,  Michael  and  Senator  Udall  led  the  Colorado  congressional  delegation  in  signing  a  letter   to  President  Obama  urging  him  to  support  a  federal  expedited  major  disaster  declaration  for  the   Colorado  fires  which  was  issued  June  29th.    He  then  joined  the  rest  of  the  delegation  in  supporting   the  Governor’s  request  for  FEMA  Public  Assistance  through  the  disaster  declaration  to  be  expanded   across  additional  counties  and  added  to  additional  counties.     Ø Michael  and  the  Colorado  delegation  called  on  the  Administration  to  make  SBA  disaster  loans  for   businesses  and  homeowners  available  in  Colorado.    SBA  began  issuing  these  loans  earlier  this   month.    Michael  and  his  staff  also  worked  with  Colorado  Springs  to  obtain  a  grant  from  the   Economic  Development  Administration  (EDA)  to  help  the  community  recover  from  the  economic   impact  of  the  Waldo  Canyon  fire.     Ø Michael  cosponsored  an  insurance  provision  enacted  into  law  at  the  end  of  June  that  allows  the   FEMA  administrator  to  waive  the  30-­‐day  waiting  period  for  flood  insurance  policies  purchased  for   private  properties  affected  by  wildfire  on  Federal  lands.    He  then  pushed  FEMA  to  promptly  waive   the  30-­‐day  requirement  for  affected  Colorado  homeowners;  FEMA  did  so  within  days.     Ø Michael  also  wrote  to  the  Chairman  and  Ranking  member  of  the  appropriations  subcommittee  in   charge  of  funding  the  Forest  Service,  urging  that  the  committee  give  the  Forest  Service  the   resources  necessary  to  modernize  and  replace  the  current  aging  tanker  fleet.     18    


Pushing for  Drought  Assistance  for  Colorado   Michael  pushed  to  ensure  that  Colorado  received  relief  for  the  drought  that  affected  agricultural   production  and  rural  communities  in  Colorado  during  2012.    He  worked  to  ensure  that  counties   afflicted  by  dry  conditions  were  eligible  for  disaster  assistance  from  the  USDA,  and  saw  the  damage   created  by  the  drought  firsthand  by  traveling  through  farm  country  to  meet  with  farmers,  ranchers,   and  small  businesses.    Michael  later  spoke  on  the  Senate  floor  to  call  attention  to  the  drought’s  impact   on  Colorado,  and  to  highlight  how  moving  a  Farm  Bill  forward  would  help  to  provide  relief.    Michael   also  invited  Rick  Palkowitsh,  a  corn  farmer  from  Burlington,  Colorado,  to  Washington  to  discuss  the   drought  and  importance  of  passing  a  Farm  Bill  with  the  Democratic  Steering  and  Outreach  Committee;   Mr.  Palkowitsh  was  the  only  farmer  from  the  entire  50  states  on  a  panel  of  CEOs  and  trade  association   leadership.    

BRINGING  TOGETHER  THE  DELEGATION  FOR  COLORADO  

Spaceport Colorado   A  spaceport  is  similar  to  an  airport,  but  allows  travelers  to  reach  their  destinations  by  traveling  outside   of  Earth’s  atmosphere,  cutting  a  trip  to  Australia,  for  example,  from  nearly  20  hours  to  under  five.    The   entire  delegation  signed  a  Bennet–initiated  letter  to  the  FAA  Associate  Administrator  for  Commercial   Space  Transportation  outlining  the  benefits  of  locating  a  spaceport  in  Colorado  and  demonstrating   unified  congressional  support  for  the  project.    In  addition,  Michael  coordinated  a  delegation-­‐wide   support  letter  for  a  $200,000  Space  Transportation  Infrastructure  Matching  (STIM)  Grant  for  the   project.  –  the  grant  was  announced  in  September  2012.    The  funding  will  allow  a  coalition  of  leaders  in   the  Colorado  aerospace  sector  to  conduct  a  feasibility  study  on  locating  a  spaceport  in  the  Denver   area.    This  is  the  first  step  in  a  process  that  could  ultimately  land  a  spaceport  with  a  horizontal  launch   site  in  Colorado,    transforming  the  state  into  a  hub  for  commercial  space  flight.     Creation  of  a  Colorado  Innovation  Economy  SWAT  Team     Based  on  a  recommendation  from  Michael’s  Colorado  Competes  Innovation  Roundtable,  Michael  is   working  with  the  leadership  and  board  of  Colorado  Concern,  a  statewide  organization  of  100  business   leaders,  to  set  up  the  foundation  to  form  a  SWAT  Team.  The  purpose  of  the  SWAT  Team  is  to   encourage  bipartisan  and  unified  collaboration  among  key  government  and  industry  leaders  to  better   compete  for  strategic  initiatives  that  will  advance  Colorado’s  economy.  Initiatives  may  include   advocating  for  federal  programs  key  to  Colorado  (e.g.,  NASA  program  funding)  or  working  together  to   attract  a  federal  government  asset.    

Pushing for  Less  Burdensome  Capital  Requirements  

In September  2012,  Michael  led  a  Colorado  delegation-­‐wide  letter  to  Federal  Reserve  Chairman  Ben   Bernanke  and  other  federal  officials,  expressing  concern  about  new  proposed  financial  regulatory   standards,  known  as  the  BASEL  III  capital  ratio  requirements,  that  would  require  many  banks  to   increase  capital  and  liquidity  holdings  dramatically.    Michael  and  the  rest  of  the  delegation  argued  that   while  Colorado  financial  institutions  were  already  taking  steps  to  increase  their  capital  reserves  in   response  to  the  Dodd-­‐Frank  law  and  the  financial  crisis  of  2008,  the  proposed  BASEL  III  requirements   19    


would severely  limit  lending  by  community  banks  in  Colorado  and  across  the  U.S.,  with  a  negative   overall  impact  on  economic  growth.        

IRAN SANCTIONS  

Iran Sanctions  Legislation  with  Bennet  Amendment     Congress  enacted  and  the  President  signed  into  law  the  Iran  Threat  Reduction  and  Syria  Human  Rights   Act  of  2012  earlier  this  summer.    The  bill  includes  an  amendment,  led  by  Michael  and  Senator  Robert   Menendez  (D-­‐NJ),  which  will  improve  reporting  requirements  on  Iran’s  energy  sector  to  monitor  the   effectiveness  of  sanctions.    The  Menendez-­‐Bennet  amendment  strengthens  the  sanctions  against  Iran   by  requiring  the  President  to  report  on  the  imports  and  exports  of  Iranian  crude  oil  and  refined   petroleum  products  to  monitor  the  effectiveness  of  the  economic  sanctions.  

  ADDITIONAL  HIGHLIGHTS  FROM  2009-­‐2011  

Passage  of  Patent  Reform  

In Fall  2011,  Michael  helped  pass  the  first  significant  reform  of  the  patent  system  in  over  half  a  century   into  law.    The  new  law  includes  a  transition  to  a  first-­‐to-­‐file  system  from  a  first-­‐to-­‐invent  system;  a  ban   on  the  practice  of  granting  patents  for  business  methods;  and  more  control  granted  to  the  Patent  and   Trademark  Office  over  the  fees  it  collects.      In  addition  to  the  satellite  office  mentioned  above,  Michael   also  successfully  included  amendments  in  the  final  legislation  that  would  make  the  patent  process   more  affordable  for  small  businesses,  provide  a  fast-­‐track  process  for  patents  important  to  national   competitiveness  and  allow  courts  to  remove  uncertainty  in  patent  litigation.     Fighting  for  an  FDA  that  Fosters  Innovation  and  Competitiveness   In  late  August  2011,  Michael  invited  FDA  Commissioner  Hamburg  to  the  University  of  Colorado  to  meet   with  over  40  of  Colorado’s  bioscience  CEOs  and  top  researchers  to  discuss  the  need  to  modernize  the   FDA  regulatory  system.      Michael  also  followed  the  discussion  with  a  letter  to  the  Commissioner  urging   the  FDA  to  reform  regulations  so  that  they  foster  innovation  and  competitiveness  and  serve  as  a  driver   of  the  global  economy.          

Led the  Delegation  in  Support  of  the  Effort  to  Bring  the  National  Solar  Observatory   (NSO)  Headquarters  to  Colorado  

In May  2011,  Michael  led  a  letter  from  the  Colorado  delegation  and  Governor  Hickenlooper  expressing   support  for  the  location  of  the  NSO  headquarters  in  Colorado.    Due  to  the  hard  work  by  the  University   of  Colorado  and  the  unified  support  of  the  Delegation,  AURA  announced  in  September  that  it  had   recommended  Boulder  as  the  new  location  for  the  NSO  headquarters.    According  to  the  Colorado   Daily,  the  move  would  result  in  jobs  for  up  to  70  scientists,  engineers  and  staff  members  with  an   annual  payroll  of  roughly  $20  million.    

20  


Led the  Delegation  in  Support  of  Arrow  Electronics  Moving  Its  Headquarters  to   Colorado  at  Governor  Hickenlooper’s  Request   In  July  2011,  Michael  brought  the  delegation  together  in  a  letter  in  support  of  Arrow  Electronics   moving  its  headquarters  to  Colorado.    Last  month,  the  company  announced  that  Colorado  would  be  its   new  home.    The  move  will  bring  an  additional  1250  jobs  over  the  next  five  years  to  our  state  and,   according  to  Steve  McMillion  (Business  Editor  for  the  Denver  Post),  will  “arguably  make  Colorado  the   premier  electronics  state  overnight.”  [Denver  Post,  10/28/2011]    

Started the  Conversation  on  How  We  can  Work  Together  to  Build  the  Right   Environment  in  Colorado  for  Innovation  to  Thrive  

In spring  and  summer  2011  Michael  completed  a  series  of  discussions  on  the  innovation  economy  that   included  CEOs  and  other  business  leaders  from  the  aerospace,  bioscience,  and  clean  energy  industries.   The  discussions  resulted  in  a  report  entitled  “Colorado  Competes:  A report on Colorado Job Creation, Collaboration, Innovation,”  which  Michael  shared  with  the  entire  Colorado  delegation  summarizing   specific  policy  options  the  businesses  believed  would  help  to  build  the  right  environment  in  Colorado   for  the  innovation-­‐based  industries  to  thrive.      Work  is  underway  to  implement  many  of  the   recommendations  in  the  report.  

Using  Colorado  as  a  Forum  for  a  Real  Conversation  

When it  was  clear  Washington  wasn’t  moving  forward  with  a  serious  conversation  on  the  deficit  in   spring  of  2011,  Michael  moved  the  conversation  to  Colorado  and  hosted  forums  with  national  and  local   leaders  to  discuss  our  nation’s  fiscal  condition  and  potential  solutions  to  the  problem.       Building  a  Colorado-­‐Based  Agenda  for  Colorado’s  Veterans   In  August  2011,  Michael  organized  a  Colorado  Veterans  Forum  in  Denver  and  Colorado  Springs.    This   event  brought  together  veterans  advocates,  health  experts,  and  service  providers  from  across  our  state   to  come  together  to  discuss  how  we  make  Colorado  the  best  place  for  veterans  to  live.    Forum   participants  plan  on  presenting  their  findings  to  Michael  in  the  coming  weeks.    

Passed Legislation  Allowing  Ski  Areas  to  Bolster  their  Offerings  of  Snow  and  Summer   Sports  

Michael was  cosponsor  and  supported  passage  of  Mark  Udall’s  Ski  Area  Recreational  Opportunity   Enhancement  Act,  which  passed  Congress  with  widespread  bipartisan  support  and  pass  signed  into  law   in  November  2011.    The  bill  clarifies  that  the  Forest  Service  can  permit  appropriate  recreational   activities  such  as  snowboarding,  concerts  and  ropes  courses  in  addition  to  the  alpine  and  Nordic  skiing   already  allowed  in  ski  areas.    The  legislation  would  let  ski  areas  bolster  their  offerings  of  both  snow  and   summer  sports,  allowing  mountain  communities  to  grow  local  jobs  and  attract  more  tourists  who  fuel   their  economy.    

Introduced Legislation  that  Would  Require  Home  Energy  Costs  to  Be  Taken  into   Account  

Michael introduced  (with  Senator  Isakson  R-­‐GA)  the  SAVE  (Sensible  Accounting  to  Value  Energy)  Act,   which    would  require  federal  mortgage  loan  agencies  to  consider  a  homeowner’s  expected  energy   21    


costs when  underwriting  home  loans.    The  bill  would  create  an  estimated  80,000  construction  jobs  as   homeowners  and  builders  seek  to  increase  energy  efficiency  and  make  improvements.    It  would  also   improve  the  accuracy  of  home  mortgage  underwriting.     Passed  Bipartisan  Legislation  to  Reform  No  Child  Left  Behind  out  of  Committee   Michael  was  part  of  the  bipartisan  group  that  negotiated  the  bill  to  fix  No  Child  Left  Behind  (NCLB)  and   he  fought  for  the  inclusion  of  changes  important  to  Colorado  teachers,  principals  and  parents.    In   October,  Michael  helped  pass  the  legislation  out  of  Committee  with  bipartisan  support.    Michael   fought  for  changes  to  NCLB  that  including:     Ø Make  it  Easier  for  Great  Teachers  to  Teach:  Michael  helped  to  write  the  Teacher  Pathways   Program  in  the  bill  that  would  provide  federal  support  for  teacher  preparation  programs  that   train  great  teachers  for  high-­‐need  schools  and  subjects.         Ø Create  Places  for  Teachers  and  Principals  to  Learn:  Michael  introduced  and  passed  an   amendment  (with  Senator  Alexander)  that  would  allow  states  to  create  teacher  and  principal   academies  that  will  train  teachers  and  principals  working  in  high-­‐need  schools.    The  academies   would  not  only  train  teachers  and  principals,  but  also  hold  them  accountable  for  results.     Ø Create  Competitive  Grants  for  Innovative  Approaches  to  Teacher  Rewards:  Teacher  Incentive   Fund:    Michael  fought  for  first-­‐time  authorization  of  the  Teacher  Incentive  Fund,  which   provides  competitive  grants  to  school  districts  that  come  up  with  innovative  ways  to  reform   their    systems  for  rewarding  teachers.     Ø Help  Veterans  Become  Teachers:  Michael  introduced  the  Post  9/11Troops  to  Teachers  Act  of   2009  along  with  along  with  Sen.  John  McCain.  The  bill  reauthorized  and  updated  a  program  to   help  veterans  serve  in  the  classroom  after  they  finish  military  service.    The  ESEA   Reauthorization  included  an  expansion  to  the  Troops  to  Teachers  program,  which  will  help   veterans  serve  in  the  classroom  after  they  serve  in  the  military.         Ø Ensure  the  Best  Principals  Serve  Where  They  are  Needed  Most:  Michael  has  fought  for   legislation  to  provide  great  principals  the  training  and  support  they  need  to  lead  effectively  in   the  nation’s  lowest  performing  schools.      Michael’s  “LEAD  Act,”  would  ensure  we  have  strong   principals  in  public  schools  and  many  provisions  of  the  LEAD  Act  are  included  in  the  ESEA   reauthorization  bill.    In  addition,  Michael  passed  an  amendment  to  create  a  new  Princpal   Pathways  program  to  support  recruiting  and  training  great  principals  in  high-­‐need  schools.     Ø Ensure  Federal  Resources  Go  to  the  Right  Places:    Michael  introduced  the  Fiscal  Fairness  Act   along  (with  Republican  Senator  Thad  Cochran)  which  closes  a  long-­‐standing  loophole  that  often   results  in  federal  resources  going  to  affluent  schools  instead  of  the  low-­‐income  schools  they   were  intended  to  serve.    This  provision  is  included  in  ESEA  2011.     Ø Allow  for  a  Colorado-­‐Based  Accountability  System:  Michael  fought  to  include  language  in  ESEA   reauthorization  that  allows  states  to  implement  more  useful  accountability  systems—like  the   Colorado  Growth  Model-­‐-­‐  than  the  one  currently  allowed  under  NCLB.       22    


Ø Learn Where  and  Why  We  Are  Testing  Students  and  Cut  Red  Tape:  Michael  introduced  an   amendment,  cosponsored  with  Senator  Lamar  Alexander,  to  create  a  commission  that  will   study  the  regulations  and  assessment  systems  in  schools  and  determine  their  effectiveness.     Ø Invest  in  Cutting-­‐Edge  Education:  Michael  introduced  an  amendment  to  invest  in  research  and   development  that  will  aggressively  pursue  breakthroughs  in  technology  that  empower  teaching   and  learning.    This  will  be  modeled  after  the  successful  research  done  in  the  Department  of   Defense  that  resulted  in  the  creation  of  the  internet  and  GPS  technology.         Ø Improving  Teacher  Preparation:  Michael  also  advocated  for  the  development  of  the   Presidential  Teacher  Corps  and  introduced  the  GREAT  Teachers  and  Principals  Act,  a  bipartisan   bill.    Elements  of  these  proposals  were  included  in  a  recent  announcement  by  the  Department   of  Education  to  enact  regulations  to  improve  the  quality  of  teacher  training.     Ø Ensuring  High  Level  Instruction  to  English  Learners:    Michael  introduced  the  English  Learning   and  Innovation  Act  which  would  create  competitive  grant  programs  to  provide  resources  to   provide  high-­‐quality  instruction  that  enables  English  learners  to  acquire  English  and  prepare  for   college  and  beyond.     Ø Advocated  for  Flexibility  and  Support  for  Rural  Schools:  Earlier  this  year,  Michael  wrote   Secretary  Duncan  urging  him  to  provide  additional  flexibility  to  rural  schools  as  they  work  to   meet  the  standards  set  by  NCLB.    Michael  is  also  a  cosponsor  of  legislation  which  would  require   the  U.S.  Department  of  Education  to  study  the  effect  of  proposed  regulations  on  rural  schools.  

Supporting a  Strong  PACE  Program   The  Property-­‐Assessed  Clean  Energy  (PACE)  program  helps  homeowners  finance  clean  energy  and   energy  efficiency  improvements  on  their  properties.    The  program  allows  a  homeowner  to  pay  for   clean  energy  or  energy  efficiency  improvements  through  assessments  to  their  property  taxes  instead   of  paying  all  the  costs  up  front.    Several  counties  in  Colorado  have  benefitted  from  the  program  but   confusing  and  unhelpful  guidance  from  FHFA  has  stopped  PACE  in  its  tracks.    Michael  has  continued  his   leadership  towards  a  solution  to  this  issue.     Reducing  Readmission  Costs  Through  Preventing  Readmissions     In  2009,  Michael  introduced  the  Medicare  Care  Transitions  Act  which  was  signed  into  law  as  part  of  the   Affordable  Care  Act.  The  bill  is  based  on  the  work  by  Grand  Junction  and  Denver  reducing  readmissions   through  transitional  care.  Readmissions  cost  our  Medicare  program  $17  billion  a  year  for  seniors  that   are  going  into  the  hospital  and  coming  back  within  the  same  month  for  problems  that  are  preventable.     In  April,  the  Administration  began  implementation  of  the  program.       Protecting  Intangible  Drilling  Cost  and  Percentage  Depletion  deductions     In  2010,  the  Administration  and  some  Members  of  Congress  wanted  to  repeal  the  Intangible  Drilling   Cost  and  Percentage  Depletion  deductions  essential  to  the  survival  of  Colorado’s  independent  natural   gas  producers.    Michael  has  repeatedly  heard  about  the  importance  of  those  deductions  to  the  survival   23    


and strength  of  Colorado’s  small  natural  gas  producers.    Michael  voted  against  repealing  the   deductions,  stopping  the  repeal,  and  the  amendment  failed.      

Passing the  Pay  it  Back  Act      

Michael wrote  and  passed  the  Pay  it  Back  Act,  which  required  paid  back  Troubled  Asset  Relief  Program   (TARP)  funds  to  go  to  deficit  reduction.      The  legislation  also  ensured  that  repaid  banking,  housing  and   auto  bailout  funds  were  used  to  pay  down  the  deficit,  not  fund  further  spending,  and  it  reduced  the   authority  of  the  TARP  program.    The  legislation  was  signed  into  law  in  July  2010  as  part  of  a  larger   package.        

A Record  of  Pushing  for  Legislation  to  Reduce  the  Deficit   Michael  drafted  and  introduced  new  legislation  in  2009,  known  as  the  Deficit  Reduction  Act,  which   would  impose  a  limit  of  3%  of  GDP  on  the  deficit.    He  also  helped  implement  new  budget  rules  known   as  PAYGO  in  the  111th  Congress,  requiring  Congress  to  offset  any  new  spending  and  tax  cuts.  Michael   originally  pushed  for  a  version  of  PAYGO  that  was  even  stricter,  with  fewer  exceptions  and  loopholes,   than  the  final  budget  rules  that  were  ultimately  agreed  to.  Finally,  during  the  debate  over  the  health   care  reform  legislation  in  December  2009,  Michael  introduced  an  amendment  that  would  have  helped   ensure  the  final  law  stays  true  to  its  deficit  reduction  targets  by  requiring  the  Office  of  Management   and  Budget  (OMB)  to  make  year-­‐by-­‐year  assessments  of  the  law's  costs,  determine  whether  the  bill  is   meeting  its  cost-­‐savings  targets,  and  put  in  place  a  procedural  fast-­‐track  to  bring  the  law's  savings  back   in  line  with  its  original  projections  if  necessary.      

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Working for Colorado: Team Bennet Accomplishments 2012  

A summary of the work performed by Senator Michael Bennet for the state of Colorado.

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