Mark Begich Logo

Get Updates:


The U.S. Senate is closer to taking up legislation to honor Lao- and Hmong-American veterans following passage last Wednesday in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of a bill that includes language to recognize those who served in the U.S. ‘Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War. The bill would advance, and study, granting burial honors and benefits to the Lao-Hmong at national cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The Senate omnibus veterans bill, and the effort to further honor, and review, the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ service, is being spearheaded by Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Vice Chairman Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and others,” said Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington. “Congressman Jim Costa (D-California) previously introduced the bill in the House.”

Sen. Mark Begich, in a letter written Friday, urged President Obama to reject calls for a boycott over the Snowden issue.

He asked Obama to react to strained U.S.-Russia relations with diplomatic efforts, “not a political gesture that would have the effect of further straining relations and damaging a symbol of international cooperation.”

The Winter Olympics have never been held in Russia, which last hosted an Olympics in 1980. Those were the Summer Olympics that the United States and 64 other nations boycotted because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviets boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) introduced a bill Thursday that would delay President Obama’s employer healthcare mandate for two years.

Begich, who is expected to have a tough reelection fight in 2016, introduced the Small Business Relief Plan, S. 1330, which combines five bills amending the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

“This package will give families and small businesses more options to choose from when picking a health plan, provide much needed tax credits to more small-business owners, reduce taxes for business expenses, and delay the employer responsibility reporting requirements and penalties to give businesses time to learn about the new law,” Begich said.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich held a huge fundraising lead over his Republican rivals during the latest reporting period.

The first-term Democrat, who expects a tough campaign, reported bringing in about $993,000 between April 1 and June 30, and ending the quarter with $2 million available for his re-election bid next year. Republicans see the Senate seat as critical to their efforts to regain control of the chamber.

The lawmakers who plan to gather outside the Capitol are among 79 members of Congress who have signed “problem solvers” pledges to try to overcome partisan divides and cooperate for the good of the country. They include 42 Democrats, 36 Republicans and one independent.

Sen. Mark Begich, an Anchorage, Alaska, Democrat, is one of seven senators in the group. He’s lead author of a bill, which he introduced Wednesday, directing federal agencies to work together and buy in bulk instead of making separate purchases of the same goods and services.

“Bulk purchasing seems so simple and logical, but if you don’t mandate it, every agency believes that what they’re buying is unique to their agency,” Begich said. “This is about good government and saving money for taxpayers.”

Even small volume discounts could recoup billions of dollars a year from the $500 billion in goods and services purchased annually by the federal government, Begich said.

A bipartisan group of 34 senators is putting fresh political pressure on Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to approve industry natural gas export applications that have piled up at the Energy Department.

The lawmakers, led by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), are also seeking certain changes to the review process aimed at speeding up approvals.

Moniz said in mid-June that he’s moving into a case-by-case review of applications, which follows a wider examination of data underpinning the Department of Energy’s analyses of the industry plans.

A new Senate letter to Moniz expresses concern that DOE’s timeline for decision-making will be too slow, leading the United States to lose out on global market share.

This go around is likely to be different. More than 50 Democratic senators have signed on as cosponsors, including Mark Begich. He said he’s long supported legal protection for LGBT people.

With Murkowski, the two other committee Republicans and Maine’s Susan Collins, supporters are close to the 60 vote threshold.

But House leaders have not said they’ll bring anything to the floor.

Begich said it’s worth moving through the Senate, even if the House won’t take it up.

“We vote on what we think is important and issues we can pass. But if we sit around and wait for them to pass stuff, I’ll be old and gray,” he said with a laugh.

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter, giving him more than $2 million cash on hand.

The first-term Democrat brought in $993,065 from April through June, according to a Federal Elections Commission filing shared early with POLITICO.

Begich has now raised about $4 million during this election cycle, and this is his strongest quarter so far. He brought in $948,000 during the first quarter.

Sarah Palin “quit on Alaska” as governor and “ has lost touch” with her home state, Sen. Mark Begich told POLITICO.

The Democratic senator said Palin, who said Tuesday she’s considering challenging him for his seat in 2014, might not even be a resident of Alaska and is someone he won’t take seriously unless she emerges from a competitive Republican primary.

“I don’t know if she’s a resident. She’s been away from Alaska a lot and has probably lost touch with what’s going on. She should go to my webpage,” Begich said. “Most Alaskans I see on a pretty regular basis, but I haven’t seen her for a long time.”

“We’re going to continue doing what I have been doing the last four-plus years, working hard for Alaska on many fronts,” Begich says. “And at the end of the day voters will decide on have we done a good job and have we delivered for Alaska.”

He adds: “Obviously, I’m biased; I think the answer is yes.”

Republicans, who need to gain six seats to win Senate control, will try to spend the next year and a half arguing that the answer is actually “no.”

Not that their job will be easy.