Mark Begich Logo

Get Updates:


Sen. Mark Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski hosted a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Saturday, hearing testimony at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention about subsistence concerns.

Begich called the field hearing to discuss “rural food security,” which the Democrat said centered around the ability of Alaska Natives to practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle.

Both Begich, a Democrat, and Murkowski, a Republican, said it’s a poorly understood issue among many of their colleagues.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

With the F-16 squadron at Eielson Air Force Base more secure, attention now turns to the possibility that the military installation a few dozen miles southeast of Fairbanks could host the next-generation fighter jet, the F-35. It’s good to see Alaska’s congressional delegation advocating for that outcome.

The Air Force has said it expects to assign a group of F-35s to the Asia Pacific region. Eielson qualifies through simple geography, but it has advantages when compared to other bases under consideration.

This past summer, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of the Pacific Air Forces, said several bases in the region have some serious limitations. That narrows the serious contenders to four overseas locations and Eielson, he said.

Two of the overseas locations are in South Korea and two are in Japan. Both have limited training space. Eielson, meanwhile, offers a vast and recently expanded territory in which to train.

The Alaska fishermen made famous by the TV reality show “The Deadliest Catch” were Monday caught in a deadly tangle of American politics, their fishing boats idle at the docks in Dutch Harbor as Democrats and Republicans squabbled 4,000 miles to the east in the nation’s capital.

The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery is set to open at noon Tuesday, but that largely isn’t going to happen because of the ongoing budget battle and congressional showdown over Obamacare that’s behind the two-week-old federal government shutdown and furlough of 800,000 “non-essential” federal employees, including 16,000 in Alaska.

Among them were biologists working for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries in Alaska, which apportions 8.6 million pounds of crab catch among Alaska fishermen in what are called “individual fishing quotas” or IFQs.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) decries “a small band of knuckleheads” for “holding the country hostage over the health care law” in a radio ad that will begin running statewide late Tuesday.

The 60-second spot, shared first with POLITICO, laments the federal shutdown and lays the blame at the feet of the Republicans.

“I don’t have to tell you what the big issue in Washington is: it’s the shutdown, and it’s ridiculous,” said the freshman senator. “I voted to keep the government open, but over 8,000 Alaskans have been furloughed. They’re shutting down logging in the national forests. Head Start programs will start closing at the end of the month. Even the King Crab season cannot open without officials to sign off on permits and quarters. All because a small band of knuckleheads are holding the country hostage over the health care law.”

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: For now, though, we turn to the other big story of the day, and that’s the government shutdown. We’re in day three, and there’s little sign of a compromise at this point. Republicans insist they’re willing to negotiate on a spending bill to fund the government. Democrats say a short-term spending bill is no place to negotiate the new health care law.

I spoke with Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska. He’s also a member of the Senate Democratic leadership. Begich insists the House needs to vote to reopen the government and then Democrats will negotiate.

SENATOR MARK BEGICH: We have, you know, voted on every single proposal that’s come over from the House, but one proposal we have sent over there that passed here after great debate, they still haven’t taken up, which would be a clean continuing resolution, which would put the government back in operation. And then we can debate all these other issues. There’s - as you know, there’s not only the issues people have around health care, but, you know, we have a farm bill stuck over there.

The U.S. Air Force is scrapping its plan to move a fighter jet squadron to Anchorage from Fairbanks, and will not put Eielson Air Force Base in warm status, Alaska’s congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski made the announcement on a joint teleconference with U.S. Rep. Don Young, all of whom had joined community leaders in protesting the plan since Air Force first announced it nearly two years ago.

Begich said this is not a one-year decision, but a longterm win for Eielson after military leaders rebalanced bases in the Pacific region. “Eielson is a critical part of that, proven by this decision today,” he said.


Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said Tuesday it’s time to move on from calls to repeal the federal health care law and instead fix any problems and get on with the business of governing in Washington.

The federal government was partially shut down after the House and Senate failed to agree on a plan for continued government funding.

The Senate rejected proposals passed by the Republican-led House that tacked on delays in implementing all or portions of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Begich, in an interview, called the shutdown “totally unnecessary,” and said he hoped calmer heads would prevail over the next 24 hours.

By Senator Mark Begich:

General Billy Mitchell, considered the father of the Air Force, said in 1935: “Alaska is the most important, strategic place in the world.”

He was right. Alaska is critical to the military’s ability to execute our National Defense Strategy. The renewed focus on the Asian Pacific by the Department of Defense only makes our state more important to military training, operations and strategies.

This is evident in recent military decisions, like Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement earlier this year to invest more than $1 billion at Fort Greely in enhancements to the missile defense system to counter threats from North Korea and Iran.

I have been working with the Obama administration and my Republican colleague, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, to ensure these critical investments are made to protect our homeland.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska says he wants to close offshore tax loopholes to make the federal tax code fairer for small businesses, and raise as much as $200 billion as the foundation for a balanced deficit-reduction package.

Begich is co-sponsoring the Levin-Whitehouse-Begich-Shaheen Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which would provide about $220 billion in additional revenue over a decade, according to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation, by ending a series of tax advantages uncovered in a decade of work by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but without a level playing field, large multinational corporations are given a leg up by circumventing the system and avoiding taxes,” Begich said Sept. 26.