UPDATE 6:28 pm: Less than two hours after the U.S. House passed its debt reduction plan, the U.S. Senate promptly killed the so-called Boehner bill. The Democratic majority of the Senate tabled the bill indefinitely and began considering its own version of a plan aimed at avoiding a default on Aug. 2. Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against the motion to table the bill.
ORIGINAL POST: Idaho Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson joined 216 of their Republican colleagues to pass a debt-limit plan crafted by House Speaker John Boehner this evening. The final vote, 218-210 didn't include a single Democratic vote and 22 Republicans opposed the bill—Reps. Michele Bachmann, Connie Mack and Ron Paul joined Democrats to vote no.
The plan increases the nation's debt ceiling in two stages; one condition attached included a proposed Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
"I worked with the Speaker to craft an improved balanced budget section to the Budget Control Act," said Labrador. "We now have another option to cut spending, cap spending and balance the budget."
"This bill puts us on a path to solving our debt crisis and boosts our economy by preventing the possibility of a default and ensuring Social Security checks, military active-duty paychecks and veterans' benefits go out on time," said Simpson.
As uncertainty swirled around the nation's debt crisis, precious metals hit record highs today.
Gold prices settled at a record $1,637.20 per ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange today, up $15 in one day. Gold for immediate delivery in London hit a record high of $1,632.74 per ounce. According to Dow Jones news service, gold retains its value more than other assets at times of elevated financial anxiety and is "more resilient to market shocks."
Silver futures also continued to climb. For September, silver settled up 31.2 cents to $40.106 a troy ounce.
The U.S. dollar sank to a record low against the Swiss franc and a four-month low against the yen.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador will be in front of network television cameras for the second time in two weeks when he guests on NBC's Meet the Press this Sunday.
Labrador joins former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, CNBC personality Jim Cramer and veteran journalist Tom Brokaw on the live roundtable program hosted by NBC's David Gregory.
This will be Labrador's second appearance on Meet the Press. He appeared on Jan. 9, days after being sworn in as Idaho's freshman congressman.
Meet the Press airs in Boise on KTVB, Sundays at 9 a.m.
The U.S. Forest Service is reporting an increase in the number of dogs being severely burned at hot springs inside the USFS Lowman District.
"Dogs have been hurt or died by getting into hotter areas of the pools," said John Kidd, district ranger. "It appears their ability to cope with those high temperatures is limited."
The pool temperatures can exceed 120 degrees near the source of the springs. Reports of dog injuries and deaths have come from Grandjean, Kirkham and Bonneville hot springs.
A North Idaho produce grower and distributor said her company is on the verge of collapse following a recall of its alfalfa sprouts. The Food and Drug Administration, in June, linked an outbreak of food-borne salmonella poisoning to two types of sprouts from the Evergreen Fresh Produce company in Moyie Springs. Nadine Scharf, the owner, complied with a FDA request to voluntarily recall her products.
Scharf said she laid off 10 of her 14 workers, sold three vehicles to raise cash and now is close to shutting down her business. Scharf said the worst part of her dilemma is that recent test results showed no trace of salmonella at her plant or in products taken for testing. The FDA confirmed the results this past Wednesday. But a spokeswoman for the FDA, Stephanie Yao, said the negative results do not rule out the sprouts as the possible cause of the outbreak.
A group of Payette County citizens are stepping up their efforts to derail Bridge Resources' plans to build to a natural gas dehydration facility in their backyard. Opponents call the proposed plant a refinery. Bridge officials say the facility is necessary to complete its effort to turn the successful gas wells into a commercially viable product.
Following a testy four-and-a-half hour public hearing on the matter earlier this month, some residents who grew weary of the marathon have decided to protest in writing.
"By now, I'd say we have close to 100 residents that are on the record against this," Mike Dalton of New Plymouth told Citydesk. Dalton delivered the extra protest letters to Payette County officials on Wednesday.
Additionally, the group of opponents has formally asked for any members of the county Planning and Zoning Commission to disclose any conflict of interest on the matter. Dalton told Citydesk that he is aware of at least three of the county's 12 P&Z commissioners who have signed personal contracts to lease their land or mineral rights to Bridge, which continues its natural gas exploration in the region.
While the City of Boise inches closer to new regulations on beekeeping, an Associated Press report this morning says healthy hives are thriving in cities, in spite of a global die off.
Researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of colony collapse disorder but pathogens, parasites, environmental strains and poor bee management have been blamed. However experts believe city bees are doing better than their country cousins because urbanites are building hives at a brisker pace. Even the Obama White House keeps beehives in the garden. In recent years, New York, Denver, Colo.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Santa Monica, Calif., have all made beekeeping legal. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimates about one-third of the nation's diet directly or indirectly benefits from bee pollination.
Boise officials are soliciting input from neighborhood associations and beekeeping enthusiasts in an effort to clearly define city ordinances on beekeeping. The Urban Agriculture Committee is also considering livestock, poultry and urban farms.
Less than a week following Southwest Airline's announcement that it would clip some of its wings at the Boise Airport, Alaska Airlines announced early today that it will add new flights.
Beginning Jan. 8, 2012—the same day that Southwest trims flights from Boise to Reno, Salt Lake City and Seattle—Alaska will begin offering two additional daily flights between Boise and Seattle. Alaska is also tacking on two additional flights between Spokane and Seattle for passengers who don't mind adding a connection.
After several delays, the Idaho Transportation Department has green-lighted two scaled down mega-loads to roll from Lewiston through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene before traveling east to Montana and up to the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada.
Both shipments are 17.6 feet wide, 14 feet high and 76 feet long. One weighs 85,000 pounds, and the other is 88,000 pounds. One shipment will leave the Port of Lewiston Saturday night, and the other will roll out Sunday evening.
ExxonMobil is still awaiting a final legal ruling before moving forward with its plans to move 200 giant loads across U.S. Highway 12 along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers.