Young faces criticism from the right on recent budget vote

Rep. Don Young has never been Alaska’s arch conservative, tea party favorite. He’s too supportive of labor, too supportive of congressional leadership, and despite what some in Alaska might think of him, he doesn’t play the fire-breathing Republican game very well. And his vote for the recent spending bill—despite all the goodies for Alaska in it–has again, and already, set him up as a target amongst some right-leaning Alaskans.

The $1 trillion-plus funding bill was passed late Thursday. It didn’t strip funding for Homeland Security, nor for ObamaCare, as some on the right had called for. However, it avoided a government shutdown, and did cut agency funding some, but not enough for fiscal hawks.

In a release defending his vote, Young said that he didn’t approve of such large spending bills, as opposed to individual appropriations. But it was the only choice Congress had given Democratic control of the Senate. Too, he said, the bill “takes a number of serious steps to stand up for fiscal responsibility, reduce the size of the federal government, defend the homeland and protect our men and women in uniform, and target much needed reforms for growing federal agencies like the EPA and IRS,” (See Young’s full press release below, along with details of funding for various programs in the bill.)

Mike Coons, the former head of the Conservative Patriots Group, and a very active Valley conservative, who has never been a Young fan, wrote on Facebook that it’s time to try to find a serious candidate to challenge the 81 year old Young. This is culled from Coon’s Facebook post:

“When will the House DO what WE THE PEOPLE have sent them there to do? STOP OBAMA!!!!! I have no doubt that next year will come, the Don will vote for Boehner for Speaker, again and then vote in lockstep with Boehner because neither of them have the BALLS to stand up and be real men!… We need, today, to start finding a viable replacement for Don Young!…This MUST be Don Young’s LAST 2 years in office!!!!!”

Judy Eledge, former head of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, linked to a story about the bill and about Republicans House members who voted against it, and hinted on her Facebook page that she was distressed by Young’s vote:

“We will remember the men of courage! We will also be watching the legislators in AK. Particularly the Republicans….you have the power now use it!”

It’s unclear how much sway Sarah Palin has, but her reactions can be a bellwether. She said that the vote was like the GOP “flipped American voters the bird.”

Palin said she hopes that the 162 Republicans who backed the bill face backlash.

Here’s Young’s release in full:

Congressman Young Shares Thoughts on House Passage of FY15 Appropriations Omnibus Bill

“Unfortunately, due to months of inaction and dysfunction on the part of the Senate Majority, we were once again faced with the threat of a government shutdown and yet another 11th hour funding package that leaves much to be desired. These types of manufactured emergencies are no way to operate and the American people deserve better.”

“In recent days, weeks and months, I have heard from countless Alaskans to express their heartfelt concerns for the fiscal security of this great nation. While this piece of legislation is no way for the Congress to operate, I do believe it takes a number of serious steps to stand up for fiscal responsibility, reduce the size of the federal government, defend the homeland and protect our men and women in uniform, and target much needed reforms for growing federal agencies like the EPA and IRS. However, until Congress returns to working order and passes individual appropriations bills, our nation’s growing debt and fiscal certainty may never be restored.”

“There is no question that the American people sent a resounding message this past November; that the failed policies of this President – including his efforts to operate around the will of the people and Congress – must end.  Alaskans sent me to Congress to stand up for fiscal responsibility, fight back against onerous federal regulations, and stand up to executive overreach, and that is exactly what I will continue to do. I look forward to restoring the checks and balances of our federal government and once again address the concerns of the Alaskan people when our Republican majority arrives in Congress in January.”

Following the passage of the H.R. 83, Congressman Young expressed his disappointment with the exclusion of Secure Rural Schools funding from the package, a shortfall that could have been prevented had the Senate moved on federal forest policy legislation passed by the House in September 2013.

“The absence of Secure Rural Schools funding is a huge blow to forested communities in the West, particularly those in Alaska, which depend heavily on the program to lessen the impact of declines of revenue due to reductions in federal timber harvests. This delay in funding, which House leaders have committed to addressing in the first quarter of next year, will hamper our Alaskan school districts’ ability to plan and budget effectively.”

  • Alaskan Interests included in the H.R. 83:
  • Alaska Education Equity – $31.5M
  • High Cost Energy Grants – $10M
  • Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund – $65M
  • Promotion of Alaska Native High Education Programs ­- $12.8M
  • Brooks Camp bridge in Katmai National Park – $4.374M
  • Alaska Conveyance Program – $22M
  • State and Tribal Assistance Grants for water and wastewater infrastructure in Alaska Native Villages – $10M
  • Emergency Power Plant Fuel Storage (Clear AFS) – $11.5M
  • Kodiak Launch Complex and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), split equally – $6M
  • Village Safe Water Program – $30M
  • Denali Commission – $10M
  • S. Army Corps of Engineers:
  • Studies/Investigations:
  • Small, Remote, Subsistence Harbors $2.2M
  • AK Regional (Arctic) Ports – $50k
  • Craig Harbor – $300k
  • Port Lions Harbor – $300
  • Operations and Maintenance:
  • Port of Anchorage – $11M
  • Chena River Lakes – $3.6M
  • Cook Inlet Shoals – $816K
  • Dillingham Harbor- $540K
  • Homer Harbor – $410k
  • Lowell Creek Tunnel – $300k
  • Ninilchik Harbor – $269k
  • Nome Harbor – $1.451M

Provisions and Funding of Alaskan Interest Included in the H.R. 83:


  • Requires the Postal Service to continue Saturday deliveries and keep all post offices open through the fiscal year.


  • Blocks the EPA from banning bullets and fishing tackle made from lead, in addition to regulating lead content.
  • Cuts the EPA by $60 million, which represents the fifth consecutive year of cuts – a 21% reduction since FY10 and lowest level of EPA staffing since 1989.


  • Fully funds troop pay raises authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Provides $64 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for our troops, to combat threats from ISIS, train and equip foreign allies, and support for Ukraine
  • Prohibits the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.
  • Provides funding for 38 F-35 joint Strike Fighters.
  • Fully funds the cost‐of‐living allowance shortfall for military retirees.


  • $4.6B for Indian Health Service Funding – a $208M increase from FY14
  • $2.6 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Education – a $70M increase from FY14
  • $662.97M for Contract Support Costs
  • $650M for NAHASDA block grants
  • $75M for veterans rental assistance vouchers for Native American vets under a new Native Veterans Housing Demo Program.
  • 811 Language:  Retains language to require a GAO Report on the impact on Section 811 on Native Contracting.


  • Fully funds Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) at $442 million
  • Prevents new fees on onshore oil and gas producers.


  • Cuts IRS funding by nearly $350 million
  • Prohibits IRS targeting of organizations based on their ideological beliefs or for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Prohibits the White House from ordering review of tax-exempt status.


  • Provides $2.5 billion for processing VA disability claims to end the backlog
  • Rescinds $41 million in performance based bonuses at the VA


  • Provides flexibility for the Administration’s school lunch regulations.
  • Prohibits the Obama Administration from implementing the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Allows for a one percent pay increase for federal employees to take effect January 1, 2015.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


9 thoughts on “Young faces criticism from the right on recent budget vote

  1. Concerned Republican

    I like Don but am becoming increasingly concerned abouit his political future. His thoughtless blunders are collectively taking their toll.
    Also, I firmly believe that his campaign handlers have become very lazy, resting on the laurels of their past and running very mediocre campaigns at best. In fact, from the best I can tell, a Young campaign consists of little more than paid advertising. There doesn’t seem to be any grass-roots efforts in terms of reaching voters, there are no attempts to reach new people, no direct mail, hardly any low cost fundraisers or opportunities to rub shoulders with the candidate. His campaign operatives better wake up to what might be a new reality – – a real candidate with money and the ability to put an organization together.
    Really believe that Congressman Young and his team needs to get on it. BTW, the holiday ad is a step in the right direction. Continue to be thoughtful.

  2. Garand Fellow

    Many elected Republicans get along with working unions, and Congressman Young is one of them. It’s not a bad idea as members of working unions pretty much tend to be Republican, especially since Obama has come to be understood for what he is (a disaster). Except with government unions, union rank and file members are completely independent of union leaders in Alaska when it comes to political races. One guy said, “Obama queered that,” but I did not ask him what he meant.

    Don Young is there until he retires or dies. I think he then will be replaced by a more conservative Republican, whatever that means. If it’s to come in 2016 it may very likely be Joe Miller, and Alaska could do much worse.

  3. Truth Teller

    I have no problem with Don’s vote on the budget. I have a huge problem with his arrogance and inappropriate behavior. He needs to get his comments under control or needs to be put out to pasture. He needs to prove to Alaskans that he’s still worthy and capable of being a member of Congress as opposed to a sebile man.

  4. AH HA

    @DB… Over the years lots of folks have thought the same thing you do now. There’ve been lots of years and lots of ‘challengers’.. Don’s still there and oddly enough he still don’t mind saying exactly whats on his mind. As shocked and horrified as some of our more liberal neighbors try to act about his propensity to drop an occasional F- bomb, history shows that more than a few of these ‘horrified liberals’ are quite content to support him at the polls.

    It’s been my belief that Don Young is so well liked in Alaska that if he died six months prior to his next general election his would still be nearly unbeatable.

  5. Lynn Willis

    The Washington Post has a more complete analysis of what was in this bill including such items as a reversal of the restriction on banks using FDIC insured deposits for high risk derivative investments, to an increased allowance for political contributions, to little something for the potato lobby.
    Washington Post Link:

    Speaking of making “political hay”, while I appreciate the efforts of Don Young in this bill to protect free speech, no organization formed primarily to advocate for a political purpose was ever supposed to be recognized as a “non profit”; therefore, Lois Lerner and others with a political vendetta already violated existing law.
    So why do they continue to seriously defund the IRS if they have no alternative plan for revenues? Don’t these deficit-loving federal elected officials (like their Alaskan brethren) , who will not seriously reduce spending, realize they will need every future dime?

  6. DB

    Mr. Young should have quit several terms ago. He epitomizes what is wrong with politicians and Congress. He now has set himself up for taking a severe beating if he runs again. Hopefully, he decides otherwise. If he does not, we will have a liberal Congressperson representing Alaska who may continue to get pork.

  7. Brad

    Thank you Congressman Young! Don’t give much thought to the blowhards in the Valley. Most voting Alaskans are not right wing wackos and appreciate your years of service and look forward to the next two years.

Comments are closed.