On Tuesday, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised the passage of a motion to go to conference on a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The motion to go to conference, which was passed by the House without opposition, is the next step towards finalizing ESEA, which was last reauthorized in 2001, and is the primary law which governs K-12 education in the United States.
“Today is a positive step forward on education reform,” said Simpson. “I have heard from teachers, parents, administrators, and of course students about how we can update our K-12 education system. I am very pleased the House has acted to go to conference and I look forward to analyzing the conferees’ work as they ultimately craft a final bill with the Senate.”
Both the House and Senate passed individual versions of ESEA reauthorization in July. The Senate also agreed on a motion to go to conference.
“While No Child Left Behind was not without its flaws, it certainly gave stakeholders an evaluation of which education reforms work and which simply do not. This conference committee is a unique opportunity for Congress work together to advance solutions for one of the most important issues in our country – education.”
Last Friday, Congressman Simpson signed a letter to the House and Senate chairmen and ranking members with jurisdiction over education reform, urging them to finish their work and complete conference negotiations to reauthorize ESEA as soon as possible.
The first conference committee between House and Senate conferees is today.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson strongly supports efforts to put the brakes on the Obama Administration’s new cap and trade regulations. Simpson has long opposed efforts to impose unworkable regulations on the energy sector that would do little to improve climate conditions but would impose prohibitive costs to consumers. Most recently he has cosponsored resolutions to disapprove of two rules recently finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants. H.J.Res. 71 and H.J.Res. 72 would employ the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the rules do not go into effect.
“The American people have already rejected the idea of imposing a costly and unrealistic cap and trade system on our economy, yet the Obama Administration continues to be bent on implementing its own climate change regulations, in spite of their unpopularity with the public,” said Simpson. “Frankly, the President’s lack of regard for the economic impact of his regulatory actions and his willingness to ignore the legislative process make it necessary to use the Congressional Review Act to get the Administration’s regulatory appetite in check.”
The EPA’s new and existing power plant rules were finalized in October. The new power plant rule depends on technologies, like carbon capture and sequestration, that are still not largely available or viable. The existing power plant rule would effectively put into place a cap and trade system, even though many economists agree that such a system is not the most effective way to reduce the impacts of climate change. Without global participation in such a program, including heavy polluters in growing economies like India and China, U.S. industries will be unable to compete on the world stage and American jobs will be forced overseas.
“The Obama Administration’s rules impose an unfeasible regulatory structure on our nation’s energy sector and force the American people to foot the bill,” said Simpson. “Instead, I support using technology, incentives, and innovation to move our economy to a sustainable, independent energy source. That means we need to look at all the options and approach them in a common sense, thoughtful way. Unfortunately, these rules don’t do that.”
H.J.Res. 71 and H.J.Res. 72 are being marked up in committee today, with floor consideration expected soon.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has cosponsored a resolution intended to stop the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the Obama Administration’s controversial Clean Water Rule. In spite of widespread opposition in Congress and among the public, in June the Administration implemented a new rule broadly expanding its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. H.J.Res. 59 would use the Congressional Review Act to prevent the rule from being enacted and bring the agency’s actions back in line with congressional intent. The resolution comes at the same time that a federal appeals court has put implementation of the rule on hold.
“The EPA continues marching down a path of issuing one onerous federal regulation after another without regard for public opinion or the impact that these regulations have on the states and on farmers and ranchers,” said Simpson. “I have continually joined a majority of the House of Representatives in expressing my concern about this rule, and so it’s no surprise that I support utilizing the Congressional Review Act, which guards against federal agencies imposing economically burdensome regulations, to prevent this harmful rule from going into effect.”
Simpson added, “I’m also encouraged by the court’s decision to put a hold on the nationwide implementation of this rule. There are real problems with the way the EPA has claimed jurisdiction over state-regulated waters, and this rule will have a devastating impact on Idaho if it is allowed to move forward. That is why I will continue working to prevent it from taking effect.”
Simpson is the Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the Corps of Engineers’ budget. He also sits on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the budget of the EPA.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted to support H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015. In addition to preventing a catastrophic national default, this agreement achieves long-term savings through entitlement reform, delivers predictability and certainty to the appropriations process and the funding of our national defense, and repeals an onerous mandate put in place by Obamacare. H.R. 1314 is fully offset and does not increase taxes.
“It is imperative that we act in the best interest of our nation by preventing a default on our national credit,” said Simpson. “To allow that to happen would be irresponsible at best and catastrophic at worst. Given that reality, I’m pleased that House and Senate leadership have reached an agreement that protects the budget cuts put in place by the sequester, but protects our military and domestic programs from its mindless cuts by replacing it with meaningful reforms in mandatory spending and other savings. This agreement reduces the deficit by nearly $80 billion over 10 years—which means that budget it keeps us on track to save taxpayers more than $2 TRILLION, as mandated by the original Budget Control Act. Recognizing that we have a responsibility to act on this issue, I believe this is a fiscally responsible agreement.”
Among other provisions, the agreement would do the following:
Puts in place budget caps that are $56 billion below the Ryan budget for FY16 and $70 billion below the Ryan budget for FY17.
Ensures that the Social Security Disability Trust Fund—currently scheduled for a 20% reduction across the board at the end of next year—will be able to continue to pay full benefits;
Includes structural entitlement reforms to strengthen the long-term solvency of the Social Security program;
Replaces sequestration’s arbitrary, across-the-board cuts with more rational deficit reduction;
Eliminates Obamacare’s mandate that employees must enroll into their company’s health care plan;
Prevents a dramatic spike in Medicare Part B premiums for millions of seniors.
“This bill isn’t perfect, and like others, I have concerns about the crop insurance provisions and the Medicare cuts to hospitals,” said Simpson. “But I realize that this agreement is necessary for the health and stability of our economy. This country has big problems, and the American people expect more from their elected officials than to sit on the sidelines and criticize everything that does not meet their ideologically pure standards. That’s easy. Solving problems—also known as governing—is hard work.”
Despite the passage of this constructive agreement, Simpson believes Congress has considerable work ahead of it in further reducing the budget and eliminating the deficit. He remains a strong proponent of a Balanced Budget Amendment and is a leading advocate in Congress for reforming the tax code and entitlement programs to achieve real progress toward smaller, more efficient federal government.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported H.R. 1937, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act when it came before the House of Representatives this week. The legislation would ensure the availability of domestic minerals and mineral materials that are essential for national security, technological innovation, and economic growth by streamlining the permitting process for mineral exploration and development projects. Simpson is an original cosponsor of H.R. 1937.
“The United States is increasingly dependent on mineral materials for everything from technology to national security and defense,” said Simpson. “In spite of this, the permitting process has become more and more difficult to navigate, and today we are almost completely reliant on countries like China for the rare earth minerals we need for energy production, national security, and communication technology. I don’t like the idea that we are subject to the legal and political whims of other nations for strategic minerals, which is why I cosponsored H.R. 1937 and am pleased that the House has taken it up.”
H.R. 1937 was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 254-177.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act today. The legislation repeals the most onerous Obamacare provisions through a mechanism known as reconciliation, which is a budgeting process that allows Congress to align the priorities outlined in the current year’s budget resolution with existing law.
“Even though Obamacare was signed into law five years ago, I still hear from Idahoans every single day about the law’s negative impacts,” said Simpson. “A major issue with Obamacare since day one has been limiting the freedom of choice for beneficiaries. H.R. 3762 directly addresses this by repealing the major barriers that are impeding Americans’ ability to make choices about their healthcare plans.”
Specifically, H.R. 3762 would address key problems with Obamacare including:
“The reconciliation package passed by the House eliminates burdensome government mandates and repeals Obamacare taxes that are responsible for driving up the cost of healthcare for families, patients, and doctors. As the broken promises of Obamacare continue to pile on the backs of Americans I will continue to support legislation that protects individuals and families from the most harmful impacts of the law.”
In addition to repealing sections of Obamacare, H.R. 3762 would place a one year freeze on certain abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood while redirecting those funds to community health centers. The bill also addresses our national debt by reducing budget deficits by $136.8 billion over 10 years.
H.R. 3762 was passed by a vote of 240 to 189 and will now head to the Senate for consideration.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has signed onto legislation to give federal land managers better tools to improve sage-grouse habitat. H.R. 1793, the Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act of 2015, would create a categorical exclusion from the NEPA process in order to remove pinyon-juniper from sage-grouse and mule deer habitat.
“Some of the major threats to sage-grouse habitat are wildfire and invasive species, and controlling these threats requires good, active land management practices,” said Simpson. “Unfortunately, the environmental review process has grown so cumbersome for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management that it has gotten in the way of their efforts to conserve the species. H.R. 1793 addresses this problem by providing the agencies with the tools they need to remove pinyon-juniper on sage-grouse and mule deer habitat throughout the west.”
H.R. 1793 is currently under consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.Read More
Idaho’s economy, both urban and rural, is inextricably tied to our ability to export the products and commodities we produce. Whether it be by our high tech industry, which is the largest Idaho export to the world, or our agricultural products, which help support thousands of jobs.
I strongly believe that Idaho’s farmers and businesses can compete and win on a level playing field and this is where the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank plays an important role. The Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S., with a mission to finance and promote exports of U.S. manufactured goods and services. More than 80% of trade worldwide requires financing, and most countries that we trade with have established export credit agencies, which often support their companies much more generously than the Bank has ever done. China alone has provided its exporters with at least $670 billion in export financing over the last two years. To put that in context, the Ex-Im Bank has provided about $590 billion in financing since its inception—81 years ago.
Why would we want to put American companies at a disadvantage against their Chinese competitors? That is exactly what we have done since July 1st, when the charter of the Ex-Im bank expired. Since then, the U.S. has not been able to finance exports, leaving American companies to lose out on business to other countries. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S., now is not the time to surrender this important job growing tool.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, U.S. nuclear energy suppliers compete against international rivals that are supported by their governments, and the availability of export credit agency support is almost always a bidding requirement for nuclear power plant tenders. Numerous American businesses have said that allowing the Ex-Im Bank to expire would be tantamount to unilateral trade disarmament, conceding billions of dollars in orders to other nations that maintain their own export credit agencies.
For 70 years, the Ex-Im Bank has been reauthorized without issue. In fact, since I have been in Congress the Bank has been brought up for reauthorization 25 times and has passed with overwhelming support, including mine, each time. However, many are now arguing that the Bank serves as “corporate welfare.” They claim it puts taxpayers at risk, and only benefits big businesses.
This cannot be further from the truth. Last year, fees and interest collected by the Bank brought in a total $675 million to the U.S. Treasury. The Bank itself has credit assessment procedures that are more rigorous than commercial banks and, as of March 2015, a historical default rate of below 1%.
Large companies do use the Ex-Im Bank to finance exports and make up 40% of the Bank’s balance sheet. However, 90% of the service products provided by the Ex-Im Bank are made to support small businesses. From 2009-2014, the Bank has supported $169 million in exports from Idaho, with 71% of support going to small businesses.
The economic growth of our state depends on the ability of our high tech and manufacturing sectors to ship their products globally, and I will not support threatening the competitiveness of these American companies by dismantling the Ex-Im Bank. Not only does the Bank level the playing field, but it also supports job growth, capital investment and helps reduce the national debt. It is a win-win for Idaho.Read More
The House of Representatives today passed the conference report to H.R. 1735, - the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported the legislation which authorizes many important programs that support our military, including a pay increase and benefits to military members and their families.
The conference report includes important Idaho priorities such as a provision which prevents retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II, a squadron of which currently operates at Gowen Field in Boise and it also authorizes funding for the aircraft to continue operating.
“By ensuring the A-10 remains available for close air support, we are responding to the needs of the service members that operate them and to the brave men and women on the ground that rely on them,” said Simpson. “While I certainly acknowledge that the Air Force must make difficult decisions in this time of reduced budgets, the A-10’s low operating costs and unique capabilities merit our continued support until an appropriate replacement can be identified. I am pleased today’s conference report recognizes the unique importance and contributions of the A-10.”
The conference report also delays the transfer of AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to active duty Army through June 30th of fiscal year 2016. The Apache helicopters also operate at Gowen Field.
The conference report to H.R. 1735 passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 270-156.Read More
The 2015 wildfire season has been brutal. In mid-August the National Wildland Fire Preparedness Level was raised to the highest Level 5 and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) mobilized active duty military personnel to fight wildfires for the first time in almost a decade. Millions of acres are burning in the drought-plagued West—more than twice as many as last year—and the Forest Service anticipates that suppression costs will exceed the budget by nearly a half a billion dollars.
The severity of this fire season underscores the fact that our current wildfire suppression budget process simply does not work. Twenty years ago wildfire suppression made up about 15% of the Forest Service budget. This year it is over half. This means that the Forest Service spends the majority of its time, funding, and staff resources putting out fires instead of managing our nation’s public lands.
This situation has reached a crisis point. This is why we have introduced H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA). The WDFA discards the old, broken model for wildfire suppression and replaces it with one that treats wildfires like the natural disasters they are.
Today wildfire suppression funding is based primarily on an historical average of suppression costs over the past ten years. The ten-year average funding model worked when the cost of wildfire suppression was relatively stable. But wildfire suppression costs have steadily grown over the past two decades. Drought, invasive vegetation, and increasing development near wildland areas increase the risk of catastrophic fires. Fire season is longer, fires are more severe, and suppression is more costly—and these trends are expected to continue. And because suppression costs now routinely exceed the budget, agencies are continually forced to transfer funding from non-fire projects to pay them.
Our current path only leads to bigger, more expensive, and more devastating fires. The WDFA changes directions by treating catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters. It continues to use the 10-year average funding model where it works—for routine wildfire suppression costs—but it makes those few but very expensive emergency fires eligible for the same disaster spending cap adjustment as other natural disasters. Catastrophic fires represent only about 1% of all wildland fires but make up 30% of the costs.
The WDFA allows us to finally budget responsibly for wildfire suppression in a way that ultimately decreases firefighting costs by mitigating fire risk. It restores the Forest Service’s ability to effectively manage our forests, and with proper management forests will be more resilient to catastrophic fire, disease, and other threats. And ending the destructive cycle of fire borrowing means that land management agencies will be more accountable to Congress’s direction.
The fires we experience out west are just as devastating as the hurricanes and tornadoes that strike the East Coast and Midwest and they should be funded as such. Westerners have been suffering from this fairness issue and it’s high time that all states be treated the same—with equal access to disaster funding.
As wildfires continue to blaze, Congress has a responsibility to act. Today over 130 Members of Congress have cosponsored H.R. 167, and that number continues to grow. The bill is supported by a broad coalition of over 300 organizations who all recognize that the status quo is unsustainable. Fixing the wildfire budget is the critical first step in making our forests healthier and, ultimately, reducing the cost of wildfires in the future.
Congressman Mike Simpson represents Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District and serves as Chairman of the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice-Chair of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
Congressman Kurt Schrader has represented Oregon's 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2009.
Congressman Ken Calvert represents California’s 42nd Congressional District and serves as Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum is the ranking Democratic member on the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. She has represented Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District since 2001.Read More
2312 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Michael (Mike) K. Simpson is serving his eighth term in the House of Representatives for Idaho’s Second Congressional District.
Mike serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. He also serves on the Interior and Environment Subcommittee and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. These committees have jurisdiction over funding for a number of programs critical to Idaho, including the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, our National Parks, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Smithsonian Institute.
Simpson is one of the House’s leading advocates for a new energy policy and a renewed commitment to research and development of improved nuclear energy technologies. Mike has also gained national attention for his bill to split the massive, overburdened 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as his bill, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act which addresses the concerns of economic growth and stability for rural Idaho and resolves long time wilderness debate over the Boulder-White Clouds.
His political career began in 1980, when he was elected to the Blackfoot City Council. In 1984, he was elected to the Idaho Legislature where he served until 1998, the last six years serving as Speaker. Simpson was born in Burley, Idaho and raised in Blackfoot. He graduated from Utah State University and earned his DMD from Washington University School of Dental Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduation, he joined his father and uncle at the Simpson Family Dental Practice in Blackfoot.
Mike is an avid golfer and enjoys painting. He has been married to his wife Kathy for over 40 years and they live in Idaho Falls.
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Simpson opposes Obama's cap & trade rules-cosponsors res. disapproving EPA’s rules for new & existing power plants https://t.co/3HUKE783EE
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Please pause today to thank, remember, & honor our veterans & the sacrifices they have made to keep our country safe https://t.co/ylNv9ouODX
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