Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today supported H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. It passed the House with strong support from both Republicans and Democrats by 392-37.
The bill strengthens Medicare and ensures senior’s access to care by repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and replacing it with an updated system that will work better, and save money over the long term. The SGR is a formula that determines payment amounts to doctors who treat Medicare patients.
“Repealing the SGR has been the top priority for almost every Idaho medical professional who I have met with for years. Before today’s vote, Congress had simply kicked the can down the road a total of 17 times, at great cost to taxpayers and over the strong objections of the health community,” said Simpson. “Though the full cost of the bill is not covered in the first ten years, it is important to look at the big picture when you are reforming major programs like Medicare. The right-leaning American Action Forum completed an exhaustive study that found the bill results in $295 billion of spending reductions by 2035.”
Also included in this package is a two-year extension of The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) which provides an alternative source of education funding for counties with a high percentage of national forests and fulfills the federal government’s responsibility to counties with tax-exempt federal lands.
“My western colleagues and I have been working tirelessly to ensure Congress address the immediate needs of Secure Rural Schools payments and I was thrilled that H.R. 2 offered the solution,” said Simpson. “By voting yes today, western members were able to lend their support to one of the most important programs to our rural communities. We must now turn our attention to enacting a long-term and sustainable solution that doesn’t stick Idaho’s rural counties with the annual uncertainty of an up or down vote from Congress.”
“Though H.R. 2 is not perfect, you would have to look long and hard to find a reason to vote no,” added Simpson. “This kind of bill represents exactly what the American people want to see out of their elected representatives. They want us to fix problems, not shout across the aisle and point fingers.”
Congressman Simpson has long been an advocate for SRS and signed a letter last October urging House leadership to secure full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and SRS.
H.R. 2 now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson this week supported a series of bills to bring greater transparency and accountability to actions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, and H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, were both passed by the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.
The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would make a number of reforms to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to ensure that EPA’s decisions are made on qualified and independent science, complements Simpson’s efforts to address concerns about the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. In recent years the IRIS program has drawn harsh criticism from the science community. H.R. 1029 takes action based on findings from a National Academy of Sciences study that Simpson commissioned in 2011 when he chaired the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
“The public needs to be able to trust that EPA’s policy decisions are based on good science and not swayed by politics,” said Simpson. “When we first examined the IRIS system, we found a broken process that lacked scientific accountability, and I’m pleased that Congress has taken up addition efforts to improve transparency and accountability and increase public participation in EPA’s decision making process.”
The Secret Science Reform Act would ensure that EPA is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by making scientific data used by the agency available to the public. This bill addresses the lack of transparency often demonstrated by the Obama Administration when issuing new regulations that have significant impacts on the American people.
“I have been a strong advocate for strict EPA oversight so Americans can avoid the burdensome regulations that federal agencies far too often create,” said Simpson. “Without public availability of scientific data, there is no way for the science community to participate in a fully vetted process. These bills would bring much needed transparency and accountability to the EPA.”
H.R. 1029 passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 236-181 and H.R. 1030 passed today by a vote of 241-175. Both pieces of legislation now head to the Senate for consideration.Read More
“In the world of politics, some of the toughest moments are when you find yourself disagreeing with those you consider friends.
“That has never been truer for me than in my current difference of opinion with former Governors Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus. They are opposing two INL shipments containing just 200 pounds of commercial nuclear fuel because of a delay related to the 1995 Settlement Agreement. The shipments represent the beginning of a research project slated to bring tens of millions of dollars to Idaho.
“My difference of opinion with the two former Governors is NOT over their desire to protect Idaho’s environment or the integrity of the Agreement. Instead, it’s over their apparent desire to return to an ugly, contentious, and unproductive era of fighting with the DOE instead of maintaining a more constructive and beneficial partnership.
“Governors Batt and Andrus were not only correct, but courageous, in taking the federal government to task in the 1990’s over long-running failures to remediate INL after decades of secrecy and environmental contamination. Their fight with DOE not only produced an agreement for which we are all grateful today, it actually facilitated the eventual revitalization of the lab and its research mission in Eastern Idaho.
“Early in my Congressional service, the Bush Administration proposed cleaning up and “closing down” INL. Idahoans were rightfully outraged and a multi-year, multi-pronged effort to “save the lab” began in earnest.
“The result of that effort, after years of hard work and relationship mending, included not only the accelerated cleanup of nuclear contamination, but unprecedented new research opportunities. A decade later, INL is approaching $1 billion a year in business volume and cleanup has progressed in ways hard to imagine back in 1995. New buildings have sprung up across INL and its scientists have gone from working in old garages to doing research in world class facilities.
“It's important to note that INL isn’t just a world leader in nuclear energy research. Its internationally-significant missions include national and homeland security, renewable and alternative energy, grid protection, cutting edge chemistry, securing nuclear materials across the globe, and much, much more. The lab employs thousands of Idahoans directly and is responsible indirectly for the careers of tens of thousands more. And it’s a strong partner with our state’s universities – a partnership that benefits all Idahoans.
“Most frustrating for me, when thinking about the recent statements of the former Governors, is that none of this would have been possible without their work and courage—yet all of it is potentially at risk if they continue to insist on moving backward.
“You see, there is no such thing as a lead nuclear energy research laboratory that can’t access nuclear materials on which to do its research. The two former Governors know this – and yet their words suggest they haven’t taken the time or effort to understand what is truly going on at INL.
“With that in mind, I invite them to spend some time at INL – they haven’t been there in years. I want them to see the impressive facilities where this research is being done. I want them to meet the scientists who conduct this important research. I want them to view the safeguards in place to ensure the work is done safely and with absolutely no risk to the environment, or our life-sustaining aquifer.
“I encourage them to embrace the new, productive, collaborative, and exciting relationship the State of Idaho has built with the Department of Energy over the last decade. And I want them to fully appreciate their own essential role in making it all possible.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, today held two hearings to discuss budget issues with officials from the Department of Energy.
The first hearing was focused on the Department of Energy’s Applied Energy Programs, with Assistant Secretaries from the Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability testifying. The second hearing was focused on the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, with Acting Director Dr. Patricia Dehmer testifying. Dr. Franklin Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy testified at both hearings.
In the first hearing, Simpson discussed the Nuclear Energy University Program and the importance of ensuring a strong future nuclear workforce, the Idaho National Lab’s Advanced Test Reactor’s maintenance and upgrade needs, and funding for Safeguards and Security at the Idaho National Lab. He also noted that the Obama Administration has once again proposed a significant increase for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy while proposing to reduce Fossil Energy and Nuclear Energy.
“I agree that an ‘all of the above’ approach should fund research in new energy sources, but we also need to ensure we are efficiently and effectively using our existing sources,” said Simpson. “Last year, Fossil and Nuclear energy sources provided about 85 percent of all the electricity produced in this country. Just increasing the production efficiency by one percent of any fossil or nuclear fuel source would have a tremendous effect on net electricity generation. A true ‘all of the above’ approach would not make these sources the lowest priorities of the Department of Energy.”
In the Office of Science hearing, Simpson talked about working towards scientific breakthroughs with a flat budget, project management at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, and practical examples of how investments in science programs are a good use of taxpayer dollars.
“The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the United States, and its activities have resulted in some of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century,” said Simpson. “Today we’re focusing quite a bit on the challenges to your office within a limited budget, but it’s important to remember the remarkable work supported by the Office of Science that happens day in and day out, both at the national labs and at American universities and other institutions that receive grants.”
After the hearings, Simpson said, “Our budget situation will require us to make difficult decisions. I am mindful of the importance that these programs hold not just for American industrial competitiveness, but also for the comfort, safety, and well-being of all of our constituents. But we need to set careful priorities and do more with the limited resources available, and always remain mindful of what the role of the private sector is or should be in making these investments.”Read More
“The American people used their votes last year to demonstrate a strong objection to gridlock while giving a modest endorsement to the direction Congressional Republicans offered as an alternative to Democrat policies in Washington. Their confidence, however, was conditional on an expectation that Republicans would work aggressively to move our country forward.
“Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues in Congress see the election much differently. They view gridlock and obstructionism as a means to appease the politically pure and point fingers at anyone who seeks a different solution. While I agree with my colleagues on the conservative principles in this debate, I’d rather be advancing solutions to stop the President’s overreaching policies and putting forward Republican answers that thwart the Administration’s ability to rule from the executive branch.
“Instead, a faction of my Republican colleagues see obstructionist tactics like shutting down the government, or one of its most important agencies, as just another tool in the construction of a manufactured crises. This small segment of Republicans voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a vote two weeks ago at the deadline – and they represent the most irresponsible, unrealistic, and ineffective segment of our Republican caucus.
“Even worse, they’re imposing a losing strategy while we are actually winning in the courts – the legitimate, and Constitutional, venue for resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches.
“These members have no credible policy proposals to stop the President’s unlawful actions, instead they hold our national security hostage with shutdown threats, and then label any Member who opposes their strategy as “capitulating” to the President.
“They represent a segment of our caucus that would rather shut down the government than show the American people we can actually govern. They represent a segment of our caucus that would preach border security while defunding border patrol. They represent a segment of our caucus that defies the Constitution while preaching a strict adherence to its very principles. They represent a segment of our caucus that wrongly thought a government shutdown would spell the end of Obamacare. They got their shutdown. But we still have Obamacare.
“The majority of the Republican caucus has given ample opportunities for this loud minority to play-out their strategy. However, this small faction has failed to achieve any conservative victories and led our party so far astray that the Democrats have been able to exert influence in the absence of a united Republican party.
“My pro-shutdown colleagues are the same folks who pushed for immigration reform only to abandon the notion – leaving the American people on hold with a broken system, ineffective border, and overreaching President looking for any excuse to write executive actions.
“My pro-shutdown colleagues project Constitutional principles but they’re conveniently forgetting their own Constitutional responsibilities to fund the U.S. Government and, ‘provide for the common defense.’
“My pro-shutdown colleagues supported John Boehner for Speaker, before opposing him, then supporting him again, and now criticizing him. By undermining Republican leadership at every turn, the pro-shutdown minority has compromised our ability to pass conservative priorities that focuses on governing efficiently and effectively.
“The truth is my Republican colleagues and I have a critical and extremely short window of time to prove to the American people that we can govern responsibly. This brief window is our chance to demonstrate to the American people that they should look to a Republican as the next President of the United States. It’s also our chance to show that we prefer the Ronald Reagan model of taking 70-80% of what we can get…and then fighting united to get the rest in the future.”Read More
Service Academies offer high school graduates several opportunities beyond serving their country. Students will obtain a first-rate undergraduate education, a job upon graduation, and the ability to purse advance degrees all while receiving tuition, room and board, healthcare and a monthly salary.
Boise Academy Day, April 1, 2015
Idaho State House – 700 West Jefferson – Lincoln Auditorium
11:00 Registration/11:30 Presentation
RSVP to Tim Petersen at (208) 345-7985 or email@example.com by March 27th
McCall/Donnelly Academy Day, April 10, 2015
McCall/Donnelly High School – 401 North Mission, McCall
4:00 Registration/4:30 Presentation
RSVP to Tim Petersen at (208) 345-7985 or firstname.lastname@example.org by April 3rd
Twin Falls Academy Day, April 11, 2015
KMVT Community Room – 1100 Blue Lakes Blvd, Twin Falls
1:00 Registration/1:30 Presentation
RSVP to Linda Culver at (208) 734-7219 or email@example.com by April 3rd
Coeur d’Alene Academy Day, April 16, 2015
North Idaho College – 1000 West Garden, CDA
Student Union – Driftwood Bay Room
6:30 Registration/7:00 Presentation
RSVP to Karen Roetter at (208) 664-5490 or Karen_roetter@crapo.senate.gov by April 9th
Soda Springs Academy Day, April 23, 2015
Soda Springs High School – 300 East First North, Soda Springs
4:00 Registration/4:30 Presentation
RSVP to Linda Culver at (208) 734-7219 or firstname.lastname@example.org by April 16th
Idaho Falls Academy Day, April 24, 2015
Bonneville High School, 3165 East Iona Road, Idaho Falls
3:30 Registration/4:00 Presentation
RSVP to Linda Culver at (208) 734-7219 or email@example.com by April 17th
Lewiston Academy Day, April 30, 2015
Lewiston High School – 1114 9th Avenue, Lewiston
6:30 Registration/ 7:00 Presentation
RSVP to Karen Roetter at (208) 664-5490 or Karen_roetter@crapo.senate.gov by April 23rd
Events are open to high school students and their parents or guardians, and middle and high school counselors and educators. Information will be provided about all five Service Academies as well as the Congressional nomination process.
To learn more about specific requirements, visit the Idaho Delegation webpages:
Senator Mike Crapo, http://www.crapo.senate.gov
Senator James E. Risch, http://www.risch.senate.gov
Congressman Mike Simpson, http://simpson.house.gov
Congressman Raul Labrador, http://labrador.house.govRead More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted today in favor of legislation that will fully fund the Department of Homeland Security through the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year. At the same time, Simpson is urging his colleagues to allow efforts opposing the President’s executive actions on immigration to continue in the courts.
Simpson made clear that while he strongly opposes President Obama’s unilateral and illegal action on immigration, he cannot support another government shutdown or any further delay in critical funding for the Department of Homeland Security. “While I adamantly disagree with the President’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration – and have voted to roll back those actions – I do not believe it is worth risking the national security of our nation,” said Simpson. “Whether on the border, at our nation’s airports, or in many vital programs at Idaho National Laboratory, funding for the Department of Homeland Security is critical to our national security and ability to protect our nation from those who would do us harm. Delaying that funding, or playing any further political games with it, would be completely irresponsible and those who suggest otherwise don’t know what they are talking about.”
While a strong majority of members supported the Resolution allowing DHS funding to move forward, Simpson acknowledged that some in the Republican Caucus want to continue using the DHS bill to fight President Obama. “We all know there is a difference of opinion within our Caucus on tactics and that some members want to keep on fighting against all reason,” said Simpson. “Members who continue voting against this funding are not helping push the conservative agenda. Instead, their political grandstanding emboldens the opposition, jeopardizes good governing policies, and does nothing to thwart the President’s agenda. Quite frankly, they’re making our party look irresponsible, unreasonable, and incapable of governing effectively.”
Simpson also noted the importance of the recent court victory in stopping the President’s illegal action and made clear that he believed we should pursue the much more promising legal strategy instead of continued gridlock in Congress. “It should be noted the court has ruled against the President and these actions are now on hold,” said Simpson. “Holding our national security hostage over a fight that we are currently winning is not a strategy aimed at success. It is a strategy doomed to failure.”
The fiscal year 2015 Department of Homeland Security funding bill now heads to the President’s desk. It was approved by the Senate last week.
To watch Congressman Simpson give his closing remarks regarding the DHS funding bill visit his YouTube page here.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today held a hearing with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz and attended a hearing with Administrator Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Simpson is the Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
At the first hearing, Simpson noted that the Obama Administration has once again proposed a significant increase for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy while proposing to reduce Fossil Energy and Nuclear Energy. Simpson also discussed the long term strategic goals of the Department of Energy and questioned Secretary Moniz on whether the administration’s request for the currently shut-down Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will fully support the target dates of reopening the facility in March of 2016.
In response to Secretary Moniz’s comments that Yucca Mountain is an unworkable solution due to the lack of a consent-based process in selecting it, Chairman Simpson said, “Consent-based is in the eye of the beholder. Talk to the local county commissioners around Yucca Mountain. They support it. That’s consent-based. Secondly, the Blue Ribbon Commission was precluded from looking at Yucca Mountain (as an option) for anything. So to be fair, let’s admit that the decision not to proceed with Yucca Mountain after spending billions of dollars there was a political decision.”
In the afternoon, Simpson questioned Administrator McCarthy on the EPA’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request. Simpson expressed deep concerns with the EPA’s proposed rules regarding the Clean Water Act.
“We aren’t talking about waters that were unregulated before. These were regulated by the state,” said Simpson. “I think this is a vast expansion of the EPA’s jurisdiction.”
Simpson has been a leading voice in opposing the EPA rule and last year secured provisions in the Cromnibus appropriations bill that restricted the administration’s application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural practices for soil and water conservation.
EPA’s FY16 budget request is a 6% increase from FY15 which, if enacted, would be the third largest budget in EPA history. The EPA’s request represents a stark contrast to when Congressman Simpson chaired the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee and wrote budgets that scaled back the agency’s funding to below FY1978 levels.
“The EPA ignores the realities of our debt and deficit by requesting increased spending,” said Simpson after the hearing. “Idahoans don’t want EPA overreach and I am concerned this budget is designed to do just that. This subcommittee will continue to challenge the EPA’s obtrusive policies that far too often harm the economy and kill jobs.”Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, vice-chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, discussed the need to change the budget process for wildfires during Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell’s testimony to the subcommittee on Wednesday. Simpson is the lead sponsor of H.R. 167, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which would end the destructive cycle of fire borrowing and would treat catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.
“Like many of my Western colleagues, I have seen the impacts of catastrophic wildfires first hand as they rage across Idaho each summer, threatening the lives and property of my constituents. In order to manage our federal lands, we need to stop using funding intended for land management to fight fires. This is a devastating cycle and it is destroying our forests,” said Simpson. “Until we address this issue, anything we do to increase needed management activities in the forests, like hazardous fuels removal, timber harvest, conservation, or trail maintenance, will continue to be decimated during wildfire season. Fixing the wildfire budget is the critical first step in making our forests healthier and, ultimately, reducing the cost of wildfires in the future.”
Secretary Jewell included similar language in her fiscal year 2016 budget request and commended Congressman Simpson for his work on H.R. 167, which has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.
Congressmen Simpson and Congressman Schrader (D-OR) introduced legislation earlier this year to make common sense changes to the federal wildfire budget. Last Congress, H.R. 167 was cosponsored by 140 Members of Congress and was supported by a broad coalition of over 300 organizations.
“We’re either going to pay for fires by taking the money from other budgets and try to repay them later, which doesn’t work, or we are going to find a better way to manage this account,” said Simpson. “I’m pleased to see Secretary Jewell address this vital change in wildfire funding in her budget proposal and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to advance this much needed change.”
Congressman Simpson also raised concerns regarding a potential listing of the sage grouse which has a court ordered listing deadline in September of this year.
“I have long said that the Department needs to fully engage the states in order to ensure we are doing everything possible to prevent a listing,” said Simpson after the hearing. “I am concerned that if the Department doesn’t honor the language which prevents the agency from writing a rule, stakeholders may not have adequate time to finish their management plans that are essential to preventing the listing. I will continue to advocate for the states involvement in this process.”
Congressman Simpson closed the hearing by encouraging the Secretary to look at a long term solution for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program that would provide certainty to Idaho counties.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today supported S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. The bill approves the Keystone XL Pipeline putting an end to years of bureaucratic delays and allowing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has estimated that it will invest $7 billion in the United States to build the pipeline, and that up to 20,000 jobs would be directly created by the pipeline’s construction. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Keystone XL pipeline would be able to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about half of the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East.
“Moving forward with the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil,” said Simpson. “Our country cannot afford to play political games with our energy security, the Keystone pipeline needs to be built.”
Because the pipeline would connect the United States with a foreign country, it requires a Presidential Permit issued by the State Department. The State Department must find that the project would serve the national interest before it can issue the permit.
“This project has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and it has been reviewed and studied for over six years and found to be environmentally safe,” Simpson said. “I hope the President approves this bill, because the economic and energy security implications for this country are too important to delay any longer.”
The House passed S. 1 by a vote of 270-152. It will now go to the President where he could sign the bill into law but will most likely VETO the legislation.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 Supports Bipartisan Medicare Reform and Secure Rural Schools Package http://t.co/ZK7xuyzF2r
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Congressman Simpson thanks VA Salt Lake City Health Care System for their efforts providing care for veterans in ID http://t.co/J17KnxaGWV
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ICYMI: Enough nonsense, it's time for Republicans to govern. http://t.co/fY1XgvtEQQ