Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson

IDAHO's 2nd DISTRICT

Simpson’s Newborn Screening Bill Passes Congress and Heads to President’s Desk

2014/12/11

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, co-authored by Congressman Mike Simpson and Congresswoman Lucile Roybal-Allard (CA).  The bill will reauthorize newborn screening programs for five years while updating and building upon the landmark 2008 Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act first offered by Simpson and Roybal-Allard.

“I am pleased to see the House pass the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act and send it to the President for his signature,” said Congressman Simpson. “I am so grateful to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard for her dedication to this issue.  She has truly led the way in making this bill a reality.”

“I have repeatedly said that this bill is as important as any we will pass this year,” Simpson continued. “These crucial screening tests detect conditions that are too often undetected at birth and if left untreated can cause disability, developmental delay, illness, or even death.  Conditions quickly identified lead to better outcomes and saved lives, often at a reduced cost. ”

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard added, “Our collective efforts to rapidly identify and treat these disorders are making a difference between health and disability, and even life and death, for the children affected by these severe diseases.”

Newborn screening is run by individual states, but the original 2008 Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act first encouraged states to uniformly test for a recommended set of disorders, and provided resources for individual states to grow their own screening programs.   Before that legislation, state screening varied greatly, with only 10 states requiring infants to be screened for all the treatable “core conditions” recommended.  Today, most states require screening for at least 29 of the 31 core conditions.

The test consists of a simple prick on the heel of newborns before they leave the hospital.  That blood sample tests for serious genetic, metabolic, or hearing disorders that may not be apparent at birth.  Without the test, parents may have no way of knowing their child needs treatment.

“Newborn screening represents a major public health success story that has preserved the lives and health of tens of thousands of newborns,” stated March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse.  “The March of Dimes is deeply grateful to Rep. Mike Simpson for being a tireless champion of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act.  With this legislation, we have ensured that the over 20,000 babies born in Idaho each year will continue to receive potentially life-saving newborn screening tests.”

“Besides the obvious benefit to families who suffer an enormous emotional and economic burden when a one of these conditions goes undiagnosed for too long, this legislation is a powerful tool for savings in our already overburdened health care system,” added Simpson. “As a former dentist, I have seen the value of diagnosing and treating a condition early in a child’s life, and this bill will help strengthen newborn screening across the country.”

One example is found in a 2012 study on severe combined immunodeficiency, known as SCID, which is one of the 31 core conditions recommended for state screening.  The Medicaid cost of treating a baby with SCID in the first two years can be $2 million dollars or more.  Yet an infant diagnosed early can be cured through a bone marrow transplant in the first three months of life, costing $100,000.

The amended bill already passed in the Senate, and now with House passage heads to the President’s desk for a signature.

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Simpson Touts Vital Idaho Priorities Included in Cromnibus

2014/12/10

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today applauded the release of H.R. 83, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations bill that included many important provisions for Idaho and Western States. 

“This bill represents an important step for Congress toward fulfilling its constitutional responsibility to fund government operations through the regular process,” said Simpson.  “When we fail to pass annual appropriations bills, we fail to look critically at how agencies spend taxpayer dollars, and lose opportunities to make government work better.  We can point to dozens of examples in this bill that support conservative priorities and represent good government that would not have been supported had we continued to fund the government through a Continuing Resolution.”

Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment had a key role in deciding funding levels for Department of Energy and Department of Interior programs, including the following highlights:  

Energy and Water Development

“I am pleased to report that the Energy and Water portion of the omnibus rejects cuts to nuclear research sought by the Obama Administration and increases funding for many of the vital programs at INL,” said Chairman Mike Simpson. “We’ve worked very hard with the Lab and the people of Eastern Idaho to promote INL, and the funding in this bill will advance the critical contributions that INL makes toward a broad energy security policy in the United States.  This bill will have a lasting impact on enhancing the current capabilities of INL and building new, unique capabilities that are essential to the world class researchers at our national laboratory.”

  • DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy is funded at $914 million, an increase of $24.3 million over the FY14 funding level. Nuclear energy research and development programs that receive funding within the $914 million allocation include several of the following:

    • The Idaho Operations and Infrastructure account, which covers infrastructure maintenance and improvements at Idaho National Laboratory, is funded at $200.6 million – a $20 million increase over last year.

    • The National Science User Facility program is funded at $36.5 million – an increase of $18 million above the President’s request.  Increases under this program are directed to fully complete the installation of post-irradiation examination equipment at INL’s Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory (IMCL).

    • Small Modular Reactor Licensing Support Programs are funded at $55 million.   This funding is slated for NuScale Power’s Small Modular Reactor which is proposed for construction in Idaho.

    • The Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, which is managed by INL and promotes the continued safe operation of America’s existing nuclear reactors, is funded at $35 million, an increase of $5 million over FY14 and the budget request.

    • The Reactor Concepts Research, Development, and Demonstration account is funded at $133 million – an increase of $20 million above fiscal year 2014 and $32.5 million above the President’s request. Within the overall $133 million level for this account, $33 million is allocated to fuel qualification for the High Temperature Gas Reactor, $11 million above the budget request.

    • The Advanced Fuels program within Fuel Cycle Research and Development is funded at $60.1 million, the same as last year and $17 million above the President’s budget request, and Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition research and development is funded at $49 million, $19 million above FY14.

  • Within the Office of Naval Reactors, the bill includes $68 million for the operation of the Advanced Test Reactor, an increase of $1.5 million above FY14.

  • Within the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the bill includes $5 million to continue development of an Electric Grid Test Bed program to enhance existing full-scale electric grid testing capabilities like those at Idaho National Laboratory.

  • The bill also provides $380 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with Idaho National Laboratory. This represents an increase of $13 million above the President’s request to fully support workplan alignments needed for Idaho’s transuranic waste program as a result of the closure of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. 

  • Includes an additional $2 million for the National Spent Fuel Program, putting the unique expertise of INL to work in order to provide solutions for managing the Department of Energy’s inventories of spent nuclear fuel.

  • Prohibits the U.S. Corps of Engineers from requiring Clean Water Act section 404 permits for certain agricultural activities, such as construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches.

  • Directs the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Army to withdraw the interpretive rule, “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Army Interpretive Rule Regarding the Applicability of the Clean Water Act 4 Section 404(f)(1)(A).” Section 404 of the Clean Water Act exempts certain agricultural activities, such as soil and water conservation practices, from regulation. The interpretive rule would have limited that exemption significantly. 

Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee

“I’m pleased with a number of public lands provisions in this bill that will have a direct and positive impact on Idaho,” said Simpson.  “PILT funding is crucial to Idaho counties, and adequate funding for wildfire suppression is essential, so I’m very glad that this bill fully funds both of those priorities.  In addition, the language delaying the sage-grouse ESA listing decision is extremely important to our state.  Stakeholders in Idaho have worked hard to create a management plan that will prevent the listing of sage-grouse as an endangered species.  Yet even stakeholders who have been at the table since the beginning of this process are concerned that the court-imposed listing deadline has resulted in less collaboration and rushed decisions.  They need more time to do the proper work that will warrant a decision not to list the species.  By delaying the listing decision, we can provide the BLM with time to do the job right.”

  • Full funding of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which compensates counties for the losses in property tax as a result of a high percentage of federal land.  Idaho counties received $28,579,192 in PILT funding for FY14.

  • Language prohibiting funding for writing a rule to list the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species, providing stakeholders additional time to craft management plans that would work to prevent a listing.

  • Full funding for wildfire suppression operations at the 10-year average, as well as $65 million for the Forest Service to acquire needed airtankers to fight wildfires, allowing the agency to phase out antiquated aircraft.

  • Extends language making litigation costs more transparent and extending requirements that litigants exhaust administrative review before litigating grazing issues in Federal court.

  • Restores $1 million to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves; and

  • Prevents agencies from limiting recreational shooting and hunting on federal lands.

Defense

“I’m very pleased that my colleagues have shown wide recognition and support for the importance of keeping the A-10,” said Simpson.  “The A-10’s past combat performance is lauded by both the service members that operate them and those who rely on them for close air support on the battlefield.  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.”

  • Denies the administration’s request to retire any A-10 close-air support aircraft, and provides $337.1 million to keep A-10s flying in FY15. 

  • Prohibits funds from being used to transfer or divest AH-64 Apache helicopters from the Army National Guard to active Army in FY15.

Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee

“Fresh potatoes have been excluded from the WIC program despite their widely known nutritional value,” said Simpson. “This bill corrects the exclusion of fresh potatoes and allows WIC participants to make wholesome food choices for their young families.”

  • Includes a provision lifting a ban on white potatoes from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.  This language, drafted by Congressman Simpson, ensures that fresh white potatoes and all varieties of fresh vegetables are eligible for purchase through the WIC program. 

The House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 83 on Thursday, December 11.  Links to the bill text and reports can be found here: http://rules.house.gov/bill/113/hr-83

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Simpson Opposes Unilateral Action By President

2014/12/04

 Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today opposed H.R. 3979, The National Defense Authorization Act because of the authority it extends to the Administration to train and equip the Syrian rebels.

“There are many essential provisions included in H.R. 3979 that I support.  However, I opposed the bill because I cannot in good conscience vote to extend additional authority to the Obama administration’s unilateral decision to train and equip Syrian rebel groups,” said Simpson. “A determination to continue to commit billions of dollars and countless other American resources to a new, and potentially years long conflict in the Middle East is too important for Congress to rubber stamp.  We need to hold hearings, have a debate and vote after we have a complete picture of what our long-term strategy will be in this conflict.  The actions we take now will have long lasting impacts on our national security, budget, and our economy, and I for one do not trust the President with making those decisions alone.”

H.R. 3979 passed with a final vote of 300-119 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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Simpson to Forest Service: Observe First Amendment in Wilderness

2014/11/25

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell expressing his strong concern about the Service’s Proposed Rules for Commercial Filming in Wilderness Areas. Simpson’s primary concern is that the Administration’s final rule will place an undue burden on journalists, television programs, outfitters and guides and other media-related activities that have traditionally enjoyed access to wilderness areas for filming or photography.

“My office has received considerable contact from journalists and others who regularly film or take photographs in our nation’s spectacular wilderness areas,” Simpson wrote. “These are people who appreciate wilderness, want to share its values with others, or may want to use their photographs or videos to help promote their business. These are not individuals who are looking to film feature length action movies that would do harm to wilderness areas or involve multiple cameras with large crews and extensive sets.”

Simpson’s primary concern is protecting the First Amendment, “Under no circumstances should the Forest Service be dictating its views about content to the media,” Simpson wrote. “The portion of the rule that leaves open the possibility that the Forest Service could deny access over content raises serious First Amendment concerns and is contrary to any Congressional intent associated with the creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System.”

Simpson is requesting Chief Tidwell to ensure the final rule addresses concerns from journalists and others who would like to film or take photographs in wilderness areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

A copy of the letter can be found on Simpson’s website.

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Simpson Response to Obama’s Immigration Plan

2014/11/20

The following statement was issued by Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson following the President’s Address to the Nation on his plans for immigration:

 

“Let me be clear, the President's actions tonight are illegal, unconstitutional, and contrary to the way in which the American people expect the President and Congress to interact. They have the potential to throw us into a Constitutional Crisis.

 

“Apparently the President didn't get the message the American people sent to him two weeks ago. At the same time, I strongly believe my party's response to this inappropriate executive action should be measured and realistic.  We cannot shut down the government, impeach the President, or allow this issue to impede progress on deficit reduction, tax reform, or other critical priorities for the American people.  Instead, we should fight this edict early next year in any realistic way we can, fight the President in the courts, and move expeditiously to enact a more responsible, effective and lasting approach to immigration reform.”

 

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Simpson Supports Bills to Improve EPA’s Public Accountability

2014/11/20

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. 1422, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013, H.R. 4012, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013, and H.R. 4795, the Promoting New Manufacturing Act, were all passed by the House of Representatives and are now awaiting action by the U.S. Senate.

H.R. 1422, which makes a number of reforms to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to ensure that EPA’s decisions are made on sound 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. 1422 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.”

H.R. 4012 would ensure that the scientific data used by EPA for policy decisions is available to the public.  The bill responds to concerns about the fact that the Obama Administration has not made public the data behind a number of its decisions and has refused to provide the information to Congress when requested.  Similarly, H.R. 4795 would improve accountability and transparency in EPA’s permitting process for industrial projects.

“I have long expressed my concern about EPA’s appetite for aggressive regulation, a concern that is magnified by the fact that EPA cannot or refuses to provide the scientific data it uses to make these policies,” said Simpson.  “These bills are reasonable and important measures to bring transparency and accountability to the regulatory process, and I am hopeful that the Senate will act on them quickly.” 

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Simpson Supports Keystone XL Pipeline

2014/11/14

Idaho Congressman Simpson today supported H.R. 5682, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and allow 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. 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.

The first application to the U.S. State Department to build the pipeline was submitted in 2008, and after a thorough environmental review, in 2011 an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impacts during its construction and operation.  Despite this, President Obama denied the Presidential Permit request in January of 2012, requiring the permitting process to begin anew.  The State Department issued a second Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in January of 2014, confirming once again that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impact.

“Moving forward with the permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil,” said Simpson. “The President is yet again playing political games with our energy security, and ignoring the benefits of this project without a scientific basis for doing so.”

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. 

“This project has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and it has been reviewed and studied for six years and found to be environmentally safe,” Simpson said.  “I hope the Senate and the President approve this bill quickly, because the economic and energy security implications for this country are too important to delay any longer.” 

H.R. 5682 authorizes the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The bill deems the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 sufficient to satisfy all the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and any other federal law that requires federal agency consultation or review.

The House passed H.R. 5682 by a vote of 252-161. It will now move to the Senate for further consideration. 

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Simpson Praises Findings of Safety Evaluation Report

2014/10/17

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today released a statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) completion of a key volume of the Safety Evaluation Report for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Storage Project. Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and has the lead role in deciding funding for all Department of Energy programs.

“The findings of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the Safety Evaluation Report provide the strongest evidence yet that Yucca Mountain is safe and that the project should move forward,” said Simpson.  “Yucca Mountain has been the law of the land for nearly 30 years, and we have spent $11 billion dollars on the effort up to this point.  It is mindboggling that the administration continues to block the project despite overwhelming scientific evidence confirming its safety.” 

The NRC originally received an application from the Department of Energy (DOE) in June of 2008 for a license to construct and operate the nation’s first geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  In March of 2010, the Obama Administration filed a motion to withdraw its application, and the NRC unilaterally halted its technical review of Yucca Mountain in September 2011.  The completion of the third volume of its Safety Evaluation Report follows an August 2013 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision ordering the NRC to continue its review of the licensing application at least until available funds are expended.  The Court found that the NRC was “simply defying a law enacted by Congress, and…is doing so without any legal basis.”

“It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on political games and move forward on Yucca Mountain,” Simpson said.  “All of the technological developments that are happening now at the Idaho National Lab and elsewhere in the field of nuclear energy will ultimately depend on our ability to find a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel.  In light of this new NRC report, I hope that the administration will rethink its baseless objections on Yucca Mountain.”

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Simpson Urges Full Funding of PILT SRS for FY2015

2014/10/15

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined a number of western colleagues in urging House leadership to secure full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) programs for fiscal year 2015.  In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Simpson and others urged that the federal government fulfill its responsibility to counties with tax-exempt federal land by fully funding both programs.

Legislation authorizing full funding of PILT expired at the end of September.  The letter reads:  “While it must be our ultimate goal to enact a long-term, sustainable solution to eliminate the ongoing uncertainty our counties face [while Congress authorizes these programs on a year-to-year basis], an extension and full-funding of these programs is essential to address immediate needs…Without congressional action, we risk severely crippling these counties’ ability to operate.

“Equally important is the funding that more than 700 forest counties and school districts receive through SRS.  These payments honor the over 100 year old contract between the federal government and counties housing the 193 million acres of National Forest land.  Due to extremely low productivity on the federal forests over the past two decades, these funds are more critical to counties’ well-being than ever. ”

Simpson has been a long-time advocate for extending the existing mandatory authorization of PILT.  “PILT is the equivalent of the federal government paying the property taxes it owes to the counties where it owns land.  If we fail to fully fund the government’s obligations under PILT, the federal government is essentially failing to pay its taxes and fulfill its commitments to counties throughout Idaho and the West.  As a result, many counties—especially those with a large percentage of federal land—will be unable to provide essential services.  These counties know that PILT is not an optional ‘nice to have’ but critical to their ability to serve their communities.”

The letter was signed by 41 members and delivered to House leadership on October 15, 2014.

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Simpson Continues Fight Against Obama Water Grab

2014/10/03

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today expressed continued opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to expand federal jurisdiction over water.  This week the Small Business Administration expressed “deep concern” in a letter to the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the impact of the rule on agriculture and other small businesses.  The letter echoed Simpson’s call to withdraw the rule.

“I have long expressed concern about the negative impact that the EPA’s attempted water grab would have on agriculture in Idaho.  Unfortunately, we are now seeing these predictions play out,” said Simpson.  “The more this rule is analyzed, the more ridiculous the EPA’s claims that it won’t negatively affect agriculture and other industries become.  With the SBA weighing in that the rule would have ‘direct and significant impact on small businesses,’ it’s time to renew the call to withdraw this rule.”

This week Simpson joined colleagues in other dairy states in sending a letter to the EPA, the Corps, and USDA expressing concern about the impact that the rule would have on the dairy industry, among others.  He crafted language in both the FY15 House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill and the FY15 House Energy and Water Appropriations bill to prevent the rule from moving forward.

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Contact Information

2312 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5531
Fax 202-225-8216
www.house.gov/simpson

Committee Assignments

Appropriations

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.


Serving With

Raul Labrador

IDAHO's 1st DISTRICT

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