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
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson commends the recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggesting that fresh, white potatoes should not be excluded from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Simpson has been raising this concern with the USDA for years and successfully included fresh, white potatoes in the WIC program in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill that was signed into law.
“Fresh potatoes have been excluded from the WIC program despite their widely known nutritional value,” said Simpson. “Congress has directed the USDA to allow WIC participants to make wholesome food choices for their young families by including fresh, white potatoes in the program, yet the Administration has failed to follow through. I hope the USDA will listen to the IOM report they requested and once and for all permanently end this ridiculous exclusion.”
Simpson’s language in the FY2015 cromnibus only ended the exclusion for one year.
The IOM committee evaluated the 2009 regulation that excluded white potatoes from purchase with the WIC cash value voucher (CVV) and considers whether white potatoes should henceforth be allowed as a WIC-eligible vegetable in the CVV. Summary of the report is online, but some key findings are listed below:
Overall, the nutrient profile of white potatoes is similar to that of other starchy vegetables that are currently permitted for purchase with the CVV. Because white potatoes are so widely consumed, they contribute useful quantities of potassium and fiber to Americans’ diets.
The nutrient profile of white potatoes does not support their exclusion from the CVV because their nutrient content is similar to that of other starchy vegetables included in the CVV. Increased consumption of white potatoes could improve potassium intake for both women and children.
WIC participants’ intake of all fruit and vegetable subgroups could be improved. Current consumption of starchy vegetables does not meet 2010 DGA recommendations for this food group.
Overall diet quality for both WIC participants and WIC-eligible non-participants could be improved.
Simpson has advocated for the inclusion of fresh, white potatoes for years by writing letters to Secretary Vilsack, offering amendments and giving speeches to his fellow Congressman on the issue. To view Congressman Simpson defending fresh potatoes in the House Appropriations Committee, visit his YouTube page.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson will once again be a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Dairy Farmer Caucus for the 114th Congress. The 80 member bipartisan caucus provides a forum for members and staff to collaborate on many important issues to the dairy industry.
“Idaho dairy producers and their counterparts across the nation face unique challenges,” said Simpson. “It will be important for the dairy industry to be a part of the conversation as this Congress discusses reforming our tax code and rolling back regulations that burden businesses and farmers.”
The Congressional Dairy Caucus is a bipartisan, nationwide group of members that was formed to address the wide range of issues that matter to dairy farmers and their industry partners. The caucus provides a forum for Members of Congress to work together on issues including Farm Bill policy, trade agreements, regulatory policy, and immigration issues.
The American dairy industry is an integral component of our national and local economies; it is undeniably the foundation of many of the rural communities in Idaho and across the country. Idaho is a large part of the dairy industry’s economic output and ranked 3rd in the nation for milk production.
“We know how important the dairy industry is to our economy here in Idaho,” said Simpson. “This caucus provides a valuable opportunity for Idaho dairy farmers to join the discussion on agricultural policies that impact our entire nation.”Read More
“The national debt just isn’t cool anymore.
“It barely got a passing mention in the State of the Union, rarely is discussed in the halls of Congress, and seems to be nearly forgotten by the Idahoans who contact my office. I’ve heard from seven Idahoans this year on debt – compared to the nearly one thousand who have contacted me about immigration in the last few months.
“It wasn’t long ago that the national debt was the most popular kid at the dance. It was the challenge of our times. Republicans and Democrats convened special committees to tackle it; President Obama dedicated significant portions of his State of the Union and entire speeches to it; powerful interest groups formed to build ideas and find consensus to fix it. It was just 2009, in the midst of the recession, when President Obama convened the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Summit to bring the country together and highlight solutions. But we never hear about it anymore. So what changed from 2009 to now? Is the debt gone?
“Not quite. In fact, it’s the opposite - it has grown by $7.5 trillion, a staggering 70% increase, and it continues to grow at record rates.
“How can that be possible? The President has bragged repeatedly that deficits have been cut by more than half, and he’s right. His budget released yesterday has a $474 billion deficit, down from the record $1.4 trillion in 2009. But it isn’t as rosy as it seems, and the White House’s claim that we have tackled the deficit is misleading at best. Though it is growing slower than before, the debt is greater relative to the size of the economy than at any time since WWII, and it is projected to begin swelling again, to a monstrous 79% of the economy by 2025. In a huge missed opportunity, his budget does nothing to address the structural flaws generating our enormous debt, nor does it make any effort to balance the budget in the long term.
“In the last few years, the annual deficit has decreased as a result of a combination of spending reductions instituted by the Republican Congress, and increased revenue from the improving economy. But for all the efforts to reduce spending, Congress continues to ignore the elephant in the room eating up 2/3 of the budget and growing at an unsustainable rate. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid continue to grow as our nation gets older and lives longer. They are paid for on a mandatory basis – meaning we have already committed to pay for them no matter how big they get, even if it adds to the debt.
“But we can’t just cut them. They are contracts made to the American people, and the government must make good on our deal. What we can do is stop paying for them with gimmicks and IOUs. We need to modernize and update our entitlements, and we need to do it now. We also need a reformed tax system to produce the revenue needed to pay for them.
“Tax policies that grow the economy will create more revenue than simply jacking up taxes on the wealthy. We need fundamental tax simplification and reform. Let’s not pick and choose winners and losers in the tax code to score political points, let’s revamp the entire system to benefit the whole economy.
“Presidents Bush and Obama oversaw record spending to cover the costs of the wars in the Middle East and in response to the recession. At the same time we had greatly reduced revenue coming in to the government. We put record deficits on our credit card. Now, the wars are over and the economy is recovering, but we have done nothing to pay off the credit card.
“At some point, the bank comes after its money.”Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, alongside Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), has co-introduced H.R. 539, the ‘Action for Dental Health Act of 2015.’ This legislation will target relatively modest but crucial federal dollars to organizations to provide proven oral health care services in a manner that effectively addresses the barriers to dental care that people often face. Without spending any additional dollars, the bill would have a significant impact on communities that are underserved.
“Early diagnosis, intervention and preventive treatments can stop the progress of most oral diseases,” said Simpson. “Not only do individuals often suffer from severe pain, but it also adds unnecessary costs to the health care delivery system, costs that could have been minimized or eliminated had the disease been caught in its early stages.”
“Regular visits to the dentist do more than keep your smile attractive – they can tell a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing a disease like diabetes or if you’re at risk for a stroke,” said Kelly. “Our bill helps to create healthier communities by breaking down barriers to oral healthcare and will ultimately help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs by minimizing and eliminating dental diseases in their early stages.”
H.R. 539 redirects existing federal dollars to initiatives that have a real impact on dental access disparities. It includes programs that reduce the number of people who visit emergency rooms by diverting them to private dental practices, where in some cases they can repay the cost of their care with community service activates, expansion of care in nursing homes and for the elderly, support of charitable organizations, improving collaboration with health professionals, and several other provisions.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which would support the existing partnership between states and the federal government by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This bill addresses widespread concerns with the EPA proposed rule expanding its jurisdiction over water throughout the country. Congressman Simpson was also a cosponsor of this legislation when it passed the House of Representatives in the 113th Congress.
“This bill responds to some of the most troubling aspects of the EPA’s efforts to expand its jurisdiction,” said Simpson. “The EPA initially claimed that its rule would provide clarity and flexibility, unfortunately this is not the case. Idahoans have serious concerns about how the EPA may decide to interpret this rule in the future, thus causing even more uncertainty than they have now.”
The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act expands on the achievements of House Republicans in the FY15 Cromnibus bill which included provisions restricting the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, such as soil and water conservation practices, from regulation.
“This bill recognizes that the EPA’s proposed rule undoes many existing and successful partnerships for cleaning up and maintaining our waterways, whether those are partnerships between farmers, ranchers, and conservationists or local, state, and federal governments,” said Simpson. “I think it’s an arrogant assumption on the part of the EPA to say that they alone should have such authority over every drop of water across the country.”
Simpson has long been a leader on this issue. As Chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, he included similar language in the FY2015 House Energy and Water Appropriations Act and authored language in the FY2015 House Interior and Environment Appropriations Act to prohibit the agencies from finalizing the proposed rule.Read More
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported a House package of 12 bills to protect those most at risk to human and sex trafficking in the United States and abroad. The legislation would build on the bipartisan efforts of last Congress by boosting resources to our law enforcement officers and providing support to the victims of trafficking crimes.
“Many Americans think that human trafficking is a chapter from our past. Unfortunately these crimes are real and too often occur here in the U.S.,” said Simpson. “By passing these important bills we are prioritizing resources within the leading agencies that deal with these heinous crimes.”
According to the FBI, sex trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime and the third largest criminal enterprise in the world. The numbers are sobering; an estimated 293,000 American youth are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and 100,000 children are believed to be actual victims of trafficking every year in the United States. 17,500 people are believed to be trafficked into the United States each year from other countries; while between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked worldwide. Most trafficking is related to sexual exploitation, and most trafficked persons are female.
Several of the bills passed in the House package take aim at putting an end to this by restricting the passports of people convicted of sex crimes in other countries, increasing training among State Department employees so they are better equipped to identify and protect victims, and encouraging states to adopt ‘safe harbor’ laws and protect the victims of these horrific crimes.
All 12 bills will now head to the Senate for consideration.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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Congressman Simpson spoke to potato growers from Idaho and across the country at the Potato D.C. Fly-In this morning. http://t.co/WwvuOmELFs
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