Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported passage of the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution which was approved by the House of Representatives on Friday. This is the most significant Obamacare repeal legislation to pass the House since the law was enacted six years ago. Passage of the resolution unlocks a legislative mechanism known as “reconciliation” which provides Congress with the ability to repeal and ultimately replace Obamacare.
“It is no secret that Obamacare has not lived up to the promises made six years ago,” said Congressman Simpson. “Obamacare has led to higher premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer choices – and this is before the most egregious tax hikes have gone into effect. I hear from Idahoans daily about the struggles associated with this law, and today’s legislation represents an important step in replacing Obamacare with real healthcare reform that puts decisions back into the hands of families, patients, and doctors.”
The resolution was agreed to by a vote of 227-198 and was agreed to by the Senate earlier in the week.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted for two pieces of regulatory reform legislation to prevent regulatory overreach by the Obama administration during its final days and to return accountability and transparency to the federal regulatory process. The total cost of regulations imposed by federal agencies is estimated at $1.88 trillion annually.
“Each year, federal agencies issue regulations without considering both their cost and benefits,” said Simpson. “Congress needs to reestablish its authority to oversee these rules in order to reduce the burden on all businesses and stimulate real economic growth.”
As a first step, on Wednesday, Simpson voted in favor of H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 238-184.
“Throughout his term in office, President Obama has disregarded the economic impact of his regulatory actions on the American people,” said Simpson. “We do not intend to allow this administration to continue imposing its onerous regulations without the consent of Congress in its final days. This legislation would provide Congress the flexibility to swiftly disapprove of any attempt to push forward these burdensome rules.”
The Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow for joint resolutions to disapprove of more than one regulation at a time if they are submitted to Congress during the last 60 legislative days of a presidential term.
On Thursday, Simpson voted in favor of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017, H.R. 26, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 237-187. Simpson was also a cosponsor of the REINS Act.
“Congress has a critical oversight role to play to ensure that federal agencies are not overreaching their authority and impeding job growth,” said Simpson. “I have heard from countless Idahoans who are frustrated with the impact of costly regulations on their ability to do business.”
The REINS Act amends the CRA to require Congress to approve every new major regulation proposed by federal agencies, including any regulation that has an impact of over $100 million per year. By returning to Congress its constitutional charge, the REINS Act further holds Congress accountable to the American people for laws imposed upon them.
Both H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 now move to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT ) along with 30 other members of Congress, today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exercise its legal authority to investigate and take action against the manufacturers of products they falsely claim to be milk.
Dairy farmers continue to be buffeted by extreme financial hardships. Since 2014, milk prices have plunged 40 percent. During that same time, there has been a surge in the mislabeling of imitation “milk” products, including beverages produced from almond, soy, and rice.
In a bipartisan letter to the FDA, the coalition objected to the mislabeling of imitation plant-based products that do not have the unique attributes and nutritional value of milk, yet are marketed as milk.
“While consumers are entitled to choose imitation products, it is misleading and illegal for manufacturers of these items to profit from the “milk” name,” said the members. “These products should be allowed on the market only when accurately labeled. We urge FDA to enforce this matter by requiring plant-based products to adopt a more appropriate name that does not include the word ‘milk’.”
“While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery; dairy imitators do not naturally provide the same level of nutrition to the people buying them as milk does,” President and CEO of International Dairy Foods Association Michael Dykes said. “Non-dairy beverages can mislead people into thinking that these products are comparable replacements for milk when in fact most are nutritionally inferior.”
“You haven’t ‘got milk’ if it comes from a seed, nut or bean,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation. “In the many years since we first raised concerns about the misbranding of these products, we’ve seen an explosion of imitators attaching the word ‘milk’ to everything from hemp to peas to algae. We don’t need new regulations on this issue, we just need FDA to enforce those that have been on the books for years.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act which would fund vital biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as important funding and policy provisions related to drug approval, mental health, and opioid abuse prevention. The 21st Century Cures Act passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 392-26.
“Having previously supported many of the provisions in the bill we passed today, I was thrilled to see all of them incorporated into a package that will likely be signed into law,” said Simpson. “I have been a longtime supporter of NIH funding, but this legislation goes a step further to improve mental health treatments, opioid abuse, and the drug approval process which will safely and efficiently get lifesaving drugs to the patients that need them.”
Specifically, the legislation would:
Provide $4.8 billion over 10 years to NIH for many cutting edge research initiatives;
Provide $500 million to the Food and Drug Administration over 10 years to advance new drug approval and medical devices for patients;
Provide $1 billion over 2 years for grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention efforts;
Provide offsets to ensure the legislation is paid for on a year to year basis.
The bill also includes provisions to improve the nation’s mental health treatment system that would reauthorize important programs and grants to improve access to mental health treatment. Congressman Simpson was a cosponsor of this legislation and supported the bill when it passed the House in July.
The legislation is expected to be considered by the Senate and signed by the President before the end of the 114th Congress.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined 94 colleagues in urging House leadership to secure full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Simpson and others urged the federal government to fulfill its responsibility to counties with tax-exempt federal land by fully funding both programs.
“Last year’s Omnibus spending bill was critical in preserving funding for PILT at levels that keep up with the needs of communities across Idaho,” said Simpson. “If Congress doesn’t act again this year, then counties are strapped with the uncertainty of how they will pay for essential services. I am committed to making sure that Congress does its job and honors the commitments to counties with large percentages of federal land.”
Congressman Simpson also signed a letter to House leadership advocating for an extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) program. In 2015, Congress enacted a two-year extension of the SRS program which, similar to PILT, provides an alternative source of education funding for counties with a high percentage of national forests. This program also fulfills the federal government’s responsibility to counties with tax-exempt federal lands.
The bipartisan coalition of 52 Members of Congress wrote that, “the SRS program continues to be a critical safety net for forest counties…We stand ready to work with you in support of this important program.”
Congressman Simpson has been a long-time advocate for PILT, ensuring full funding was provided for the program when he chaired the House Interior and Environment subcommittee. In July, he supported the fiscal year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which passed the House of Representatives and included full funding for PILT.
“While I would prefer a long-term solution to both PILT and SRS, I support immediate and necessary funding for both programs,” said Simpson.
Both letters were delivered to House leadership in the last week.
Idaho Congressman Simpson praised the strong passage of legislation to provide funding for veterans this week by a vote of 342-85. H.R. 5325 also continues funding for all federal government operations at current levels through December 9, 2016.
H.R. 5325 includes the full year Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (VA) Appropriations bill that passed the House of Representatives on May 19, 2016 with bipartisan support.
“Funding provided by this legislation is necessary to keep the government operating and provides critical resources and certainty for our service members and veterans,” Simpson said. “This bill is needed to increase the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of VA services to veterans. It is the responsibility of Congress to ensure the VA receives the resources it needs to provide our veterans with the quality care they deserve.”
The funding in H.R. 5325 will continue to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide housing and services to military families, and maintain base infrastructure. The CR also includes funding to address management problems and health care shortages in the national VA system.
After two and a half months on the road, Congressman Mike Simpson will celebrate the success of the Idaho STEP Challenge by holding a team walk in Boise this evening. In partnership with the Saint Alphonsus Health System, Simpson will participate alongside dozens of Meet Me Monday athletes for a walk around downtown Boise. Beginning at 5:15 p.m., the free event will start at Bandanna Running and Walking, located at the intersection of 5th and Main Street. The event is open to the public.
After logging 700 virtual miles, the Idaho STEP Challenge is off to a fast and fun start. With 300 individuals and 27 teams participating, the virtual walk across America has ventured from the nation’s capital, up the eastern seaboard, and into the Great Lakes region of the Midwest. Participants are currently trekking across the state of Indiana.
“When I launched the Idaho STEP Challenge this summer, I wasn’t exactly sure how people would react to the event,” said Simpson. “It’s been thrilling to see so many people join with me on this walk across America, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the challenge participants in person during the Meet Me Monday event.”
Meet Me Monday is a free weekly fitness walk and run event held every Monday year-round. Participants sign a participation waiver the first time they attend, and each time after that, they initial their name on a participant roster allowing them to earn athletic gear as they accumulate attendance points. On average, more than 80 people attend the weekly walk as a way to improve their health of mind, body and spirit; spend time with family and friends; and support the community through active engagement.
“Meet Me Monday and Saint Alphonsus are thrilled to have Congressman Simpson join us for our walk today to highlight the Step Challenge, and the tremendous impact we can have on our personal health by just taking a walk each day and tracking our steps,” said Corey Surber, Director of Advocacy at Saint Alphonsus. “We applaud Congressman Simpson for his leadership in promoting physical activity, and using social support and encouragement to keep people engaged.”
Since 2014, Simpson has lost more than 70 pounds using a wearable activity tracker to monitor and record his daily steps. Based on his success, he created the non-partisan, non-political Idaho STEP Challenge to promote health and fitness, and prevent obesity related diseases.
Similar to a virtual race, the challenge allows participants to record their individual miles using their own activity tracker or pedometer and report their progress on Simpson’s website. The 3,000 mile virtual route weaves through several iconic American cities, national parks, and spacious heartlands, and is expected to end on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol Building next summer.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported the House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 231-196. Included in the legislation are policies important to western states such as full funding for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), a vital program in the west that ensures communities are adequately compensated for the lack of tax revenue due to the presence of federal land.
“Every county in Idaho depends on the federal government meeting its obligations through Payments in Lieu of Taxes,” said Simpson. “PILT is essentially the government’s property tax on the federal land it owns, and it needs to be paid fully and on time. I’m pleased that full funding was included in this bill, and I am also committed to fulfilling the promises made to public lands counties in the long-term and will continue working to provide permanent certainty for Idaho’s counties.”
The Interior bill also includes a number of provisions championed by Simpson that benefit Idaho, including:
• Language that prevents a future listing of the sage-grouse as an endangered species while prohibiting any changes to resource management plans that are inconsistent with state management plans. The language also prohibits the withdrawal of mineral rights in sage-grouse focal areas;
• Full funding for wildfire suppression at the ten-year average of $3.9 billion for the Department of Interior and the Forest Service;
• A $78.5 million funding increase for the National Park Service targeted at park operations and maintenance to help reduce the maintenance backlog and will address other priorities related to the Park Service’s centennial anniversary;
• More than $400 million in cuts to the EPA below the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2017. EPA funding has been reduced by $2.4 billion, or roughly 23 percent, since Republicans regained control of the House in 2010;
• Language that prohibits the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, and the elimination of funding for greenhouse gas “New Source Performance Standards;
• Language preventing the EPA from dramatically expanding its jurisdiction over state and local water under the Clean Water Act by changing the definition of “navigable waters”;
• Language that directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue two final rules removing recovered wolves in Wyoming and in the Western Great Lakes from the endangered species list;
• Language that prohibits a ban on recreational shooting and hunting on federal and public lands;
• Language that prohibits the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from implementing their proposed “Planning 2.0” regulation until the agency provides additional time for public comment;
• Language that encourages the BLM to work with the State of Idaho on future aquifer recharge projects.
“When you look at the critical funding and key provisions in this bill, you immediately recognize why this legislation is so important to Idaho,” said Congressman Simpson. “Whether it is blocking the EPA’s overreaching rule that seeks to drastically expand their jurisdiction over state waters or providing the Forest Service with the resources it needs to fight wildfires in Idaho and across the west, I am so pleased that Members of Congress advanced the Interior Appropriations bill.”
The House Interior Appropriations bill is the fifth appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives for fiscal year 2017.
“Each year we have an opportunity to celebrate the 4th of July and remind ourselves of the sacrifices made on our behalf to secure our freedom and independence. American history is filled with heroic and selfless acts made by men and women who have fought to defend our values and way of life. Today we continue to witness bravery from those who selflessly serve and protect our country. Giving them the proper tools and resources to fulfill their mission has always been a top priority of mine. Equally important, we must also keep our promises to veterans. Recent passage of the FY17 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill helps accomplish this in several ways.
“First, we were able to secure funding that maintains military base infrastructure. This funding includes money for housing, training, and equipping military personnel, in addition to other services for military families. Projects funded under this bill include new construction as well as renovations to dated military bases within the U.S. and around the world. This allows us to keep our military bases safe and modernized to address new unique challenges.
“In addition to meeting the infrastructure needs of our troops, we were able to add important funding for our veterans. This bill provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with added resources that will be applied towards clearing out the national backlog of disability benefits claims. With an increase in funds, the VA is now in a position to hire 242 new staff members who will work towards addressing issues related to disability benefits claims.
“I am pleased to see that this legislation directs funds toward important medical services, allowing the VA to treat an estimated seven million patients this coming fiscal year. This includes added funding in important areas such as mental health care services and suicide prevention efforts.
“The FY17 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill also addresses mandatory funding requirements such as veteran disability compensation programs, education benefits that help over one million of our veterans, and also vocational rehabilitation and employment training. These are all important services that give our returning military members the tools and resources they need to successfully enter the civilian workforce.
“Overall this appropriations bill allows us to meet important needs and support our troops and veterans. We owe it to all of those who have sacrificed for our country, to keep our promises to those who are currently serving as well as our veterans. It is my hope that this 4th of July we can take a moment to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of our forbearers, and look forward with continuing support to those who make those same selfless acts of service today.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released the first Mile Tracker Board for the Idaho STEP Challenge where he is virtually walking from Washington, D.C. Currently Simpson’s virtual location en route is 98 miles and is just outside of Westminster, MD.
Westminster is home to the Bear Branch Nature Center and the Hashawha Environmental Center that feature several interactive exhibits on local plants and animals, a youth environmental education center, and more than five miles of multi-use hiking and running trails spread across 320 acres.
The Idaho STEP Challenge was created by Simpson as a way to encourage residents to get fit and healthy using data captured on a wearable activity tracker or pedometer. Individuals wishing to participate can still register on Simpson’s website, and then keep pace with the Congressman while he walks across America. The challenge is expected to last approximately 14 months, and cover nearly 3,000 miles.
Simpson has lost nearly 70 pounds using an activity tracker to monitor his daily steps. “I am thrilled so many people have agreed to join the Idaho STEP Challenge,” said Simpson. “I have been approached by dozens of individuals who have shared their stories with me and I can’t wait to see how many of us complete this goal.”
Similar to a virtual race, residents can participate using their own activity tracker or pedometer to track the steps they accumulate through regular fitness or exercise routines. Each participant will report their weekly progress on Simpson’s website. The route begins at the U.S. Capitol Building, and takes participants through several iconic American cities, national parks, and spacious heartlands, eventually ending on the steps of the Idaho State Capital Building. So far, more than 380 people have signed up with over 200 reporting their total miles walked since June 1st.
Frequent challenge updates, fun facts about the towns and cities along the route, links to healthy recipes, tips on getting in your weekly steps, and other information will be posted to Simpson’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and labeled with a #hikewithMike hashtag.
Constituents that complete the challenge will be invited to meet Simpson in Boise, Idaho next year for a walk and healthy reception. Participants will also have the opportunity to purchase a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in recognition of their achievement.
The Idaho STEP Challenge is a non-partisan, non-political interactive event open to the public.
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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We’re marching through South Dakota’s Badlands National Park, home to rich sedimentary rock and millions of fossils. #hikewithMike
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With solemn gratitude, we remember all those who bravely defended our nation at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.… https://t.co/JN7E1ADhAH
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South Dakota is on the horizon. At 1,320 miles, the #hikewithMike STEP Challenge is rolling through the “land of infinite variety.”
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As a member of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Rep. Simpson has been an advocate for the Special Diabetes Program. #WorldDiabetesDay