Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce

NEW MEXICO's 2nd DISTRICT

OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL TO PROVIDE CERTAINTY, STABILITY FOR NM BUSINESSES

2014/12/12

Washington, DC (Dec. 12, 2014)  Congressman Steve Pearce voted in favor of the FY 2015 CR-Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Passage of the $1.013 Trillion spending bill will protect American jobs, fund national security priorities, reduce wasteful spending and provide for veterans.

“Passing the spending bill as our last order of business this year was critical, as it will provide certainty and stability for New Mexico businesses through the next fiscal year,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “Compelling points and arguments existed on both sides of the issues, and I found there were reasons to vote for and against the bill. The bill provides several provisions to protect jobs and restrict crippling federal regulation and overreach, including protecting farmers and ranchers from new grazing fees on BLM and Forest Service lands. The legislation also reduces federal bureaucracy. It reduces funding for the IRS by $346 million. The bill restricts overreach of the federal government, including a provision to prevent the EPA from passing a rule to regulate lead content in ammunition, and it prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from requiring Clean Water Act permits for agricultural ponds and ditches.”

“We have increased funding for the National Institutes of Health and provided $45.2 billion for VA medical services, including $7 billion for mental health care, $133 million for suicide prevention and $7 billion for homeless veterans’ assistance.”

“I commend Chairman Calvert and Chairman Rogers for putting forth legislation that includes vital provisions that will help Western communities grow and prosper,” said Pearce.  “The bill increases funding for hazardous fuels reduction to help Western communities prevent catastrophic wildfires. It also prevents the administration from implementing new fees on oil and gas producers who create jobs and ensure stable energy prices for middle-class families. The bill cuts full-time employees at the EPA to the lowest level in 25 years, and rejects $66 million requested by the President to implement even more economically devastating regulations. The bill will give statewide conservation efforts a chance to succeed by preventing a listing of the sage grouse, which would have severe economic consequences for many Western communities.”

“Last, but not least, the bill fully funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Program (PILT) that so many Western communities rely on for their everyday needs. The provisions in this bill are essential in providing certainty and the potential for economic growth in the West.”

Highlights of the FY CR-Omnibus Appropriations Bill:

·         $45.2 billion for VA medical services, including $7 billion for mental health care, $133 million for suicide prevention and $7 billion for homeless veterans’ assistance

·         $209 million to assist with VA Veterans Choice Program

·         Prevents federal regulations on farm ponds, irrigation ditches

·         Prohibits proposed new grazing fees on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands

·         Since 2010, overall spending has decreases $10.91 Trillion to $1.013 Trillion ($80 billion). The IRS budget has been reduced more than $1.2 billion since 2010 and is currently funded below 2008 levels.

·         Since 2010, the EPA budget has been reduced by more than $2 billion.

·         EPA employee levels are at the lowest since 1989.

·         Budget rejects new EPA regulatory programs.

·         Defunds $4.3 billion “Race to the Top,” the program, and the Common Core State Standards.

NOTE: The FY 2015 CR-Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by a 219 to 206 vote. 

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HOUSE REAUTHORIZES TERRORISM RISK INSURANCE ACT

2014/12/10

Washington, DC (Dec. 10, 2014) Today, the House passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014.  Reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for six years, this bill increases accountability to the taxpayer by increasing the amount needed before the federal government contributes.   

“The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program is prudent in a world where we have seen the threat of terrorism increase substantially in the last year,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “Businesses and families nationwide cannot afford the federal government to end its federal backstop of a program that protects consumers. Included within the bill are modernizations that ensure the costs are shared in a fiscally responsible way, while also providing flexibility for insurance companies. I urge the Senate to pass this important legislation.”

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HOUSE PASSES SUICIDE PREVENTION ACT FOR VETERANS

2014/12/09

Washington, DC (Dec. 9, 2014) Today, the House passed bipartisan legislation that is designed to help prevent veteran suicides. Congressman Steve Pearce cosponsored H.R. 5059, The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a bill that will increase access, better meet the demand and boost the accountability of mental health care. The legislation has support from a number of veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the VFW.

“Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt’s struggle to seek help in his desperate time of need will never be forgotten,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “Tragically, he was only one of many veterans who suffer from the effects of war, and urgently require mental health services from the VA.  The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act makes needed reforms to the VA and will assist in the prevention of veterans’ suicide in New Mexico and across the country.”  

The bill also:

·         Increases access to mental health care by creating a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning service members, and a one-stop interactive website of available resources.

·         Better meets the demand for mental health care by starting a pilot program to repay the loan debt of students in psychiatry, to more easily recruit them to work at the VA.

·         Boosts accountability of mental health care by requiring an annual evaluation of suicide prevention practices and programs.

NOTE: H.R. 5059, The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, is named in honor of Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt, who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq and was redeployed to Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD and sought to help others raise awareness about depression. On March 31, 2011, he took his own life. 

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HOUSE VOTES FOR DROUGHT RELIEF ACT

2014/12/09

Washington, DC (Dec. 9, 2014) Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 with a bipartisan vote of 229-182. The bill temporarily reduces government red tape in order to supply the maximum quantity of water to agriculture, municipal industrial and refuge service contractors and State Water Project contractors. Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“This administration has put special interest demands ahead of Western citizens, which has exacerbated drought conditions, causing crops to turn into fields of weeds, unemployment to skyrocket, and the price of food around the country to increase,” said Pearce. “Declining American food production has caused increased imports from China and other countries that do not have adequate food safety requirements, which has led to serious health concerns.  The bill passed today will help preserve the livelihoods of California farmers who put food on American tables without harming any species. By failing to address this issue now, we would not only be hurting California farmers and the thousands they employ, but every American family who relies on safe, healthy, and affordable groceries. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to quickly act on this commonsense piece of legislation.”  

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SUNZIA PROJECT THREATENS NATIONAL SECURITY

2014/12/07

By: State Senator Mary Kay Papen and Congressman Steve Pearce

Washington, DC (Dec. 7, 2014) Today, we in the United States face an unprecedented variety and quantity of threats against our safety.  From Chinese cyber aggression, to the possibility of ISIS terror attacks – our nation must defend itself.  In order to do that, our military requires the ability to train and adapt to threats as they emerge and evolve, as well as the ability to develop and test new technology that will assist in strengthening our security. 

There is only one military installation in the world that is able to provide this dual capability for the U.S. – White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). 

WSMR is the nation’s premier development and test facility.  Unlike any other range, WSMR allows the military to conduct live tests of everything from Patriot missiles to laser interceptors. 

This diversity is possible because of WSMR’s size and location. Covering roughly 4,000 square miles, with 100 percent restricted airspace; the Army, Navy, and Air Force have a unique environment to create and engage in virtually any test that is needed.

Under current global conditions – this versatility makes WSMR invaluable to our national security and the protection of our men and women in uniform.  Unfortunately, some appear to believe that corporate profits come before the defense and security of the United States. 

In 2008, the SunZia Corporation began plans to construct a 515 mile long transmission line across New Mexico to Arizona.  Utilizing alternative energy sources, the line will support Phoenix and other large Arizona cities with significant energy assistance. 

To be clear, we support the prospects of alternative energy development in New Mexico, and we do not oppose the construction of the SunZia transmission project.  What is unsupportable is the route.

Currently, the route would directly impact WSMR by cutting through an important section of the installation.  It is utilized for nearly 30 percent of the test and evaluation operations ongoing at WSMR, and this percentage will increase in coming years.  Routing the line through this area will cripple the military’s ability to conduct critical tests, jeopardizing not just the survival of WSMR, but the safety and security of American soldiers and American citizens. 

The SunZia transmission line is projected to cost more than one billion dollars, but construction has not begun. Final environmental impact studies have yet to be completed, and so, alterations to the route can still be made with little difficulty, delay or cost.  Not to mention it would be easier to construct next to existing power lines – like those already along Highway 60.  Yet, for the last 6 years, SunZia has fought to route the transmission line through WSMR. 

We have yet to understand why, and our support remains solidly behind the mission of the Range.

Earlier this fall, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel agreed to mitigation terms that would allow the line to cut across WSMR, with the requirement of three small buried sections. 

From day one, the Department of Defense opposed any effort that would impact the viability and flexibility of WSMR, while the Department of the Interior seemed determined to approve the line regardless of the security and economic implications it has for New Mexico and the nation. 

However, after senior officials at the White House were briefed on SunZia’s project and the conflict that existed, Defense suddenly agreed to approve the transmission line, despite crossing WSMR. 

We struggle to understand how anyone could believe it is more important to prioritize the construction of a transmission line, than to protect the nation’s top test and evaluation site, which is unlike anywhere else in the world.  In the end, it seems as though an unfortunate compromise was made, placing corporate profits over national security.  This is unwise and dangerous.

The Albuquerque Journal, Las Cruces Sun-News, Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Governor Martinez, have all opposed SunZia compromising WSMR’s mission.  The Range provides nearly $1 billion annually in revenue for New Mexico, and employs roughly 10,000 of our friends, family members and neighbors.  Most importantly, it provides our military with the spring board to conceptualize, develop and test the next generation of defense capabilities to face any threat against the United States head on. 

White Sands Missile Range is fundamental to national defense, and to obstruct its mission is to invite peril.  

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DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION FAILS TO MEET COMMITMENTS, INCLUDES MASSIVE LANDS DEAL

2014/12/04

Washington, DC (Dec. 4, 2014) Congressman Steve Pearce released this statement following the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (NDAA):

“Voting against the NDAA today was a difficult decision for me,” said Congressman Steve Pearce.  “As a Vietnam veteran, I always look to support the military and their families. However, the NDAA does not fully meet the needs of our troops and grossly expands the federal footprint in the West.” 

“As well as being a veteran, I am the co-chair of the Congressional Western Caucus. In this capacity I have a responsibility to protect and fight for the West.  Included within this NDAA is a massive lands package, added at the last minute of negotiations.  Creating nearly 250,000 new acres of wilderness that will greatly restrict multiple use on the lands, is simply unacceptable.  Already extremely disadvantaged by massive amounts of public lands, the West continues to be under attack by environmental and special interest groups that degrade the Western way of life.  In the past year, New Mexico has seen this first hand with the President designating a nearly 500,000-acre monument, the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. While the bill does include a small allocation for local governments through a payment system called Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILT), this does little to offset the dramatic damages this package will have to access and ranching in the West.”

“While this legislation includes many important provisions for our troops, it does not live up to its commitments.  The bill includes a reduced pay increase from what has previously been legally mandated, it reduces the housing allowance for all levels of the military, and it will increase prescription co-pays in the short term.  Our soldiers deserve consistency and certainty, and this does not provide it.”  

“I am disappointed with how this process was carried out.  Our military deserves better.  As a Congress, we should be committed to providing our troops with the support they need and deserve, free of political maneuvers and adages.”

 

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HOUSE ACTS TO PREVENT EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION

2014/12/04

Washington, DC (Dec. 4, 2014) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released this statement following the passage of the Executive Amnesty Prevention Act, H.R. 5759.

“The President’s decision to defy the constitution by using executive actions to change immigration law cannot go unopposed,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “The legislation passed today is a proactive response to this gross abuse of power.  It clarifies that the President’s use of executive authority does not extend to exempting millions from legal action at once.  This is a needed step in any legal challenge to the President’s abuse of power.”

“America is a land of Democracy, where laws dictate what is right and wrong. The President has unilaterally acted time and again, without the authority or consent of Congress.  To make matters worse, these actions are unfair and innately political action by the President, and will have harmful and damaging effects, while significantly disheartening and disadvantaging the millions of potential immigrants following the law and waiting to enter the United States.”

“Congress must work together to create comprehensive immigration reform. Immigration reform, like any issue, is not too large to face, as long as we are willing to work together.  Members of Congress recognize the need to fix our broken immigration system, and this can be accomplished. However, the reality is - the President cannot just ignore our laws.”

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HOUSE PASSES BILL TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC CERTAINTY FOR WESTERN BUSINESS

2014/12/03

Washington, DC (Dec. 3, 2014) Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act  with a bipartisan vote of 378-46.  The bill implements a one-year extension of tax provisions that would otherwise expire and are essential to businesses, jobs, and families in the west.  Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement in response to the passage of the bill:

“Technological innovation is essential to a prosperous middle class and economic opportunity,” said Pearce. “This legislation provides stability for independent energy producers and manufacturers who have invested in energy efficiency. The tax provisions in this bill are essential to ensure that America’s economy, including the energy sector, has a chance to continue growing. The provisions will also help America’s agriculture industry, which contributes so much to Western conservation efforts.”

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HOUSE PASSES PEARCE NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING BILL

2014/12/02

Washington, DC (Dec. 2, 2014) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce is proud to announce the bipartisan passage of the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act Reauthorization of 2014 (NAHASDA).  By a voice vote, the House acted to increase access to safe and affordable housing for Native Americans nationwide.  In addition to reauthorizing the legislation, HR 4329 includes a number of reforms that will provide lease-to-own programs aimed at providing rural tribes with the means for self-determination, and allow tribes to focus more on money and development, instead of administrative requirements.

“Prosperity has eluded Native American families living on tribal land for too long.  NAHASDA has been a driving force in reversing this trend on tribal lands, providing opportunity and housing for millions more since its inception in 1996,” said Pearce.  “I am extremely proud to be the sponsor of this legislation, which has been called transformative by tribal leaders.  It represents another positive step in modernizing current housing, and providing tribal leaders with greater self-autonomy in meeting the needs that face their communities.

“I appreciate my colleagues in the House, who have worked with me to make this legislation not only a reality, but a truly bipartisan effort for change.  Working across the aisle with Gwen Moore, Denny Heck, and Maxine Waters among others, and with tribal leaders nationwide, we have been be to make critical reforms requested and needed in tribal communities.

"Working together, we were able to reduce the burden and expand opportunity in Native housing. These reforms will result in more efficient use of taxpayer money and provide faster approval of projects, allowing tribes to focus money and resources on development and innovation. By providing Native Americans more housing, we expand pride in communities and increase opportunities for the next generation.  I urge my colleagues in the Senate to quickly adopt this legislation.”

NOTE: H.R. 4329, The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, was first signed into law in 1996. This five-year authorization bill includes a number of reforms, updates and additions to the originating legislation. 

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PEARCE AND PAPEN VOICE SUPPORT FOR WSMR

2014/12/02

Washington, DC (Dec. 2, 2014) Across New Mexico, individuals continue to work across party lines to support and preserve New Mexico’s military installations.  This week, Republican Congressman Steve Pearce and Democrat State Sen. Mary Kay Papen, Dist. 38 of Dona Ana County, will release an opinion editorial supporting the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) against any effort that would impact the viability and flexibility of the Range.

“Protecting the military missions in New Mexico transcends party affiliation,” said Congressman Steve Pearce. “I thank State Sen. Mary Kay Papen for opposing any obstruction to the mission at WSMR, the nation’s premier development and test facility.  We support the prospects of alternative energy development in New Mexico, and we do not oppose the construction of the SunZia transmission project.  What is unsupportable is the route. The SunZia transmission line is projected to cost more than $1 billion, but construction has not begun. Final environmental impact studies have yet to be completed, and so, alterations to the route can still be made with little difficulty, delay or cost. We have yet to understand why, and our support remains solidly behind the mission of the Range.”

NOTE: WSMR is located in the Second Congressional District, Congressman Pearce’s district.

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Contact Information

2432 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2365
Fax 202-225-9599
pearce.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Financial Services

Steve Pearce was born in 1947 to a large working-class family.  He was raised in Hobbs, New Mexico, where his father worked as a roustabout, selling vegetables on the side of the road to make ends meet.  With six children to feed, times were often hard in the Pearce household, but his upbringing has made it easy for Steve to relate to the hardworking people of southern New Mexico.

Steve attended New Mexico public schools his entire life, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from New Mexico State University and an MBA  from Eastern New Mexico University.  During the Vietnam War, Steve served as a combat pilot, flying over 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, as well as seven other military medals and four exceptional service awards.  Steve continued service at Blytheville Air Force Base in Arkansas, and attained the rank of Captain.

In addition to his firsthand knowledge of the military and its importance to America, Steve is a respected small-businessman who thoroughly understands the economic issues facing our country.  He and his wife Cynthia long owned and operated Lea Fishing Tools, an oilfield services company in Hobbs.  Because of this role, Steve is well aware of the regulations and taxes that plague small-business owners, and wants to help get government out of the way of these hard-working Americans.  Having built his business from the ground up, Steve created 50 jobs in his community.  He is confident that small businesses throughout southern New Mexico form the backbone for job creation and economic growth.

In 1996, Steve was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives, where he served until 2000.  During this time, he was elected as Caucus Chair and served on the Appropriations Committee.  He was widely recognized for his work in economic development, in which he applied the commonsense principles he had gained as a small-business owner.

In 2002, Steve was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until 2009.  With the retirement of Senator Pete Domenici, many New Mexicans were concerned about the loss of a strong conservative voice representing New Mexico in the Senate.  Steve again answered the call to serve by leaving the House and running for U.S. Senate.  His bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but in 2009, amidst an economic crisis, the passage of the President’s healthcare bill, and expansion of government regulation, Steve decided to again run for Congress.  As he explained to friends and family, he made the tough decision because he was afraid for his country, and wanted to keep fighting for New Mexico.

Today, Steve continues a lifetime of service as New Mexico’s only conservative voice in Washington.  Steve was appointed by his peers to serve on the House Committee on Financial Services, and as chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus.  He continues his work making New Mexicans’ voices heard, helping to create jobs in southern New Mexico, and fighting for the liberty of all Americans.


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