Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after voting against a House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 2266, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act. This amendment allows the federal government to borrow money to provide additional funds for emergency relief while bailing out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):
“Around the nation, individuals and families are working to recover and rebuild from disastrous hurricanes, and thousands more continue to be impacted by devastating wildfires in California. Congress has the responsibility to aid in the recovery by providing emergency disaster funding – no one can disagree with this charge or with the need. If the amendment simply ensured the communities hardest hit have the money needed to recover, I would have easily supported it, as I did a couple weeks ago for the last emergency aid funding bill. However, yesterday’s action was an attempt to play politics with emergency relief funds and ignore billions of dollars in federal debt.
After each hurricane season, the NFIP continues to dive deeper into debt with no foreseeable avenue to solvency. Following both Katrina and Sandy, the federal government was forced to expand the NFIP’s borrowing authority by billions. Superstorm Sandy increased the authority by $9 billion alone. Reverting to debt forgiveness now is not the solution, fundamental changes to the program are the only option.
Instead of doing our job and reforming the program to an effective system that actually supports the American families who use it, Congress opted to forgive $16 billion of the NFIP’s debt. Bailing out NFIP without asking for vital changes only does a disservice to those families who rely on it in the worst of circumstances. To truly support our friends, families, and neighbors impacted by natural disaster we should ensure the insurance programs we have in place will actually work for them. Not just bail the program out and turn a blind eye."
Background This Amendment provides the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with $18.7 billion, $577 million for wildfire relief, $16 billion to bailout NFIP, and $1.3 billion for Disaster Nutrition Assistance to Puerto Rico.
On September 6, 2017, Rep. Pearce voted to pass emergency aid funding for the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey and, at the time, for the potential impacts of Hurricane Irma. On September 8, 2017, Rep. Pearce voted against the spending package that irresponsibly tacked on an extension of the debt limit and a Continuing Resolution to provide disaster relief funds for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement after President Trump announced his new strategy on Iran:
“From the beginning, the Iran Deal was a dangerous agreement that acted against the interest of American national security and the safety of our allies in the region. Rather than working to stabilize the region, the Obama Administration made it easier for the Iran regime to further support terrorism.
By limiting the terms of the Iran deal to only the nuclear program and ignoring the funding of terrorism, human rights abuses, or Iran’s ballistic missiles program, the previous Administration sacrificed American principles for a temporary gain. Now, we have the opportunity to reverse the tide and negotiate the strongest possible terms with Tehran to not only prevent uranium and nuclear production and development, but stifle the rouge state’s ability to finance and support terror around the world.
As Chairman of the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee, I understand the important sanctions work the Department of Treasury has done and how it has brought Tehran to the negotiation table. We must capitalize on these great efforts by Treasury, any less would be a missed opportunity. I will continue my work with the Administration to ensure future negotiations take full advantage of the United States’ sanctions ability to curb state-funded terrorism, human rights abuses, and threats to global stability.”
Washington, D.C. (October 12, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after President Trump signed an Executive Order to promote healthcare choice and competition:
“Obamacare is in the process of completely collapsing, with premiums at all-time highs and double-digit hikes expected for 2018 in New Mexico. Today’s Executive Order directs agencies to develop policies that allow members of trade associations and small businesses to join together to purchase insurance plans as a group. This administrative change will increase flexibility and choice while lowering the cost of insurance plans, allowing each group to find solutions that fit their needs.
People in New Mexico and across the nation are facing major decisions with their healthcare, with many are seeing reduced options and increased prices. Some individuals are even being forced to end their coverage, opting to pay a penalty, because costs are so high. A one-size-fits-all, federally driven system has failed to provide States and individual entities with the ability to choose. More than anything, I want New Mexico to have opportunities to thrive, and a part of rebuilding includes fixing the system so that choice, access, and freedom are once again the priority. I look forward to continuing my work to lower costs and increase options for New Mexicans.”
Background Today’s Executive Order directs the Secretaries of the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor to consider revising regulations to expand short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Association Health Plans respectively. Each Secretary has 180 days to evaluate and report back to the President on recommendations to expand choice and increase competition in healthcare markets.
Washington, D.C. (October 12, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today introduced H.R. 4031, Beneficiary Travel Act of 2017, to bolster the Veterans Choice Program, which provides services to millions of veterans in rural communities across the nation.
“As a veteran, I strongly support cutting government red tape that prevents our nation’s former service members from receiving the quality and timely care they deserve. Our veterans sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms and liberties, and we must honor our commitments to them. I’ve personally experienced the unique challenges that veterans in rural communities face and how difficult it can be to receive the specific care needed,” stated Rep. Pearce. “We’ve made a promise to these veterans that cannot be broken. My legislation will continue to innovate veterans’ care by making improvements to the CHOICE program. This bill is a step in the right direction for deconstructing the barriers within the VA that affects rural veterans. I will continue to stand by my promise to the men and women in New Mexico, and across the nation, who bravely stepped up to serve and protect our nation.”
Background Beneficiary Travel (BT) is a program that provides eligible veterans with reimbursements for travel between VA Health Care facilities or VA approved, non-VA Health Care facilities. In 2016, roughly $1 billion was spent on reimbursements according to the VA. As it stands, VA facilities are able to direct unused BT funds to other medical services without oversight.
In 2014, Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (VACAA) to improve wait times for veterans receiving medical services after the VA Office of Inspector General released a report that cited roughly 120,000 veterans were awaiting their appointments for more than 30 days. As a result, the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) was created, which provided better service and flexibility to veterans trying to receive medical care. Veterans are eligible to enroll if they reside more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or if their closest traditional VA facilities’ wait-times exceed 30 days. Since its enactment in 2014, more than 3.22 million veterans have enrolled in VCP and that number is expected to increase with nearly 8 million veterans eligible.
In August 2017, the House passed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act to appropriate an additional $2.1 billion to the VCP, preventing the complete depletion of funds.
H.R. 4031 will require the Secretary of the VA to submit an annual report to Congress on BT payments. Any BT funds not used based on this report will be reallocated into VCP.
Washington, D.C. (October 11, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement on the Senate passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a section that increases out-of-pocket costs for veterans on TRICARE by eliminating the grandfather clause currently in place:
“America’s veterans and their families have sacrificed greatly to defend our freedoms and preserve democracy. The very least we can do is to uphold and honor our nation’s commitment to provide veterans with the benefits they have been promised. Any changes, including fee increases, must be made for the next generation of military personnel. Veterans and those currently serving should not be blindsided by new requirements and fees at the hand of government mismanagement. Not only does this ensure our military has the time and ability to plan for the future, but it ensures that as a nation, we remain committed to standing by the brave men and women who answer the call of duty.
Supporting and honoring our military is not something our nation has always done. As a congressional body, and as a nation, we can never again revert to a place where we do not stand behind and show our thanks for all that our service members do so that we can live free and safe.”
Background In December 2016, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, which only increased TRICARE benefits for retirees, service members, and their families that join the service after January 2018. Current service members and retirees were grandfathered into the old system, making them exempt from increased costs.
In July 2017, House passed the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) for FY2018 with Rep. Pearce’s support. This version did not include provisions that would affect the TRICARE grandfathering clause.
In September 2017, the Senate passed the NDAA for FY2018 with the addition of Section 707, which eliminates the grandfather clause, no longer exempting current military retirees, current service members, and their families from increasing healthcare costs.
Washington, D.C. (October 10, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP).
“In New Mexico, and across the country, we’ve seen businesses close up shop and coal miners put out of work due to the crippling regulatory costs of this rule. With EPA’s action today, power will be given back to the states so that economies, like ours in New Mexico, can grow stronger and more competitive. This is real progress towards ending the War on Coal, which has crushed jobs and increased energy costs in our local communities,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Rep. Pearce continued to state, “New Mexicans deserve reliable and affordable energy without job-killing restrictions that cripple economic opportunity in our state and across the nation. As a leader in the production and development of energy resources, New Mexico’s economic success relies on having the freedom and room to grow. Eliminating the Clean Power Plan cuts government red tape and eliminates unnecessary regulations so we can move closer to an ‘all the above’ energy plan that creates jobs and sustains low energy prices for all Americans.”
Background In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the EPA, under the Obama Administration, exceeded its statutory authority by enacting the CPP in attempts to severely limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.
In March 2017, President Trump signed the Energy Independence Executive Order to encourage greater domestic energy production and development. Today’s action to repeal the CPP will reduce unnecessary regulations and burdens that hindered the development of energy resources across the nation.
Washington, D.C. (October 9, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today released the following statement President Trump announced his immigration principles and priorities:
“We in New Mexico know firsthand the challenges that come with a broken and outdated immigration system. Previous Administrations continuously sidestepped Congress by ordering harmful, temporary patchwork solutions without thinking about the long-term affects. It is the job of Congress, not the President, to make legal reforms to our immigration policies. I look forward to Congress working with the Administration to ensure the rule of law and Constitution are upheld as we come together to protect our nation’s security and economy from vulnerabilities and loopholes entwined in our immigration system. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure fairness, justice, and family unity prevail, and will fight for permanent changes so future generations do not face the same challenges and burdens.”
Background On October 8, 2017, the Trump Administration sent Congress immigration policy priorities outlining three immigration policy objectives: border security, interior enforcement, and merit-based immigration system. The overall objective by the Administration is to ensure safe and lawful admissions into the United States, defend safety and security of U.S. citizens, and protect American taxpayers.
In September 2017, the Administration announced their plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program in March 2018, giving Congress six months to provide a long-term solution. Read Rep. Pearce’s full statement here.
Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today greeted southern New Mexico veterans during their visit to the World War II Memorial in our nation’s capital. The veterans’ trip was sponsored by Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico, an organization that honors America’s war veterans and their sacrifices by taking them on a trip to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials.
“New Mexico has a long, proud history of military service and I’m incredibly honored to have been able to welcome them to their monuments, shake their hands, thank them for their service, and listen to their stories. These memorials offer veterans an opportunity to pause and reflect on what their service really meant to our nation. It was a humbling experience to be surrounded by these incredible men and women who served and sacrificed to defend our country and the freedoms we’re lucky to have today. I also want to thank Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico and the volunteers for ensuring these veterans had the opportunity make this trip,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Click here to view photos from today’s honor flight visit to the World War II Memorial.
Washington, D.C. (October 4, 2017) The U.S. House of Representatives today voted and passed H. Con. Res. 71, the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution, to set overall discretionary spending levels for FY2018, balance the budget, and provide a pathway forward for tax reform.
“Our nation’s budget has spiraled out of control and without significantly changing course, we are slated to leave an unsurmountable debt with our children and grandchildren. Just as families have to sit around the kitchen table and balance their budgets each year, so should the federal government. While not perfect, today’s plan aims to balance the nation’s budget by cutting irresponsible spending and government red tape to unleash our full potential.
Passing this budget also moves us one step closer towards reforming our nation’s antiquated tax code to help people, families, and businesses in New Mexico succeed. I’ve been hearing from people in New Mexico – small business owners, senior citizens, mothers, fathers – who are tired of dealing with an overly burdensome and complicated tax code that takes their hard-earned money and puts undue stress on their shoulders. The reforms this budget helps move forward will level the playing field so that middle- and working-class folks become the priority, small businesses will again be able to strengthen our local economies, and more jobs and revenues will return to the United States, helping to fund our schools, hospitals, roads, and other critical funding projects.
Today’s budget furthers Congress’ commitment to strengthening our nation’s military, ensuring the men and women who step up to serve have the proper training, resources, and overall ability to complete their missions. We cannot expect our nation’s military to defend against ever-evolving threats without the modernization of equipment and resources needed to achieve effective military operations.
We can no longer expect our nation’s most vulnerable to carry the weight of our debt and spending on their backs. All New Mexicans deserve to have the resources to succeed, and I will continue working in Congress and with local communities for the future of our great state and nation,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Background H. Con. Res. 71 sets FY18 overall discretionary spending at $1.132 trillion, with $621.5 billion for defense discretionary and $511 billion for non-defense discretionary. This legislation also provides guidance to the Ways and Means Committee for moving forward on tax reform.
Washington, D.C. (October 4, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce announces the 2017 Congressional App Challenge, a competition encouraging students to get involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities. Students will compete by creating and exhibiting a software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet or computer devices. All students K-12 in New Mexico's Second Congressional District are encouraged to participate, even if they've never coded before.
“New Mexico is home to some of the nation’s premier STEM research and development facilities. As a State, we must be doing all we can to assist and encourage the next generation to continue to lead in these fields. For the future success of our State and our children, young New Mexicans must become more involved in STEM education. The Congressional App Challenge is a unique and engaging way to encourage STEM participation. I hope schools throughout the District take advantage of this opportunity. It is a wonderful way to empower the youth of our State to create and develop new technology,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Students who wish to participate must sign up and submit their app with demonstration video by 12:00 PM ET on November 1, 2017. There is no minimum age, however, students must not have graduated from high school to participate. Students can compete individually or in teams of up to four. Read more about the rules, eligibility, and how to participate here.
2432 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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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The sue & settle process denies transparency & allows decisions to be made behind closed doors. I support… https://t.co/k83aVnPwxd