Washington, DC (May 10, 2018) The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, to modernize our nation’s nuclear repository system.
“This bill is a step in the right direction to securing the nation’s stockpile of nuclear waste that is currently sitting idly in over 120 communities across the country. For the safety of people, families, and the environment, it should be a top priority to develop a proper storage site for this waste. Included in this bill is the creation of an interim storage site to safely and temporarily stage waste prior to being permanently stored in Yucca Mountain. New Mexico currently has the only application submitted to develop this interim storage site. This project, with community support, would continue to cement New Mexico as a national leader in nuclear energy production, development, and disposal,” stated Rep. Pearce. “I’ve always supported an ‘all-the-above’ energy plan that unleashes America’s domestic energy production, and a part of that includes safely storing spent nuclear fuel to advance our nation’s defense strategy. I thank Congressman Shimkus for his dedicated work to make our nation more secure by demanding a permanent disposal site for our nation’s nuclear waste.”
Background In 1987, Congress designated 147,000 acres in Nye County, Nevada for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository for spent nuclear fuel, which is currently held temporarily in 39 different states. H.R. 3053 will require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue a final decision on the Yucca Mountain project within 30 months of enactment.
H.R. 3053 will also authorize the Department of Energy to develop an interim storage facility before the final decision on Yucca is made. Currently, HOLTEC in southeast New Mexico is the only applicant, and has local community support.
Washington, DC (May 9, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce today introduced H.R. 5721, The Village of Santa Clara Conveyance Act of 2018, to allow for the Village of Santa Clara to acquire land that was previously considered the Fort Bayard Military Reservation but was not included in the 1972 land transfer to the National Forest System.
“I’m pleased to introduce this bill today to help the Village of Santa Clara create a more prosperous future for the surrounding community. This land transfer will not only bring greater economic opportunities to the Village, but will create value for land that was otherwise locked up without any purpose. This means more businesses will be able to open up shop, increasing revenues and creating jobs for the local community. With this bill, the Village of Santa Clara will be granted a voice in the future management of these lands to protect and promote the priorities of the community,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Rep. Pearce worked with the Village of Santa Clara Mayor, Richard Bauch, to facilitate the land transfer.
“As Mayor of the Village of Santa Clara, I support the Congressman’s efforts today to unlock these lands that are adjacent to the Village for community and economic development. Since these lands are not a part of the Gila National Forest, the National Forest Service is unable to transfer the lands over without being authorized by Congress. I thank the Congressman for stepping in to unwind the tangle of bureaucracy that is limiting opportunities for the Village to expand. It is my hope that with this land transfer, we will leave behind a more prosperous village for generations to come,” stated Richard Bauch, Mayor of the Village of Santa Clara.
Background In 1972, the Fort Bayard Military Reservation was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Gila National Forest except for sections 34, 35, and 26. These parcels of land are still considered federal land and are managed by the Forest Service. Since these parcels were originally reserved as a military post, Congress must authorize the transfer of lands to the Village of Santa Clara.
Washington, D.C. (May 8, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce released the follow statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted and passed S.J.Res.57, disapproving of guidance passed by former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) Director Richard Cordray that attempts to regulate auto dealers without being authorized to do so under the Dodd-Frank Act:
“Since its creation, the Bureau has been working in its own interests without accountability or transparency, enacting rules that have only undermined consumer protections and hurt those it was created to protect. Under Cordray’s direction, the Bureau used questionable reasoning to extend jurisdiction over the automobile dealer industry, even though they’re specifically prohibited from doing so. The Bureau’s auto-lending guidance blatantly ignored due process for businesses and imposed regulations on an industry that relies on competition. Their activism not only demonstrated another major power grab by the Bureau, but ultimately harmed consumers’ access to fair rates for car loans in the long-run. I’m pleased to stand with my colleagues today to disapprove this guidance and put consumers back in the front seat.”
On March 21, 2013, Richard Cordray, former CFPB Director, issued guidance for automobile lenders in an attempt to control automobile dealer compensation policies or prohibit dealer markup practices all together without having proper authority to do so under the Dodd-Frank Act. This guidance was an effort to indirectly control automobile lenders, accusing U.S. businesses of racial discrimination against consumers without due process or reliable statistical support. An article was published in the Wall Street Journal on September 1, 2015 entitled “Crackdown on Racial Bias Could Boost Drivers’ Costs for Auto Loans,” which highlights an example of the guidance’s harmful impact.
Washington, DC (May 8, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a markup on H.R. 5674, the VA MISSION Act, that ends the Veterans Choice Program, or Choice, which provides better service and flexibility to veterans trying to receive access to medical care.
“Our veterans have served and sacrificed in defense of our freedoms and liberties. As a nation, we owe it these brave men and women to keep our promise to them by providing the highest quality of care when they return home from the battlefield. For many veterans in rural and underserved communities, the Veterans Choice Program provides vital access to healthcare by their local provider. This bill passed in Committee today lacks defined access standards and quality metrics, doing a great disservice to our veterans’ understanding of care in their community. Chairman Roe’s bill not only hands over enormous regulatory power to a systemically, failing bureaucracy, but also ends the one program veterans have finally come to learn and use – Choice. As it stands, the VA MISSION Act will weaken veterans’ access to community care. It took a national crisis to originally enact the Veterans Choice Program, and it is wholly unacceptable to eliminate it.
As a veteran, I’ve personally seen the unique challenges that veterans in rural communities face and understand the difficulties involved in receiving specific care that is needed. We should be working in Congress to break down the barriers within the VA that affect rural veterans, not giving them full authority to regulate veterans out of seeing their local providers. I stand by the promise I made to veterans, and will continue working with Chairman Roe and Members of the Veterans Affairs Committee towards a final bill that ensures those in rural communities will have access to the service and care they need,” stated Rep. Pearce.
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (Veteran Choice Program or Choice) of 2014, was enacted on August 7, 2014 only after it was uncovered that many veterans died while waiting for access to care. The Veterans Choice Program was implemented in response to the uncovering of a secret waitlists and veterans unable to access medical care at VA facilities. Choice was ultimately enacted to improve the access of eligible veterans to health care through non-Department institutions and providers.
The two main eligibility criteria for Choice are (1) living outside of a 40-mile driving distance from a VA Medical Facility or (2) having to wait longer than 30 days for an appointment. The authority to develop eligibility criteria for veterans to use non-VA entities and providers shifts to the VA’s control under the VA MISSION Act. This bill ultimately “sunsets,” or eliminates, the Veteran Choice Program 1 year from the date of its enactment.
Washington, D.C. (May 8, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after President Trump announced the United States will formally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran Deal:
“From the beginning, the Iran Deal was dangerous. It acted against the interest of national security and sacrificed American principles for a temporary gain. Despite the agreement in place, Iran continues to openly fund and assist terrorism, perpetuate human rights abuses, grow its ballistic missile programs, and intervene in Syria without any repercussions. Iran continues to have complete control over access to its military installations, preventing US and UN inspectors from having any idea of the actual nuclear research and development taking place in the country. This is the only denuclearization initiative in history that has allowed such an opaque and arbitrary provision.
With that said, I support the President’s action today to withdraw from the Iran Deal. We cannot in good faith sit back and enable the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to continue their illicit activities. Moving forward, we must work with our allies to prevent nuclear research, development, testing, and production in Iran, while also stifling the rouge state’s ability to finance and support terror around the world.”
Washington, DC (May 4, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce today announced that McKenzie Evans of Lordsburg High School in Lordsburg, New Mexico is the winner of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition for the Second Congressional District of New Mexico.
“I congratulate McKenzie on being our winner of this year’s Congressional Art Competition. This nationwide competition is an incredible way to highlight talented young people in each Congressional District. I look forward to meeting McKenzie when she visits D.C. for the unveiling ceremony,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Title: Caracal By: McKenzie Evans
Background Since the Congressional Art Competition was created in 1982, hundreds of thousands of high school students from around the country have participated at the local level. The winning entry from each district will be displayed on the grounds of the United States Capitol for one year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 30, 2018) – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) welcomed the launch of a new program to develop and implement long-term water quality monitoring for the San Juan River watershed. The delegation secured $4 million in the omnibus that was signed into law last month for the program.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it has partnered with the seven states and tribes adjoining the watershed - Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, the Navajo Nation, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe - to sample and assess the water quality of the watershed, including the San Juan River, the Animas River, and Lake Powell.
"Today's welcome announcement is possible because of the New Mexico delegation's hard work to authorize and provide funding for the San Juan Watershed Monitoring Program, a critical effort that will support Navajo Nation and Northwestern New Mexico communities as they continue to recover from the devastating Gold King Mine spill," said Udall, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the EPA's budget. "The Gold King Mine blowout spilled millions of gallons of toxic wastewater into the San Juan and Animas rivers - and Navajo Nation and Northwestern New Mexico were left to pick up the pieces. The launch of this water safety monitoring program represents a positive step to ensure we know what long term effects are in New Mexico's water supply. However, much important work still needs to be done. Despite promises to reconsider the previous denials of compensation, the EPA under Administrator Pruitt still has yet to pay any claims brought by private parties. In the Senate and in my position on the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for the resources needed for adequate water monitoring and other measures to fully compensate those hurt by Gold King Mine."
"In the Southwest, water is our most precious resource. I'm pleased we were able to secure funding for this critical long-term water quality monitoring program to support New Mexico and the Navajo Nation recover from the disastrous Gold King Mine spill," said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "I continue to share the anger and frustration of our communities in the Four Corners region over this terrible accident and believe more work must be done to hold the EPA accountable to compensate the victims of the spill for their losses and restore and protect the health of our communities, land, and water."
“The Gold King Mine spill contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers in New Mexico, putting the health and livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, tribes, and businesses who depend on the water from these rivers at risk,” said Pearce. “I’m pleased to see the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) take responsibility to mandate a long-term water monitoring program so that surrounding communities can have confidence in the quality of their water. I appreciate the work of the administration to review damages and will continue working to ensure that New Mexicans affected by this spill will be rightfully compensated.”
"The after effects of the Gold King Mine spill are still felt by communities across New Mexico. While there are still many challenges that must be addressed as a result of this spill. Long-term monitoring of water quality is an important step in rebuilding trust for those who were impacted," said Luján. "This program will provide the Environmental Protection Agency, the New Mexico Environment Department, tribes, and regional partners tools to better protect this important resource, so that downstream tributaries and rivers continue to receive freely flowing, clean water from the San Juan Watershed."
“In a 2015 House Oversight Committee Hearing, EPA assured me that they were taking full responsibility for cleaning up the Gold King Mine Spill, which released millions of gallons of toxic water into New Mexico communities. The implementation of the New Mexico San Juan Watershed Monitoring Program is an important step forward,” said Lujan Grisham. “It will ensure that EPA is living up to its responsibilities in the region to protect the health, environment and economy of impacted areas. However, much more needs to be done, and I join with my colleagues to continue fighting for the full compensation of residents living in the Navajo Nation and Northern New Mexico affected by the damage of the EPA’s spill.”
Contacts: Whitney Potter (Heinrich) 202.228.1578 / Ned Adriance (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Keeley Christensen (Pearce) 202.225.2365 / Victoria Oms (Luján) 202.225.6190 / Natalie Armijo (Lujan Grisham) 202.225.6316
Washington, DC (April 27, 2018) The U.S. House of Representatives today voted and passed H.R. 4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, with an amendment sponsored by Congressman Steve Pearce to allow the Roswell International Air Center (RIAC) in Roswell, NM to be eligible to receive grants under the Military Airport Program (MAP). This program allows for former military installation that have been converted to public-use, civilian airports to apply for federal dollars for a variety of projects such as hangers, access roads, or fuel farms.
“From housing one of the nation’s premier testing facilities, White Sands Missile Range, to New Mexico’s three Air Force Bases, our state has always played a critical role in our military’s development and readiness. When these facilities close, they leave a void in local economies. In New Mexico and around the nation, there are a number of former military air bases that can be repurposed to strengthen economies and opportunities for rural communities. Unfortunately, RIAC has remained ineligible to receive grant funding, severely impacting opportunities for the City of Roswell to develop the community over time,” stated Rep. Pearce. “By expanding eligibility for MAP, greater assistance will be available for cities like Roswell to make necessary improvements to general aviation infrastructure, updating hangers, road access, and other airfield projects to better support the community.”
Rep. Pearce worked closely with the City of Roswell to provide a legislative fix so that the RIAC can better benefit the surrounding community and state.
“The closing of Walker Air Force Base had a severe impact on the community and economy of Roswell, New Mexico. Through its own efforts, the City has strived to maximize the economic development of the Roswell International Airport Center (RIAC). From general aviation to military flight training, RIAC is in the right location and has the flexibility to be an ideal candidate for further investment. Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Pearce, RIAC can grow as an even greater asset to the nation’s air transportation system by having eligibility for MAP funds,” stated Mayor of Roswell, Dennis Kintigh.
Background: In January 2018, Rep. Pearce introduced H.R. 4630 to clarify eligibility requirements for military airports to receive grants under Military Airport Program (MAP). This bill is included as an amendment in H.R. 4 which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 393-13. The MAP funds improvement projects for former military airports that have been converted to civilian and joint use airports. These funds can be used to increase general aviation activity by financing projects such as building or updating parking lots, fuel farms, hangars, utility systems, access roads, cargo buildings, and other airfield projects at former military airports.
Currently, the FAA is only allowing airports that were formerly military bases that were closed under the BRAC process to apply for these funds. This amendment removes this arbitrary date to, ensure the FAA is following the original intent of Congress when administering this program.
Washington, DC (April 25, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce today attended the GOP Baseball Team’s first practice at Simpson Field in Alexandria, VA in preparation for the 2018 Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.
“Last year, tragedy struck on this very field as my colleagues and I were practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. A gunman with hate in his heart opened fire on our team to cause harm and to kill. By the Grace of God and with the heroic actions of Capitol Police, we are fortunate to have everyone still here with us today. As I’ve said in my travels around New Mexico and here in D.C. – we cannot expect to grow stronger and create opportunities for people to succeed with disdain and contempt for one another. I’m excited to be back on the practice field today for another season, and I encourage everyone to keep the spirit of the game in mind. Let’s have fun, work together, and raise money for charity.”
Click here or on the image below to watch Rep. Pearce speak at this morning’s practice.
Background On June 14, 2017, a gunman opened fire during the GOP congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, VA where Rep. Pearce and his colleagues were preparing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.
Washington, DC (April 19, 2018) The U.S. House of Representatives this week voted and passed multiple bipartisan bills to redesign the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), putting taxpayers first while prioritizing accountability, transparency, and security.
“Much like our old tax code, the IRS is still operating under antiquated technologies and processes. This week, Congress took action to improve and modernize the IRS by making customer service the top of their mission. This means putting the American taxpayer first. As a nation, we haven’t seen major IRS reforms like these in nearly 20 years. I remain focused on working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure this agency works with New Mexican taxpayers rather than against them,” stated Rep. Pearce.
Background The following bills passed by the House this week to redesign the IRS:
H.R. 5444 – The Taxpayer First Act – passed 414 - 0;
H.R. 5445– The 21st Century IRS Act – passed 414 - 3;
H.R. 2901– Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Permanence Act of 2017 – passed by unanimous consent;
H.R. 5440 – To require notice from the Secretary of the Treasury in the case of any closure of a Taxpayer Assistance Center – passed by unanimous consent;
H.R. 5438 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employees of the IRS and the Department of the Treasury to provide taxpayers information on low-income taxpayer clinics – passed by unanimous consent;
H.R. 5446 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to restrict the immediate sale of seized property by Secretary of the Treasury to perishable goods – passed by unanimous consent;
H.R. 5437 – To require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a program for the issuance of identity protection personal identification numbers upon request – passed by unanimous consent;
H.R. 5439 – To provide for a single point of contact at the Internal Revenue Service for taxpayers who are victims of tax-related identity theft – passed by unanimous consent; and
H.R. 5443 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require electronic filing of the annual returns of exempt organizations and provide for making such returns available for public inspection – passed by unanimous consent.
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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