Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce


Pearce Opposes Questionable Short-Term Highway Patch



Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Surface Transportation Act (H.R. 3236) another short-term extension which also contained unrelated provisions involving the Veterans Choice program. Following his vote against the bundled bill, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement:

“This short-term Surface Transportation patch will not provide the certainty that the state of New Mexico and businesses need to plan long-term infrastructure projects,” said Pearce. “Not only does this bill fail to address the long-term needs of highways, it uses questionable methods to pay for this patch, which do not meet the standards that Congress is expected to uphold.”

“To make matters worse, the House Leadership rolled the Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act into the Surface Highway Transportation bill in order to increase votes. This language would address additional budget shortfalls brought on by VA mismanagement. Although I was tempted to vote for the legislation because of this fix, I cannot at the expense of yet another short-term highway bill. Even though Congress passed landmark Veterans Choice legislation in 2014, the VA remains broken and is now demanding that Congress authorize the Department to draw funds from beneficial programs to pay for other poorly handled and unaccountable ones. 

“While I am discouraged that veterans are once again being used as pawns and are at the losing end of VA mismanagement, I cannot in good faith support another temporary patch on the transportation bill. I look forward to working with my House colleagues on a long-term bill to avoid this dangerous trend of short term measures that fail to provide the necessary certainty that New Mexico needs. And, I would hope that our leadership keeps these issues separate in the future,” Pearce concluded.


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Pearce Votes to Put Veterans First



Washington, D.C. –  Today, by a vote of ​256 to ​170, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the VA Accountability Act, (H.R. 1994), a bill to require accountability within the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration.  Following his vote for passage, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement:

“Today, I voted again for stronger oversight and real reform within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an entity still plagued by bureaucrats, fraud and misconduct,” stated Pearce. “For over a decade, I have been fighting to ensure that veterans receive the care they deserve, and to eliminate the bureaucracy running the VA. H.R. 1994 advances this goal.”

“Following last year’s notorious VA scandal in Phoenix -- involving dozens of preventable and tragic fatalities -- the country was united in its condemnation of the blatant deception by the Department. Congress quickly responded to the American people’s demand by passing the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Program) to make it possible that those in need would have access to healthcare providers outside the VA. Although the Choice Program has been successful in extending this access beyond the walls of VA facilities, instances of mismanagement are still inexcusably prevalent today and veterans continue to die waiting in line for doctor’s appointments.

“This bill is targeted to increase efficiency within the Department and hold employees accountable for their actions. It finally allows the Secretary to expedite the demotion or termination of individuals within the Department for misconduct or poor performance, which currently can take upwards of one year. This bill facilitates accountability within the VA by removing individuals known to manipulate the system or who have proven transgressions.

“If you can believe it, countless employees are still benefiting from bonuses doled out, while veterans continue to die waiting on secret lists. Today the House caps such awards paid to Department employees through 2024.

“Congress can no longer allow the future of our veterans to be dictated by a mismanaged, misguided Department, overrun by individuals who are known to cheat the system and lie to those who have bravely and selflessly served our country.  This bill will help to weed out such offenders and increase accountability throughout the VA.”     


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Pearce Votes to Rein in Costly, Job-Killing Federal Regulations


Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act” by a vote of 243 to 165.  Following his vote for passage, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement:

“This administration continues to roll out rule after rule that hurt job creators and stifle economic development,” stated Pearce. “Unfortunately, we have seen the agencies within this administration ignore the will of the American people by imposing rules and regulations to further a political agenda. This commonsense bill simply ensures that the American people who are most affected by these rules will have the ability to approve or disapprove the policies directly impacting their well-being. It also requires that agencies take into account the effects their regulations will have on jobs and costs for consumers. The American people deserve a say. It’s about time that this administration and its agencies are held accountable for their economically harmful actions.”

Background from the House Judiciary Committee

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the last five years, the Obama Administration has issued 82 “major rules” – or rules with more than $100 million in economic impact – each year.  The price businesses pay to comply with these complicated regulations is approximately $1.86 trillion each year, according to a 2014 report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The REINS Act requires that any time the executive branch issues a rule or regulation with an economic impact of $100 million or more—it must come to Congress for a vote before it can take effect. H.R. 427 was passed during the previous two Congresses, and was reintroduced in both the House and Senate this year.

Key provisions of the REINS Act include the following: 

  • Guarantees no major regulation becomes effective until Congress approves it.
  • Guarantees fast up or down votes on major rules—Congress must act within 70 legislative days.
  • Provides more accountability for significant regulations on American economy by requiring the people's elected representatives in Congress to approve or disapprove those regulations.


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Pearce Votes to Enforce Federal Immigration Law for Safer Communities



Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 3009, by a vote of 241-179.  Following his vote for passage, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement:

“Our nation’s immigration system is broken, no one can deny that,” stated Pearce. “However, the failures and flaws in our system are no excuse to actively break the law. On July 1, Kate Steinle was murdered on a San Francisco pier by an individual who not only had seven prior felony convictions, but had been deported five times. The individual was in custody in April, but was allowed to go free.  Three months later, he killed Kate. This Administration must not continue to pay cities that actively skirt around our laws. Passage of this legislation today simply prioritizes federal assistance for communities that follow federal law.”

“We in New Mexico know firsthand the challenges of our broken and outdated immigration system. I will continue to advocate and push for commonsense and simple immigration reforms that will make our nation a stronger, safer, better place: from increasing border security, to modernizing our visa system to ensure the system supports and benefits only those who follow the rules.

“Yet while we work to make our immigration system stronger for the future, I believe the laws on our books must be followed.  All levels of the government should be responsible to follow and enforce the laws of our nation.”

Background from the House Judiciary Committee:

  • Problem:  There are almost 180,000 convicted criminal aliens currently in removal proceedings living in the U.S. and almost 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered removed also living free.  Under the Obama Administration, the total number of such convicted criminal aliens who are not being detained has jumped 28% since 2012.
  • The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act cuts off specific federal grants for jurisdictions that have policies in place that prohibit or restrict communication with the Department of Homeland Security regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. The bill also strips away certain federal grants from jurisdictions that prohibit state or local law enforcement officials from gathering information about an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.
  • The federal grants that will be unavailable to sanctuary jurisdictions include the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG).



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Pearce Votes to Empower Consumers with Uniform Federal Labeling of GMO Foods




Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, by a bipartisan vote of 275-150. This bill provides clarity and uniformity for the labeling of food products containing genetically engineered plants or ingredients (GMO’s), helping consumers make informed choices.  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued the following statement:

“Today I voted to protect both American consumers and producers by creating a national labeling standard for genetically engineered foods,” Pearce said. “It is imperative that we ensure food safety standards nationwide, while also providing affordable and accessible food for all families. To have a medley of laws from one state to the next causes confusion and inconsistencies in what a label means.” 

“Even worse, state labeling mandates could increase costs for a family by up to $500 per year. This burden is one that New Mexican families simply cannot afford. This bill balances the needs of consumers and producers by ensuring that labeling guidelines are dependable, affordable, accurate, and easy to understand. Families should have the power to make food choices that best fits their needs and beliefs, and today’s bill will ensure that they can make those choices with more certainty.”



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Pearce Votes to Protect Hundreds of Thousands of American Jobs



Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015, by a vote of 258-166. This bill would provide more certainty to coal ash recyclers and energy producers, while also enabling states to safely manage and dispose of coal ash in a manner that preserves American jobs and promotes recycling.   Congressman Pearce issued the following statement:

“This bill will protect thousands of American jobs by allowing states to effectively manage their own coal ash activities,” said Pearce. “The EPA’s final rule on coal ash disposal failed to set up any regulatory oversight. Failure to create a regulatory structure has left the door open for outside radical special interest groups to determine how this rule is implemented.  The House’s vote today delivers regulatory certainty by granting states the ability to establish and manage the recycling of coal ash, while ensuring a federal minimum standard is met to protect human health and the environment. States should be responsible for making decisions that directly impact their families and their communities, not the federal government or third party interests groups.”

H.R. 1734, seeks to improve the EPA’s new coal ash rule by putting states in charge of implementing those rules, which provide for the recovery and beneficial use of coal ash under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  The bill would also ensure that proper protections are in place to protect public health, the environment, and jobs. According to the Energy and Commerce Committee, H.R. 1734 would protect approximately 316,000 American jobs.  The House-passed bill is endorsed by the Western Governors’ Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Environmental Council of the States, and the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, among other organizations and trade associations.


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Pearce Supports Bill to Provide Western Drought Relief



Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, by a bipartisan vote of 245-176. The bill would expedite permitting processes on vital water projects and ensure that the most up-to-date science is used to provide drought relief to western communities. Congressman Pearce issued the following statement:

“Currently, much of the West continues to fight through a historic drought.  Unfortunately, these droughts have been exacerbated by federal regulations, preventing new water projects from breaking ground and putting a five-inch fish ahead of the American people,” said Pearce. “New Mexico and other western states are in desperate need of new water projects that will help increase water storage and distribution. This bill will streamline federal and non-federal permitting processes that have stifled the construction of water storage and distribution facilities. It also requires that the most up-to-date science is used in determining pumping levels in California to ensure that fish are not valued over America’s farmers.  We must do all we can to provide relief to drought stricken areas across the west and I urge my Senate colleagues to move on this bipartisan piece of legislation as soon as possible.”


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Pearce Opposes Short-Term Highway Patch


Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 3038, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, Part II. The bill provides a short term extension to federal surface transportation programs through December 18, 2015 by using a number of different offsets to attempt to cover its $8 billion cost. Congressman Pearce issued the following statement in response to his vote against this legislation:

“Congress must provide the American people with certainty, the passage of yet another short-term ‘patch’ does nothing to honor this commitment,” said Pearce.  “In a rural state, like New Mexico, the condition of our roadways are too important to community safety, and economic viability.  Unlike Chicago, New York City, or Washington, DC, public transportation is largely ineffective and unavailable – safe roads to travel to work, to school, or to visit friends and family are vital. 

“In May, we passed a short term patch that was supposed to give us time to find a long-term solution.  I supported this measure in that hope.  Two months later, nothing has changed.  The House simply deferred on this issue again. I do not believe we are any closer to the long-term solution we need, meaning  this bill only puts us on a path towards another short-term extension, which does not provide the necessary certainty companies need to plan for future projects. As a result, I could not support this bill.”

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Pearce Statement on Iranian Nuclear Agreement



Washington, D.C. – This morning the President announced that a final nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran had been reached. Just last Friday in Tehran, Iranians chanted “death to America, death to Israel” in the streets and burned the American flag. I cannot reconcile the two apparent contradictions. 

I believe the President’s deal will only accelerate Iran’s nuclear ambitions and ability to bring harm to Americans and our allies in the region. As Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns, this deal is “a bad mistake of historic proportions.” Our national security is in jeopardy, as the Administration allows a known state-sponsor of terror to accumulate the wealth and materials necessary for nuclear proliferation. Dangerously, the agreement does not reflect Tehran’s past nuclear development or deny its capability to build secret sites to support their ambitions.

Key components of the deal allow Iran to engage in global arms and ballistic missile sales well within the ten-year timeline. Permitting Tehran to buy, sell, and trade arms increases instability in the region and supports terror cells across the globe. Lifting the arms and ballistic missile embargoes directly threatens the survivability of our allies in the Middle East and bolsters states like Russia and China, who are eager to trade with the Islamic Republic.

I fear the sudden increase in capital due to sanctions relief would allow Iran to robustly support its terror organizations worldwide. For decades, Tehran has facilitated groups in Palestine, Hezbollah, and across the Middle East and North Africa, providing training, weapons, and capital. This rapid influx of money would gravely threaten our national security.

The President’s deal also allows Iran to export oil, which infringes upon the economic health of New Mexico. By lifting economic sanctions and ending oil sales embargo, oil prices are expected to decline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts nearly 1,000,000 more barrels per day of Iranian oil will flood the market in just matter of months. This surge in oil supply will cost jobs across the state and affect government funding in New Mexico. 

Throughout the negotiations, this Administration conceded on matters of inspections, amount and composition of nuclear materials, and sanctions relief; the President’s inability to stand for principles makes our nation weak and ineffectual in negations to come in the foreseeable future.

The President must be willing to work with Congress – just as he has with the countries negotiating the deal. However, he has already threatened to veto any effort of congressional oversight. The short-sightedness of the Administration will harm the security of our allies, the safety of our nation, and the health of New Mexico’s economy. 


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Pearce Votes to Protect New Mexico


Washington, D.C. — Today, the House voted on H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act.  Designed to promote scientific innovation and discovery within the medical field, this legislation contained elements that would be painful to New Mexico.  Congressman Pearce issued the following statement in response to his ‘No’ vote:

“No one can deny the benefits scientific discovery and innovation have made to the health of our nation and the world in the last 100 years.  I fully support continued research, development and innovation in the medical field, however, the legislation voted on today included several misguided spending policies, which I could not support.

“First and foremost, the bill requires the sale of 80 million barrels of oil from our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at below market rates. This massive influx into the market at subprime rates will have a dramatic impact on the economy of New Mexico and all oil and gas producing states.

“Further, the bill reduces medical reimbursements to Medicaid, which will directly impact that healthcare of millions of New Mexicans and Americans nationwide who live in rural and low income communities.  This bill also increases drug manufacturing costs, which will in turn increase prices for seniors and families on fixed budgets nationwide. 

“Two-thirds of all government spending is automatic, outside the control of Congress.  This legislation puts funding in this same autopilot state (a mandatory spending program).  This means Congress has little to no ability to change or alter its funding on a yearly basis.

“The combination of these four policies caused me to vote against this bill, which had good intention, but failed in practice.”



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Contact Information

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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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