Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce


Pearce Welcomes Court Decision Voiding Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing



Las Cruces, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement following yesterday’s federal court decision in Texas to invalidate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

“Yet another one of this administration’s job-killing, onerous regulations has been shot down by a federal court,” said Pearce. “Yesterday’s ruling reconfirms what we already knew, that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing of the lesser prairie chicken was unnecessary and unfair.  As the Court noted, the agency didn't follow their own rules and ignored existing conservation efforts by states and private landowners -- instead choosing to recklessly list the species.  We now know that those grassroots conservation efforts are more than sufficient as the species population continues to surge. This ruling will remove the federal government from the process and return species management to those who do it best, states and private landowners.”

The Court concluded that the agency failed to properly apply its own Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts (PECE Policy) to evaluate conservation efforts already undertaken in five states to improve habitat for and diminish threats to the LPC. Under the LPC Range-wide Conservation Plan, more than 180 oil and gas, pipeline, electric transmission and wind energy companies have enrolled in conservation agreements to prevent, minimize, or mitigate any impacts to the LPC from their operations. In the process, they committed $45.9 Million in enrollment and impact fees to cover off-site mitigation actions.


On March 27, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the LPC as a threatened species under the ESA.  On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ruled in favor of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA) and vacated the FWS rule listing the LPC.

Earlier this year, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which oversees the conservation efforts under the Range-wide Plan, reported a 25 percent increase in the lesser prairie chicken population from 2014 to 2015, in part as a result of the industry’s conservation efforts.

In May of this year, the U.S. House passed a defense spending bill with a provision, strongly supported by Congressman Pearce, to prevent a federal listing of the lesser prairie chicken for 10 years. 


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Pearce Praises Temporary Court Order Blocking EPA’s WOTUS Rule



Las Cruces, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement following yesterday’s federal court decision in North Dakota to grant a preliminary injunction that will temporarily block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS):

“The EPA under this Administration continues to overstep its legal authority, creating job-killing regulations across the country,” said Pearce. “I applaud the Court’s decision to halt this egregious regulation until the Judicial Branch has had time to fully review the EPA’s claimed authority for WOTUS.  While only temporary, the court’s action will provide farmers, ranchers, small business owners and local governments relief from a rule that threatens their livelihood. As we have seen with the Gold King mine spill earlier this month, the EPA cannot keep our interstate waters clean and in their natural state now. What makes them think they can manage the majority of the waters in the United States? Regulating local waters should continue to fall under state, county, and municipality jurisdiction.  I urge the Senate to follow the House’s approach to block this economically devastating and completely unnecessary rule once and for all.”

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson in Fargo issued the injunction to block the EPA from exercising jurisdiction over certain streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  Erickson noted “the risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely” and called the Obama administration's interpretation of its jurisdiction "exceptionally expansive."  The rule was scheduled to take effect nationally today.

States who requested the injunction:  North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

On May 12, along with a bipartisan majority of his colleagues, Congressman Pearce voted to approve the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732) that would block the WOTUS rule.  A similar bill is pending in the Senate -- the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140). 

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‘If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It’ – Not the Case in N.M.



Las Cruces, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released the following statement following the announcement by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) that it is withdrawing from participation in the New Mexico Healthcare Exchange, affecting thousands of individual New Mexicans and families who depend on it for coverage.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield’s (BCBS) departure from the New Mexico healthcare exchange is a tremendous blow to the healthcare and finances of families across the state,” stated Pearce. “Starting in November, regardless of how satisfied they are with their coverage and how well it serves their individual families, the 35,000 New Mexicans currently covered by BCBS will be forced to reenter the uncertainty and complexity of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange to select a new plan.”

“Accounting for roughly 47% of the market in New Mexico, the loss of BCBS reduces plans offered through the exchange, and severely diminishes the choices available through it. While BCBS has reported losses on its individual plans of $19.2 million in the state, due to the demands and requirements of Obamacare, this should not be an excuse to propose an average premium increase of 52% on all individual plans within the exchange. With the largest premium increase of any reported provider, BCBS set an unobtainable line in the sand for the administrators of New Mexico’s Exchange to accommodate.  I am disappointed that the two sides were unable to work together on a final premium that would allow BCBS’s current New Mexico policyholders to keep their insurance, provide continued choice and flexibility, and contain costs for families.”

“Touted as healthcare reform that would reduce costs for families on a budget and allow those who like their doctors and plans to keep them, Obamacare has failed to live up to the lofty goals established for it. First we saw the departure of doctors nationwide from coverages offered on the exchange, and now, with the departure of BCBS, we are seeing providers leaving health care exchanges all together. Before the departure of more and more providers from the market, our nation must have a serious conversation about the future of health insurance in this country. We must find solutions that will provide American families with affordable and flexible options, while also ensuring providers have the ability to stay afloat and in the market.”  

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Costly EPA Methane Regs Derail Jobs



Las Cruces, N.M. – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce’s office statement following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement of its proposed rule to limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas development:

“In the already-stretched New Mexico oil and gas economy, these unnecessary, costly regulations will handicap development and derail new jobs,” said Pearce spokesman Tom Intorcio.  “Thanks to the recent energy boom, natural gas production has created thousands of jobs nationally, lowered electric bills for hard-working families, and given a lift to American manufacturing.  Despite the increase in U.S. natural gas production, methane emissions from wells have declined significantly. Existing state regulations, voluntary best practices, and innovation are responsible for this trend.  Imposing more burdensome federal regulations is not the answer and will only lead to reduced natural gas production and higher utility bills. If this Administration really wanted to reduce methane emissions without hurting our economy, it could expedite permitting processes, which would allow America’s energy producers to expand and help create a healthy economy,” Intorcio added.

According to the EPA’s latest data, methane emissions from natural gas production have DECLINED 38 percent since 2005, a period when production increased by more than 25 percent. In addition, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells DECLINED 79 percent.


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U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce: EPA Power Plant Rule Will Severely Handicap Young Americans



Washington, D.C. – On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a power plant (CO2 ) rule that will not only lead to higher utility bills for hardworking Americans, but will also disproportionately harm millions of millennials and young people comprising the next generation.  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement:

“As I said earlier this week, low-income families and seniors on fixed-incomes will feel the brunt of the Obama Administration’s power plant rule in the form of higher electric bills and loss of reliable electricity.  At the same time, this regulation, which was rejected by Congress, will severely handicap younger generations, who are struggling in the worst recovery from a recession in 70 years. 

“Since 2010, young adults and teens have faced double-digit unemployment. At a time when far too many, regardless of age, remain unemployed or underemployed, the Obama Administration’s new EPA rule will make it harder for the next generation of Americans to find jobs as power plants will be forced to close and as other industries, reliant on affordable electricity, will cut back to cover costs.”

According to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center, more than half of America's unemployed are teens and young adults.  Teens face a staggering unemployment rate of 18.1 percent.  The Pew Research data also shows that the share of young adults now living in their parents’ homes is 26 percent, an increase of 2 percent since 2010.

The new 1,500-paged EPA rule forces states to rely on less reliable forms of energy and eliminates the move to natural gas, that has created thousands of jobs in New Mexico and nationally. Congress didn’t vote for the rule.  In fact, the House expressly rejected this EPA policy to force the closure of coal-fired power plants nationwide. On June 23, the House passed the Ratepayer Protection Act (H.R. 2042) that would protect consumers from the EPA’s costly, so-called Clean Power Plan.  In 2010, a bipartisan coalition in Congress also rejected the Obama Administration’s job-killing cap and trade legislation.


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Pearce: POTUS Places Immeasurable, Minimal Environmental Benefit Ahead of New Mexican Families



Washington, D.C. – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new, existing, modified and reconstructed power plants. Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement in response to the Administration’s Clean Power Plan: 

“Today’s unveiling of the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ is a continuation of this Administration’s war on jobs, electric reliability, and families nationwide struggling to make ends meet,” said Pearce. “This rule will undoubtedly raise electric rates for New Mexicans, which will be especially harmful for low income families and seniors on fixed incomes.”

“Further, the Administration is willing to sacrifice thousands of good paying American jobs for minimal environmental benefit. Forcing states to transition to renewable energy so quickly will cause the closure of critical coal plants that ensure the reliability of our nation’s electric grid. The mandated transition will increase power reliability issues, ultimately threatening the health and safety of our families and communities.”

NOTE:  In the initial proposal, the Obama administration had mandated a 30-percent nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version will require a more burdensome, 32-percent, cut. The NERA Economic Consulting group reported that the proposed rule would cost as much as $479 billion, and that it would drive up electricity rates by double digits in 43 states.


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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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Washington, DC 20515
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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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