Washington, D.C. - Today, the Idaho Congressional Delegation voted to pass H.J. Res. 31, which funds the rest of government through the end of fiscal year 2019. The legislation contains many important priorities that will directly benefit Idaho and provide funding for border security. Specifically, the legislation funds the Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Interior and Environment; Financial Services; State and Foreign Operations; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and Homeland Security and Related Agencies appropriations bills for fiscal year 2019.
“I supported today’s measure because it takes a step toward making our communities safer. Bicameral, bipartisan appropriators diligently advanced a compromise proposal that addresses urgent priorities in the seven outstanding appropriations packages. For homeland security, this agreement provides more than $1.3 billion for physical security barriers along portions of our border that have been designated as the highest priority by our Border Patrol. Additionally, it provides an unprecedented $22.5 billion for overall border security initiatives that includes law enforcement personnel and drug trafficking prevention. Locally, this bill will also fund the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, which provides funding to Idaho’s counties to make up for lost revenues from federal ownership of lands,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “The President has also indicated he intends to declare a national emergency to use specific powers to secure our border. We need additional physical barriers securing our border. In the coming days, I will work closely with my Senate colleagues and with the White House to learn the details of the President’s intentions and how they will be implemented.”
“We need significantly more than 55 miles of wall to fully protect our southern border, but this bill makes a down-payment on the wall while future funding is negotiated. Plus, I absolutely did not want to see another government shutdown. Shutdowns are bad for our economy and bad for the American people. We will keep working until the entire border wall is funded,” said Senator James E. Risch.
“I’m very pleased that the Congress has fulfilled its most basic of obligations through this agreement to keep the government open. As in all compromises, neither side got everything they wanted. But at the end of the day, this legislation provides Idaho with the necessary funding and policy provisions to help rural counties, prevent and fight wildfires, and includes important research for our agricultural economy,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “It moves the ball forward in our border security efforts and will allow the Administration to continue its successful and necessary efforts to roll back regulations and deliver the tax cuts which were passed during the last Congress.”
“This is a less than perfect bill and a less than perfect process, but here is what it came down to for me: H.J. Res. 31 provides about $22 Bi in funding for border security and nearly $1.4 Bi directly for a physical barrier -- both critical for security and humanitarian purposes. Other components include support for Israel and the blocking of federal funds used for abortions,” said Congressman Russ Fulcher. “The bill also funds two efforts affecting Idaho that cannot afford to be neglected: Wildfire suppression and the PILT program (payment in lieu of taxes) -- lifelines for our counties that are predominantly comprised of federal lands. It is unfortunate that bills like this contain such broad content. I am working hard to introduce a single-subject clause in Congress to avoid situations like this in the future.”
The legislation specifically delivers $1.375 billion for 55 miles of wall or physical barriers in addition to increased technology to combat human and drug trafficking. The bill also contains numerous provisions which directly benefit Idaho.
The legislation was passed by a large bipartisan vote in both the House and Senate and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.Read More
Simpson and Kilmer Introduce LAND Act to Enhance Federal Investment in Public Lands
Conservation bill would permanently reauthorize LWCF and create new dedicated funding to address the maintenance backlog at National Parks and other public lands
Today, Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Land and National Park Deferred Maintenance (LAND) Act. The legislation would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), create a new dedicated fund to address the Department of the Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog, and provide ten years of mandatory funding derived from energy revenues for both programs.
“Conserving land and water is vitally important to ensuring access to our public lands,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “However, ensuring we take care of public lands is equally important. That is why I am proposing a solution that honors the commitment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund while creating a new fund to help our National Parks, and other land managers, address the maintenance backlog. These lands belong to all Americans and we owe it to ourselves to take care of them. This reasonable approach ensures we have the resources to conserve and maintain our treasured landscapes.”
“Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, I’ve seen firsthand how our National Park and public lands have captivated visitors and created generations of jobs,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer. “But unfortunately, many of our most iconic landscapes and visitor experiences are falling into disrepair. I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort that will be an economic boost to rural communities and keep our public lands accessible for future generations.”
“There’s overwhelming bipartisan support for making this long-overdue investment in the aging infrastructure within our national parks and public lands,” said Marcia Argust, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ project to restore America’s parks. “The legislation will help preserve historic treasures, protect visitor access, and sustain local economies and jobs.”
“Hunters and anglers are proud to support the bipartisan LAND Act, which sets aside funding to increase public access for outdoor recreation,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This bill supports the permanent authorization of the successful Land and Water Conservation Fund and begins to address the massive maintenance backlog in our national parks. We want to thank Congressmen Simpson and Kilmer for their commitment to sportsmen and women across this country, and we look forward to advancing these priorities.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is our most effective, successful program for conserving important lands and waters and providing public access great places to hunt, fish and recreate,” said Land Tawney, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO. “The bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Simpson and Kilmer not only reauthorizes LWCF; it also increases to 3 percent funding earmarked for enhancing hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands. It’s consistent with other LWCF-focused legislation being considered, and Representatives Simpson and Kilmer deserve thanks for their leadership in addressing LWCF and the public land agencies’ maintenance backlog in a productive way.”
The LWCF was established in 1964 to reinvest a small percentage of offshore oil and gas royalty payments in conservation projects to enhance access to our nation’s iconic outdoor spaces. Since it was first created, the LWCF has invested more than $18 billion in projects that support environmental stewardship, outdoor recreation, and historic preservation. The LAND Act would permanently reauthorize LWCF, which expired last year, and authorize $450 million annually in mandatory expenditures for the next decade.
The bill would also authorize $450 million in mandatory expenditures annually for ten years to fund the National Park Service and Related Agencies Maintenance and Revitalization Conservation Fund. The current Department of Interior maintenance backlog, which includes National Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education school construction, totals more than $18 billion.
For a link to the text click here.
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released the following statement following President Trump’s State of the Union address.
“President Trump showed us tonight that the things that unite us are much greater than that which divides us. I’m pleased he began his remarks with a mission to work together, as Americans, not Republicans, not Democrats, but citizens of our great nation. I have long agreed with the message the President reiterated tonight stating, ‘We must resist revenge and compromise for the common good,’ I hope Congress will respond to the call.
“Our country is on a strong economic path and the President reminded Americans of the millions of new jobs created in the last two years. Thanks to tax reform, our country is seeing the benefits of increased wages and job creation for working families.
“The President laid out several bipartisan goals; addressing our countries infrastructure needs, ensuring trade deals support agriculture, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, cover pre-existing conditions, and supporting cancer research. I look forward to working with the President and members of both parties to secure our border, enact meaningful immigration reform, and address DACA.
“I also deeply appreciated the President condemning the unspeakable practice of late term abortions. I will proudly join with him in advocating for the rights of the unborn.”
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released the following statement addressing the announcement of the end of the temporary government shutdown.
“I applaud the decision to end the temporary government shutdown. My message has remained consistent - when we come together and put partisan disputes aside, we can begin to govern in a way that will make the American people proud. I remain committed to finding a long term solution for funding for the rest of the fiscal year including appropriate border security measures.”
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher introduced legislation that would authorize important but routine maintenance at Smith Gulch on the Salmon River in Idaho. The bill would allow the use of limited maintenance equipment needed to maintain the routine functions and safety of the existing lodge.
“The proposed bill is an effort to clarify Congress’ intent in legislation passed in 2004 to retain the basic characteristics of the Lodge without substantially altering the existing use,” said Simpson. “The use of maintenance equipment would allow the lodge to eliminate the reliance on outdated energy sources and replace them with modest renewable energy sources, all while complying with existing laws.”
“The government should never hinder the ability of Idahoans to improve our own communities. I am happy to join Congressman Simpson to clear up this misunderstanding and maximize the use of federal lands,” said Fulcher. “I look forward to seeing the needed improvements to our recreation facility at Smith Gulch.”
Currently, the Forest Service does not believe it has clear authorization to permit the use of the equipment necessary for the general upkeep of the facilities at the lodge. This bill clarifies the authorization so the corridor can be managed as it was intended under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
The bill passed the House of Representatives in 2014 by a vote of 398-1 and was included in the public lands package that was introduced at the end of the 115th Congress and again in the 116th. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo introduced companion legislation.
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson introduced legislation last week to address the federal judicial crisis in Idaho. H.R. 214 allows the President to appoint one additional federal district judge for the district of Idaho, increasing the number of district judges to three. Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher is a cosponsor of the bill.
“As the legal community in Idaho well knows, the state of Idaho is facing a federal judicial crisis,” said Simpson. “We are one of just three states in the nation with only two federal judge seats for the entire state. This means our federal judges have an extraordinary caseload and high number of weighted filings per judgeship. As we all know, justice delayed is justice denied, and it is beyond time to authorize another judgeship for Idaho.”
The federal district of Idaho has had just two federal district judges since 1954, when the population of the state was at 600,000. It is now at 1.7 million and growing, and as Idaho’s population grows, so does the number of court cases. As a result, the nonpartisan Judicial Conference of the United States has formally recommend that Congress authorize one new permanent district judge in Idaho consistently since 2003.
“I have long advocated for adding an additional judgeship in Idaho because the need is great,” added Simpson. “Idahoans deserve a fair and efficient federal court system, and this bill would go a long way towards ensuring their Constitutional access to justice. I am pleased that Congressman Fulcher has already joined me in this effort.”
“This initiative is a great way to start the new Congress, working alongside my fellow Idahoan, Congressman Simpson, to alleviate our state’s judicial backlog,” said Fulcher. “Appointing an additional judge will help to lessen the growing backlog of cases, deliver quicker service to our constituents, and make our judicial system more efficient. This shortage has faced Idaho for far too long, and I am pleased to make this effort one of my first actions in Congress.”
H.R. 214 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson issued the following statement thanking U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke for his service to our country:
“I thank Secretary Zinke for his great service to this country, most recently as Secretary of the Interior. Whether it was working with local Idahoans on Gateway West and sage grouse conservation, or national issues like the need to fix our national parks, Secretary Zinke addressed these issues with a balanced perspective that led to positive results. I wish him well in the next chapter of his honorable career in public service and I thank him for his friendship - both as Secretary and in Congress.”
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson voted in favor of H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act which is the conference report for the Farm Bill. The legislation reauthorizes many important programs for industries in Idaho like potatoes, dairy, grain, and sugar beets.
“The Farm Bill represents one of the most vital pieces of legislation for Idaho,” said Congressman Simpson. “Whether it is the specialty crop programs for our potatoes or retaining the integrity of the no cost sugar program for beet producers, this bill touches on the most critical parts of Idaho’s agriculture economy. I was pleased to vote in favor of legislation that provides the certainty farmers and ranchers need to succeed.”
Specifically, the legislation includes important Idaho provisions such as:
H.R. 2 also includes forest management provisions which builds on the historic forestry reforms Congressman Simpson included in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
The Senate passed the Farm Bill on Tuesday and Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue has stated he will recommend President Trump sign the bill into law. To learn more about the Farm Bill visit: https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/
Washington, D.C. - The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and proposed plan amendments addressing Greater Sage-Grouse conservation on public land in Idaho last week. The proposal seeks to align the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) resource management plans with Idaho’s state management plan.
“I am pleased to see the collaborative work produced by Governor Otter and DOI,” said Congressman Simpson. “Idaho worked hard on their state management plan which received high marks from the Fish and Wildlife Service. To see DOI recognizing the benefits of the state plan means we are putting Idaho based solutions on the ground which works to protect sage-grouse from their primary threats in our region. I thank Secretary Zinke, Deputy Secretary Bernhardt, and Governor Otter for their hard work on this proposed solution.”
The publication in the federal register will start a 30 day protest period for public comments to be submitted to the BLM. Congressman Simpson has long been a leader on the issue, having inserted language into the Interior Appropriations bill delaying the listing of sage-grouse which has allowed DOI the time to make sound scientific decisions – not an arbitrary deadline set by the courts.
Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. House passed the bipartisan Action for Dental Health Act. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Congressman Mike Simpson, DMD (R-ID) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL), will provide essential oral and dental health services to underserved communities. The Action for Dental Health Act targets federal funding to provide vulnerable populations, especially children, seniors and those living in rural and urban communities with dental care.
The legislation was originally passed the U.S. House in February with ninety percent of Members voting in favor of the legislation. A slightly amended version was introduced in the U.S. Senate and passed in October 2018. With today’s vote, the legislation advances to the President’s desk for his signature.
“With today’s passage of Action for Dental Health, we are sending a message that oral health is a priority for Congress,” Congressman Simpson said. “I would like to thank Congresswoman Kelly for her work on this legislation and I am excited to see this bill move to the President’s desk. Ultimately, the real winners are patients who need improved access to resources to enhance early diagnosis, intervention and preventive treatments which can stop the progress of oral diseases.”
“This bipartisan bill means that more families will have access to oral and dental healthcare. This increased access to care means that patients will receive early detection and intervention resulting in better outcomes, reduced costs and improved health,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “I’d especially like to thank Congressman Mike Simpson for his steadfast leadership, expertise and partnership.”
The Action for Dental Health Act won the endorsement of the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Oral Health America, and many other organizations. During the House subcommittee hearing on the measure, Chicago dentist Dr. Cheryl Watson-Lowry testified on the importance of the bill.
2312 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Michael (Mike) K. Simpson is serving his eighth term in the House of Representatives for Idaho’s Second Congressional District.
Mike serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. He also serves on the Interior and Environment Subcommittee and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. These committees have jurisdiction over funding for a number of programs critical to Idaho, including the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, our National Parks, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Smithsonian Institute.
Simpson is one of the House’s leading advocates for a new energy policy and a renewed commitment to research and development of improved nuclear energy technologies. Mike has also gained national attention for his bill to split the massive, overburdened 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as his bill, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act which addresses the concerns of economic growth and stability for rural Idaho and resolves long time wilderness debate over the Boulder-White Clouds.
His political career began in 1980, when he was elected to the Blackfoot City Council. In 1984, he was elected to the Idaho Legislature where he served until 1998, the last six years serving as Speaker. Simpson was born in Burley, Idaho and raised in Blackfoot. He graduated from Utah State University and earned his DMD from Washington University School of Dental Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduation, he joined his father and uncle at the Simpson Family Dental Practice in Blackfoot.
Mike is an avid golfer and enjoys painting. He has been married to his wife Kathy for over 40 years and they live in Idaho Falls.
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On Friday, INL's anniversary was recognized with a proclamation read into the U.S. Congressional Record by… https://t.co/lSxT1UwIpU
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Reader Comment: Committee assignments set: We have Idaho covered https://t.co/6gwe3puG4U
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