Washington, D.C. (September 12, 2018) – A bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) aimed at detecting and preventing terrorism and other illicit finance activity passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The FinCEN Improvement Act would modernize the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) authorizing statute to ensure the law enforcement and intelligence communities work together to detect and stop criminals and terrorist networks.
“As lawmakers, we must make sure that we are doing everything in our power to provide law enforcement and intelligence communities with the ability to prevent illicit uses of our nation’s financial system. This legislation will ensure that FinCEN is able to track down financial crimes wherever they may occur—whether that is on tribal lands or in a case involving virtual currency. I am thankful to my colleagues within this committee for working diligently on this topic and am pleased to see this very important piece of legislation pass out of the House of Representatives,” said Pearce.
“Identifying and combatting the financing of terrorism and other illicit activity is key to keeping the U.S. safe. We need to be prepared and stay vigilant as we examine how terrorists and criminals use cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies as well as traditional financing methods. This legislation will help FinCEN and our law enforcement agencies better understand potential threats and adapt to the continually changing landscape,” said Perlmutter.
A bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, FinCEN’s mission is to protect the American financial system from money laundering and other illicit uses though the collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence. Currently, FinCEN’s authorizing statute is limited to combatting “international terrorism,” which leaves out domestic terrorist activity which is just as important to protecting our communities. H.R. 6411 would update FinCEN’s authorizing statute to include domestic terrorist activity and prioritizes emerging methods of financing illicit activity, including cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the legislation ensures FinCEN has the authority to work with Tribal law enforcement across the country, building upon the existing relationships with partners in foreign, Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Pearce and Perlmutter lead the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, with Pearce serving as the subcommittee’s Chairman and Perlmutter as its Ranking Member. The Subcommittee has held numerous hearings and meetings discussing cryptocurrencies and the role they play in financing illicit activities and terrorist groups, including a recent hearing on September 7th which examined terrorist groups and their means of financing illicit activity.
During that hearing Yaya Fanusie, Director of Analysis for the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance and Foundation for Defense Democracies stated:
“Terrorist groups regularly adapt their methods to their available resources, skill levels, and the opportunities presented in their target areas of operations. This is as true for financing as it is for plotting attacks. Terrorist organizations have a long history of exploiting banks and other traditional financial institutions, as well as semi-formal means of transferring funds, such as the hawala exchange system. But emerging financial technologies offer new channels to raise and move funds.”
Washington, DC (September 5, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce requested a detailed report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in order to learn more about how stolen tribal cultural items are surfacing in European auctions in 2016. The intention of this report was to identify current problems in order to introduce legislation that will put an end to these illicit acts and ensure Native American items are returned to their rightful owners - to tribes across New Mexico and the nation.
“Native American cultural items, specifically from New Mexico, have continually been discovered at various auctions houses in Europe. This practice is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. That is why I requested this report two years ago, to identify failures in our current system and how to better protect and defend these items. I also led a bipartisan effort in Congress that resulted in a resolution condemning these sales. Paralleled by few, our great state is teeming with a rich cultural heritage dating back centuries that must be protected. As a New Mexican, I understand the significance of our culture and the importance behind ensuring that all items related to our history are preserved and kept by the tribes from which they have come. These artifacts have become simply another commercialized item, seen as a souvenir from history. This report outlines a number of problems and I look forward to presenting a bill to fix them and ensure that these items are protected and returned to where they belong.”
"The Pueblo of Acoma thanks Representative Pearce for his work securing this important GAO report. He has been a champion in efforts to stop the illegal trafficking of tribes’ cultural heritage items. The GAO's recommendations about the need to strengthen federal laws and to clearly prohibit export of tribes’ cultural heritage items should be followed so that more items come home to tribes. The report shows an understanding of the sacred importance of these items to tribes," said Governor Riley from the Pueblo of Acoma.
Read the letter to the GAO, here.
Read the report from the GAO, here.
Washington, DC (August 8, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce congratulates New Mexico State University on receiving an award from the National Science Foundation.
Background: New Mexico State University is a leading institution for scientific research in the United States. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University with an amount of $2,633,530.00, starting on September 1, 2018, aiding in the project, Resource Hub: The NSF National Resource Hub for STEM Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions led by Elba Serrano. The NSF strongly supports research, innovation, and discovery in order to form a foundation for our nation’s economic growth.
“Continuing in its long-standing tradition of scholastic excellence, I am proud of my alma mater, New Mexico State University, for once again setting themselves apart from other universities across the nation. New Mexico houses several great universities that do cutting edge work and I am glad to see the National Science Foundation recognizing the excellent potential that lies within our great state. This NSF grant reiterates the fact that our state is a leading force for growth and cutting edge technology for our nation’s future. Go Aggies!”
Washington (August 1, 2018) Today, Congressman Pearce sent a letter to the United States National Park Service’s (Service) Intermountain Regional Director urging the Service to immediately begin the process of fixing the secondary elevator system in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
“After years of waiting for the Carlsbad Caverns elevator outages to be fixed, tourists are now able to access one of New Mexico’s most beautiful national parks. The Caverns not only reveal the beauty New Mexico holds, they also create revenue for surrounding communities, promoting economic well-being. This is why it is imperative to have both primary and secondary elevators fully functioning. From data provided by the Park, we have learned that visitation numbers decrease drastically when both sets of elevators are down. While the primary elevators are finally fixed, it is imperative that the Service fix the secondary elevators to provide long-term certainty for the Park. In my letter to the Regional Director, I presented a number of questions related to the Service’s plans to fix the secondary elevators to determine how quickly this problem will be addressed. I look forward to seeing the National Park Service act quickly and efficiently to attend to these elevators, bringing the Carlsbad Caverns back to their full potential.”
To read the letter, click here.
Washington, DC (July 31, 2018) Congressman Steve Pearce met today with Secretary Ben Carson to discuss tribal housing in New Mexico. Congressman Pearce and Secretary Carson toured San Felipe Pueblo and held a tribal roundtable in order to gain a first-hand look at New Mexico’s cultural history.
“For New Mexicans, our cultural heritage plays a significant role in the beauty and economy of New Mexico. Because our state has so many tribal lands, preserving this rich cultural heritage has always been a top priority of mine in Congress. That is why I introduced legislation to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA), which provides housing for Native Americans through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This legislation is sincerely important to not only our state’s heritage, but the tribal communities it will positively impact. I enjoyed meeting with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, today to further discuss tribal housing through a tour of the Pueblo of San Felipe and a roundtable with tribal leaders in the hopes of bringing to light the needs of these tribal communities within New Mexico.”
Washington, DC (July 26, 2018) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce voted in favor of the H.R. 5515 - John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. This bill provides the necessary authorization our armed forces need to keep the United States secure. It establishes pay raises for our nation's military personnel, procures new weapons systems that are needed to keep our soldiers safe while defending our freedoms overseas, and prioritizes military readiness and training. In addition, the NDAA includes several critical provisions that will benefit New Mexico's national labs and military installations.
"Today, the House acted on one of its most important responsibilities, ensuring our nation's military has the tools it needs to remain strong. The NDAA is essential for every aspect of the military, from safeguarding our soldiers’ pay and benefits for their families, to ensuring the nation’s military bases can be maintained and modernized, and training can continue to take place. Over the last month, conferees met to discuss final additions to the NDAA. I appreciate their hard work and dedication to our military. With this bill, our troops and military will maintain its position in the world, and also guarantee that our men and women in uniform are provided with the means necessary to perform well.”
Included in this year's NDAA bill are several initiatives and amendments added by Congressman Pearce which aim to support New Mexico's strong military heritage –ultimately supporting our military men and women who have made great sacrifices for our nation’s freedom.
1. An amendment to expand the scope of Test and Evaluation Strategic Plans. For far too long, DOD has focused on short-term requirements for testing facilities that places our national security at risk. My amendment revises what must be included within these strategic plans to provide flexibility in testing.
2. An amendment to require DOD to assess our nation’s space launch capabilities and infrastructure against potential vulnerabilities, focusing on how Spaceports, such as Spaceport America, can be utilized to conduct launches.
3. A New Mexico Delegation amendment requiring the Department of Energy to develop a strategy for the future that will safeguard the important work Los Alamos National Lab does for our nation’s weapons program.
4. Language that supports the ongoing mission advanced space situational awareness testing at Magdalena Ridge Observatory.
5. Authorized $396 million for NM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP), which will ensure the site can continue to modernize and serve its national security role for decades to come.
"New Mexico’s role in our nation’s military readiness has been significant for over a century. With numerous military bases and test sites, along with developing some of the top military technology, the United States benefits greatly from our State’s military footprint, and New Mexico benefits greatly from the NDAA. This is why I always fight to provide amendments to this bill that will ensure New Mexico can continue its position as an important player in military readiness for the foreseeable future.”
Washington, DC (July 25, 2018) Today, the House of Representatives voted on S. 1182 - National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018 that will extend the National Flooding Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire July 31, 2018.
“New Mexico is all too familiar with the devastating affects flooding can have on our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. This is why I voted today in support of extending the NFIP through November 30, 2018. People from both sides of the aisle recognize that this program is in need of reform. However, voting against the program extension is not an option. Letting the NFIP lapse would not be beneficial to anyone, including the families trying to purchase affordable flood insurance, to the community banks and homebuilders that help make the American dream of homeownership a reality for so many.”
“Now that Congress has extended the program, we must refocus on the reforms the program desperately needs. In November, the House passed a five-year reauthorization, which would provide long-term certainty for stakeholders, while also creating greater options for homeowners. There is no question that this program is outdated and in need of modernization, and I am hopeful that Congress can come together in meaningful reforms in the months to come.”
Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2018) Today, Congressman Pearce introduced H.R. 6365, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018. This bill will ensure that New Mexico communities will get the long-overdue, just treatment they were promised in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed.
“New Mexico has a rich cultural history that dates back to a time before our state was formed. Many of the original families who were given land in New Mexico from Spain are still living on those same lands occupied by their ancestors. These communities were promised that they would not be disenfranchised at statehood. Unfortunately, this was not the case for all of them. This bill is an effort to provide these communities another chance to have their claims reviewed to ensure the terms that these families were originally promised by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo are upheld. The cultural traditions of these communities are a part of the fabric that makes up New Mexico and I believe it is time that the federal government upholds what was promised. Justice is long past due for these communities and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill forward,” Congressman Steve Pearce Said.
“The New Mexico Land Grant Council supports the introduction of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018. For decades New Mexican communities have suffered from the incomplete implementation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which protected the property rights of land grant-merced communities, many of which were over a century old when the Treaty was signed in 1848. This Act will examine the impact that the unjust adjudication of the land claims had on land grant-merced communities and will help to not only ensure that they receive the justice and protection they deserve but will also help preserve and maintain the unique cultural traditions and local economies of land grant-merced communities throughout New Mexico.”– New Mexico Land Grant Council said.
Washington, DC (July 19, 2018) Congressman Pearce voted today to pass an appropriations package to fund the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Treasury Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year 2019. Congressman Pearce had a number of items added into the bill.
“Part of our job in Congress is making sure that all factions of our government are funded in a responsible way through the passage of 12 appropriations bills. The House remains committed to getting all of these bills done before the end of the fiscal year to provide Americans with certainty and transparency on how their taxes will be spent. Today’s bill includes funding for the Department of the Interior. Nearly forty percent of New Mexico is federal land, most of which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. From BLM’s permitting of oil and gas operations in the southeastern part of the state to the National Park Services operation and promotion of our states national monuments and parks, funding certainty for DOI is vital to the economic success of our State.”
In addition to the funding certainty this bill provides, it includes a number of initiatives supported by Congressman Pearce that will benefit and strengthen New Mexico.
“The federal government must be a good steward of the land it owns in New Mexico,” continued Pearce. “Under this legislation Congress takes steps to protect and preserve the lands the government owns. We in New Mexico are all too familiar with the crushing impact wildfire can have on New Mexican communities and natural beauties. I am proud to have been able to work with my colleagues and Chairman Calvert to provide DOI with the funding needed to both combat fires head on, but also properly manage the forest that helps prevent out of control, dangerous fires. In addition to combatting wildfires on multiple fronts, this bills provides New Mexican counties with the PILT funding to support the schools, hospitals, roads, and law enforcement in areas where federal lands reduces the local communities opportunity to collect needed revenues. Fully funding PILT is a massive win for rural and western states. I am honored to have played a central role in securing this money.
“I was also especially proud to include an amendment that would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct more research before listing a species as endangered. The Lesser Prairie Chicken range numbers have increased from 9,000 to 39,000 in just a year, confirming that listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as an endangered species is not necessary and that state and local officials are fully capable of recovering species, without impacting local economies.”
Washington, DC (July 10, 2018) Last night, President Trump announced his nomination for the new Supreme Court Justice. Congressman Pearce weighs in on his decision.
“Last night, President Trump made the announcement to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as his pick for the new Supreme Court Justice. Brett Kavanaugh’s background demonstrates he has a long record of legal accomplishment, having spent time clerking for former Justice Kennedy, as well as, the Third and Ninth Court of Appeals. It is my belief that Supreme Court Justices should adhere to the Constitution in preserving our liberties as American citizens. I look forward to the confirmation hearings and it is my hope that the confirmation process will reveal Brett Kavanaugh to be a highly qualified Justice committed to preserving our freedoms as set forth in the Constitution.”
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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