Congratulations to Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry on his confirmation. Secretary Perry will face a number of critical issues including maintaining our nuclear deterrent, overseeing the national lab system as they push the bounds of scientific research and development, and meeting our commitments to states on nuclear cleanup. As Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, I look forward to working with Secretary Perry to promote national security, pursue a truly all-of-the-above energy policy, and enhance American competitiveness.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson issued the following statement today regarding the President's Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request.
“It should come as no surprise to anyone that President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget completely ignores hard fought spending caps he agreed to just months ago. Our nation is on a path for financial ruin, and this budget does not take the problem seriously,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “House Republicans have lead the fight to reduce the discretionary budget for four straight years – the first time that has happened since the 1950’s. Regrettably, the President’s budget, if enacted, would reverse that progress and disregard the bi-partisan, bi-cameral cooperation that led to it. For that reason and many others, this budget, more than a month late, is dead on arrival.”
Congressman Mike Simpson supported the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, which passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill provides important safeguards for taxpayers such as barring the IRS from asking questions regarding religious, political, or social beliefs.
“Let me be clear, I am going to continue to support the position of our Republican Caucus in the ongoing shutdown dispute,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Having said that, similar to Senator Rand Paul, I could support a very short-term clean CR, perhaps one or two weeks, while we continue to negotiate on a longer-term bill that addresses priorities we believe are important.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson issued the following statement today regarding the passing of former Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa.
“Pete Cenarrusa displayed a relentless commitment to working on behalf of Idahoans and we have a better state because of his leadership. Personally, I’m extremely thankful for the guidance I received from Pete over the years. Kathy and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Freda, their family and friends as we all mourn his passing. He will be sorely missed.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised the passage of H. Res. 354, by the House and Senate this week; legislation that will address the impending closure of the Federal Helium Reserve in early October by allowing it to continue supplying helium while also reforming our nation’s helium policy.
"Thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States depend on a reliable supply of helium,” Simpson said. “Micron Technology, which is based in my district, is a large semiconductor manufacturer and a global leader in computer memory technology, and they depend on helium for their manufacturing processes. If the Reserve stopped making helium available for sale to private entities like Micron, a significant delay might not just slow the production of computer chips, but the computers, life-saving medical devices, and weapons systems that they power.”
The Federal Helium Reserve was created in 1926 to ensure a steady helium supply for the nation’s defense needs. However, federal demand did not live up to expectations, and by the 1990’s, the Reserve had accrued a $1.3 billion debt. In 1996, Congress passed reforms to require the sale of the Federal Helium Reserve by 2015.
The Reserve is expected to pay off the debt earlier than expected, by October 2013, without having sold off all of the helium. As a result, the Reserve, by law, will close and no longer have the authority to sell the remaining 11 billion cubic feet of helium. This will create an immediate worldwide helium shortage and cut the domestic supply in half.
“This bill gets the government out of the helium business and moves toward a market based approach,” Simpson said. “It also reduces the federal deficit by $90 million over 10 years.”
H. Res. 354 will next be presented to President Obama for his signature.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule yesterday which would establish federal regulatory jurisdiction over non-navigable streams, wetlands and other water resources. Currently, non-navigable waters are regulated by the states.
“Like many people who have watched this issue carefully, I’m very concerned about this proposed rule. Most farmers and ranchers I talk to are scared to death about the possibility that the Environmental Protection Agency would be able to regulate their irrigation ditches, drainage ponds, and even groundwater, and I understand why,” said Simpson. “In the West, water is critical to our way of life. Allowing the federal government to claim jurisdiction over state waters would have a devastating impact on rural communities throughout our state and the food supply throughout our nation. For that reason and others, I have included language in the FY14 House Interior Appropriations bill that will prevent any attempt by the EPA to claim additional jurisdiction over state waters and increase its already excessive authority over Western farmers, families, and businesses.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joins fellow Members of Congress in signing a letter to the President of the United States regarding the use of military force in Syria. Members are requesting President Obama seek congressional authorization before ordering the use of U.S. military force.
“I am very concerned about the consequences of engaging U.S. assets in another foreign conflict and believe the White House should consult with Congress before taking any action in Syria,” Simpson said.
The letter was sent to the President today and reads as follows:
Dear Mr. President,
We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.
Mr. President, in the case of military operations in Libya you stated that authorization from Congress was not required because our military was not engaged in “hostilities.” In addition, an April 1, 2011, memorandum to you from your Office of Legal Counsel concluded:
“…President Obama could rely on his constitutional power to safeguard the national interest by directing the anticipated military operations in Libya—which were limited in their nature, scope, and duration—without prior congressional authorization.”
We view the precedent this opinion sets, where “national interest” is enough to engage in hostilities without congressional authorization, as unconstitutional. If the use of 221 Tomahawk cruise missiles, 704 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 42 Predator Hellfire missiles expended in Libya does not constitute “hostilities,” what does?
If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request. We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict.
“I do not support giving myself or other Members of Congress or staff a special break or exemption from Obamacare. I will only support this if the entire law is repealed and every American is exempted from its mandates. My staff and I are required by law to move onto the Obamacare exchanges next year, and I won’t support efforts to reverse that portion of the law,” said Simpson.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today released the following statement regarding House passage of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013. The bill passed with a final vote of 216-208.
"The certainty a farm bill provides to Idaho's farmers and rural communities is critical to the economy of our state," said Simpson. "I am encouraged by today's developments and hopeful that Congress has taken a step toward more certainty for farmers and greater savings for taxpayers. I hope the House and Senate can reconcile their two versions quickly and put a new farm bill place in the next few weeks."