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Celebrate Idaho for Saturday is National Public Lands Day
Posted by on September 27, 2012

“Idaho’s abundance of parks, forests, and public lands makes our state a wonderful place in which to live, work, and play.  As a life-long Idahoan, an appreciation for Idaho’s wild areas is in my blood.  I spent my childhood years at Redfish Lake, hiking in the Sawtooth National Forest, and camping in Island Park.  These places hold the memories of my childhood, but they are just as significant to me today.  They provide beauty and space that lets me breathe and find rest when I need it.

“My experience with the wild areas of Idaho is no different than that of most Idahoans.  Idahoans live here because of the beautiful natural resources, and we spend our free time fly fishing in the Middle Fork of the Salmon, rock climbing in City of Rocks, or hiking in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. 

“As Idahoans, we have a special relationship with our public lands.  We live near them or in them.  Our gateway communities welcome people from all over the world to enjoy the beauty and adventure that Idaho’s parks and forests have to offer.  When national forests and public rangelands go up in flames, like they have this summer, it impacts our day-to-day lives, and it is our friends and neighbors who rush in to protect our lives and property.  And because we have such a close relationship with our lands, policies affecting public lands affect us directly and significantly.

“As Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the budget for many public land management agencies, I have a unique opportunity to influence federal policies that directly impact Idaho.  The federal government owns nearly two-thirds of the land in our state, so Idahoans interact with agencies like the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on a daily basis.  Land management agencies need to be good neighbors, and in my position I am working to ensure that they are able to act effectively and efficiently on the public’s behalf.

“After a number of years in Congress, I have learned to appreciate the perspective of those who come from different parts of the country.  But I feel even more strongly than ever that Idahoans are more qualified than Washington bureaucrats to determine what is best for Idaho.  Our public lands issues are complex—ranging from ecosystem management to resource development to private property rights—but some of my proudest moments as a Member of Congress have been watching my fellow Idahoans work together to find solutions to these challenges.

“As we celebrate National Public Lands Day this Saturday, take the opportunity to embark on a new adventure in a national recreation area or sit and soak in what nature has to offer in the quiet of a national park.  In doing so, you will be taking part in a long Idaho tradition. For a full list of National Public Lands Day activities, please visit www.publiclandsday.org and click on “Find a Site” to find an event near you.”

 

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Simpson Supports Bill to Require President to Offer Plan to Avoid Sequester
Posted by on September 13, 2012

Congressman Simpson today supported H.R. 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, offered by Representative Allen West. The bill would require the President to submit a legislative plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion to avoid the mandatory budget sequester scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013.

After the failure of the “super committee” to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction last year, an automatic across-the-board spending cut, known as a sequester, is scheduled to come into effect unless Congress can come to an agreement to reduce the debt by that amount.

“I supported this legislation because the upcoming sequester is an unacceptable outcome, and we must continue the conversation on how it will be averted,” said Simpson. “It is important to remember that the sequester is not intended to be the solution to our debt problem; rather, it is the penalty if Congress fails to act.”

House Republicans have already offered and passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would avert the sequester by replacing it with budget cuts and reforms to a variety of mandatory spending programs.

“We still haven’t seen a proposal from the Senate or from President Obama detailing what they would like to do to avoid a painful sequester next January,” added Simpson. “Senator Reid and President Obama should put forth their proposals so that both sides can immediately begin debating and agree to a plan to start dealing with the massive $16 trillion national debt facing us.”

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Congressman Mike Simpson joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives today and passed HR 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act
Posted by on July 25, 2012
Congressman Mike Simpson joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives today and passed HR 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. “Increasing the transparency and accountability of the Federal Reserve to Congress has become more critical in light of the expansion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet since the financial crisis of 2008-2009,” Simpson said. “Decisions made by the Federal Reserve impact our nation’s economic health and I believe the American people should have greater access to information about these decisions.”
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Simpson Says ACA Fight Isn’t Over
Posted by on June 28, 2012

 Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today expressed disappointment with the United State Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

“While I accept the Supreme Court’s decision, I am disappointed that the government now has the ability to tax American citizens if they don’t purchase a private product and I remain concerned with the precedent that sets for the future,” said Simpson. “If Americans can be taxed for not purchasing health insurance, the government’s ability to tax, or punish, American citizens as a means of driving their behavior seems unlimited. It is difficult not to see this as an approval of the significant expansion of the power of the federal government into the everyday lives of citizens.”

Despite the Court’s ruling, Simpson is calling on his colleagues in Congress to repeal the entire law and work to enact market-oriented health care reforms that hold the real promise of lowering costs and increasing access.

“While the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is Constitutional, they have not said that it is a good idea or that it will bring down costs,” said Simpson. “Congress should re-double its effort to repeal Obamacare and begin the process of enacting market-based reforms that will truly lower costs and increase access.”

Simpson has long supported reforms that include, but are not limited to, medical liability reform, expanded health care savings accounts, association health plans, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, deductibility of health insurance costs for individuals as well as corporations, and the re-importation of prescription drugs.

 

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Simpson's Statement on Attorney General Eric Holder in Criminal Contempt:
Posted by on June 28, 2012
“I find no satisfaction in voting to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress, but I also can’t stand by and watch the oversight role of Congress ignored and thwarted,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “Congress has a right to the documents it has sought from the Attorney General but more importantly, the American people have a right to those documents. The American people also have a right to the truth surrounding Operation Fast and Furious and until I am confident they have received the truth, I will support the effort of Congress to aggressively seek it on their behalf.”
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Celebrating 25 Years of the GI Bill
Posted by on June 1, 2012

“June 1, 2012, marks the 25th anniversary of the first permanent Department of Veterans Affairs-administered Montgomery GI Bill. Enacted in 1987, the landmark New GI Bill Continuation Act offered a life changing incentive for veterans returning from active duty to the workforce. By offering veterans access to higher education, it both strengthened our national defense and helped revitalize our economy.

“The GI Bill has proved over the years to be a boon for many of our veterans. Veterans are able to return home with a plan for their future. The education they receive helps many enter the workforce and provide for themselves and for their families in ways that were not previously possible.

“This program has blessed our nation and continues to do so by benefiting not only veterans, but many sectors of the economy by injecting highly qualified individuals to the workforce and the community. Veterans are able to combine the skill sets they learn both from their schooling and from their military training often become excellent leaders and contributors to society.  As I have said in the past – hiring former service members for patriotic reasons expresses appreciation and respect.  Hiring them for business reasons gets results.

“Our veterans fought to protect our freedoms and way of life, and as they serve our nation in its time of need, we must remember them in their time of need.  Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to preserve our way of life, and the American people are indebted to the men and women who served our nation.  I am proud of the work Congress has done to improve veterans’ benefits.  It is important that we continue to honor our commitments to our nation’s veterans through legislation that benefits them, like the Montgomery GI Bill.

“So as the former Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Benefits, and as a grateful American, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of veterans in Idaho and the millions in the United States who have given us so much.”

 

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National Park Week—Celebrate “America’s Best Idea”
Posted by on April 20, 2012

“Our national parks have been called our nation’s crown jewels, a title I believe is well-deserved.  We have a rich collection of parks across this nation, from Gettysburg Battlefield to the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone National Park, that capture the beauty, diversity, and history of our country.  For 275 million Americans each year, our national parks provide the opportunity to get outdoors and learn about the places and people of our great country.

“Next week, April 21-29, is National Park Week, and we have the opportunity to celebrate our national parks—dubbed “America’s Best Idea”—with free admission to all 397 national parks.  As our economy struggles to recover and gas prices have made it more cost prohibitive to travel overseas, opportunities like this give us a greater appreciation for what we have here at home.  A new generation of Americans can discover the history, culture, and natural world that make up this great country, as those who grew up visiting and recreating in our national parks are now taking their own families there to make new memories together.

“I am a lifelong supporter of our national parks.  As the Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the National Park Service, I recognize that there are a number of challenges facing our parks, not the least of which is that we have a tendency to love our parks to death.  As we approach the centennial celebration of the National Park Service in 2016, we must set careful priorities and do more with limited resources to restore and maintain our beautiful parks so that future generations can enjoy them.  Doing so will require the support and partnership of the Americans who visit them to experience our country and create lasting memories for their families. 

“Idaho has a number of national park sites, including Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, City of Rocks, and the Minidoka National Historic Site, not to mention the gateway to Yellowstone, our nation’s first national park.  Whether you pick a site close to home or travel to Mount Rushmore, Yosemite, or the National Mall in Washington, DC, I encourage you to take advantage of National Park Week to experience the wonder and diversity of our great land.  It will undoubtedly be an experience that your family will cherish for years to come.

“To learn more about National Park Week, visit www.nps.gov/npweek.”

 

 

 

 

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Congressional Art Contest Winners to be Recognized at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho
Posted by on April 4, 2012

Participants of the Congressional Art Competition will be featured in an exhibit in the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho (300 S. Capitol Ave.) on Thursday, April 5, 2012. Congressman Mike Simpson invites all to attend a reception acknowledging participating students that will begin at 4:00 p.m.  Simpson will recognize 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in both categories of Photography, and Painting, Pastel & Pencil. Many students will be in attendance and this event is open to the media and public.

High School art students around the congressional district had the opportunity to create an artwork to enter in this year’s Congressional Art Competition. The winner will be sent to the Architect of the U.S. Capitol and will be on display at the Capitol for one year. Southwest Airlines will also fly the student and his or her parent to Washington, D.C to attend the National Ceremony in June.

“Each year I am impressed by the incredible pieces of art that our youth put forward for the Congressional Art Contest,” said Simpson. “There were some amazing entries that demonstrated a lot of talent and I’m glad all the participants artwork will be on display at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho for the public to enjoy.”

The jurors focused on originality, technical skill, and how well the artist’s work reflected the theme of the show – Idaho, Window of the West. All entries will be on exhibit thru April 13.

Photography
1st place: Matt Armstrong, Timberline High School - “Placerville”
2nd Place: Christelle Gardner, Sugar-Salem High School- “Budd”
3rd Place: Cerise Barber, Timberline High School- “Swan Falls Dam”

Painting, Pastel & Pencil
1st place: Sarah Johnson, Idaho Falls High School - “Shoshone Dancer”
2nd Place: Taylor Allen, Hillcrest High School - “Truck and Barn”
3rd Place: Ashley Bevan, Snake River High School - “Girl Holding a Man Fly Fishing”

The Grand Prize winner that will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol is Sarah Johnson from Idaho Falls High School artwork titled “Shoshone Dancer” and her art teacher is Brett Schwieder.

The first place photography winner that will be displayed in Congressman Simpson’s office for one year is Matt Armstrong from Timberline High School artwork titled “Placerville” and his art teacher is Patricia Thorpe. 

 

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Simpson Questions Office of Nuclear Energy Funding and NRC’s Management
Posted by on March 7, 2012

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson challenged the two arms of the government’s nuclear energy organizations, the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), when they came to testify before the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. 

The FY13 budget request for the Department of Energy decreases funding for the Office of Nuclear Energy by 10% while increasing many other accounts, such the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which the President proposes to increase by 25%.

“I’m disappointed in the budget overall,” Simpson said. “The request, as you said, is the result of a very low allocation given to you by the Office of Management and Budget. Somehow, I would like to know what NE would do, with their priorities not necessarily filtered through OMB. Over the 14 years I have been here we keep heading down different paths, and I thought we had decided on Small Modular Reactors as the direction in which we were headed. Now I see a decrease in SMR funding. Wouldn’t it be better if we had a steady budget for SMRs?”

Assistant Secretary of the Office of Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons responded, “As I indicated, Mr. Simpson, SMRs are a high priority, and within the austere budget in which we must work, we tried to protect that as much as we possibly could.”

The NRC was represented by embattled Chairman Gregory Jaczko. In October, the other four commissioners of the NRC sent a letter to the President’s Chief of Staff stating that the Chairman was causing serious damage to the NRC and creating a chilled work environment. Votes on many issues before the commission have been significantly delayed.

“The only way the public will believe you is if you maintain credibility,” Simpson told the NRC Chairman. “If they believe this a political organization that is becoming more politicized all the time, then you damage that credibility all the time and it doesn’t matter whether you say nuclear power is safe or not because nobody is going to believe you. When we start to argue between commissioners about who is this most safety conscious, I think that damages the NRC.”

The commission has delayed voting on issuing a license for two new power reactors in South Carolina that will employ over 2000 workers during construction and over 600 when built. When Simpson asked about the status of the application, Chairman Jaczko responded that it is close and that it should be issued in less than a matter of months.

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Simpson Responds to President’s Budget
Posted by on February 13, 2012

 

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson issued the following statement in response to the release of the president’s budget for FY 2013.

 

“I will look over the President’s budget request over the next several weeks, and look forward to hearing from Administration officials on the specifics of their proposals.  However, looking over it today I am discouraged that it does not appear to make a serious effort to reduce the debt and keep it at sustainable levels.  We need more debt reduction than the President offers, and we need substantive mandatory spending reform. We need a determined effort from the President to work with Congress to solve this crisis, not budget gimmicks and new spending packages.”

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