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Simpson Includes Language in CR to Delist Wolves in Idaho and Montana
Posted by on February 14, 2011

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson put out the following statement regarding language included in the continuing resolution to reinstate the 2009 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana.

“It makes no sense to call wolves in Idaho and Montana an endangered species.  Not only do wolf populations far exceed recovery goals, but without proper management those populations have grown to the point where they are adversely impacting other wildlife populations in the region and wreaking havoc for ranchers, hunters, and public land users in Idaho.  The Fish and Wildlife Service made a sound and science-backed decision to delist wolves and have praised the management plan that was developed and successfully implemented by Governor Otter and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  The Service and the state have successfully recovered the species to the point that it can be properly managed, and the law should reflect that.”

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Simpson Issues Statement on Language in CR to Block Greenhouse Gas Regulations
Posted by on February 11, 2011
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who chairs the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after putting language into H.R. 1, the FY2011 Continuing Resolution, prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using funds to implement climate change regulations scheduled to go into effect later this year.

“It has become clear to me in talking to the job creators in this country that allowing these regulations to go into effect would prevent job creation and inhibit economic growth at a time when our economy is still struggling.  It should be up to Congress, not the Administration, to determine whether and how to regulate greenhouse gases, and in attempting to do so without congressional authority, I’m concerned that EPA has overreached.  It’s been an honor to collaborate on this language with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Whitfield.  Including this provision in the CR will give their committee time to craft thoughtful, effective legislation to clarify EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and provide certainty for job creators.”
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Simpson Issues the Following Statement on Provision to Defund DOI’s Wild Lands Initiative
Posted by on February 11, 2011

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, issued the following statement about language included in H.R. 1, the FY11 Continuing Resolution, to prohibit the use of funding for the Department of Interior’s new “Wild Lands” policy:

 “I have a long list of concerns about the Department of Interior’s ‘Wild Lands’ initiative, not the least of which is the fact that it was rolled out without giving the public an opportunity to comment on it and without the opportunity for congressional oversight.  I’m concerned that this initiative will make it more difficult to make good land management decisions and result in increased litigation.  The responsibility for making land management designations belongs to Congress, not the agency, and by including language in the CR to defund this initiative, I hope to force the Department to work with Congress on this issue.”

 

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Reported in The Hill: Republicans eye block of Interior Dept. wilderness policy
Posted by on February 9, 2011

Republicans eye block of Interior Dept. wilderness policy

By Ben Geman - 02/09/11 05:43 AM ET

By Ben Geman - 02/09/11 05:43 AM ET

A senior Republican said Tuesday that Interior Department spending legislation could prevent the department from carrying out a new wilderness policy that has drawn widespread opposition from Western GOP members.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who leads the Appropriations Committee subpanel that crafts Interior’s budget, said lawmakers could include language that prevents federal funding from being used to implement the program.

He said spending legislation “might” contain such language, adding, “And with defunding limits, or funding limitation amendments, who knows what might come up on the floor.”

Interior in December announced its “wild lands” policy to survey and preserve certain public lands that have not received a formal wilderness designation from Congress.

While Interior pledged an open and robust planning process, the move nonetheless infuriated members from states where Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is a major landowner. They fear new restrictions on oil-and-gas drilling and other activities and claim the policy is an end-run around Congress.

A slew of House Democrats recently defended the new "wild lands" initiative.

Simpson, speaking with reporters in the Capitol, reiterated his opposition to Interior’s policy but was guarded about any potential plans to curtail it.

He said he’s focused on crafting legislation that reduces overall spending, but noted that “there will probably be some policy decisions in there.”

Asked directly if he wanted a spending bill to block funding, Simpson said there should be hearings on the “wild lands” policy in the Natural Resources Committee, but added:

“I don’t like their [Interior’s] proposal. I think it will make land management more difficult rather than easier. Now, obviously they have a difference of opinion. It wouldn’t bother me if there was a ‘No funds shall be used for wild lands’ designation, because I really honestly believe that if we want to do a type of lands as wild lands, that’s something that ought to come from Congress.

“If [an amendment] is offered or one comes up or one is in the language, we will see,” added Simpson, chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

The next federal spending bill will be the continuing resolution for fiscal 2011. The current CR expires early next month.

 

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Simpson Praises Florida Judge Ruling Obama’s Health Care Law is Unconstitutional
Posted by on January 31, 2011

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruling H.R. 3590, the Patient, Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional:

“I strongly believe Obama’s health care law is the wrong direction for our nation and is unconstitutional,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “I am pleased to see this court ruling, and I believe the House acted appropriately earlier this month by repealing the bill in its entirety so we can start over by passing smaller bills that enjoy bipartisan support and focus on bringing down costs for American healthcare consumers.”

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Nuclear Research Agreement Is Positive Step Forward
Posted by on January 27, 2011
I am writing to respond to the comments of former Governor Cecil Andrus and the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board regarding the recent agreement between the State of Idaho and the Department of Energy (DOE) over future shipments of very small quantities of spent nuclear fuel for research purposes.
 
While I have a great deal of respect for the former Governor, I am disappointed in his opposition to this sensible agreement and even more disappointed that he is using outdated and unfounded arguments to oppose it. The former Governor’s distrust of the Department of Energy is well earned, but is in no way reflective of the recent history of accomplishment at the site and, in fact, hurts future efforts to attract jobs and investment in eastern Idaho.
 
First and foremost, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is the lead nuclear energy research facility in our nation. The Idaho Congressional Delegation and governors past and present sought that designation and have worked hard to grow that mission. Inherent with that mission is the responsibility to bring in small quantities of fuel for examination and to retain that fuel for future research purposes.
 
What baffles me about the opposition of Governor Andrus is his apparent failure to understand the important role of the Laboratory. After all, nuclear research is done on nuclear materials, and if the lab cannot secure materials for research, the thousands of jobs and significant financial investments reliant upon that research will be put at risk.
 
In his recent opinion piece, Governor Andrus also laments that the agreement comes with no assurance of new jobs or new investments at the Laboratory. This statement is misleading at best, and at worst it is intentionally designed to undermine the tremendous growth and progress that the Lab has experienced over the past five year.
 
As Governor Andrus well knows, over the past five years alone, INL has grown from a business volume of roughly $500 million a year to over $1 billion a year. Employment at INL has grown by hundreds of jobs, and some of the most difficult cleanup efforts have been tackled or are in the process of being tackled. INL’s talented workforce is beginning to occupy modern new buildings where old ones once stood. The battles that Governor Andrus fought with DOE were long ago won by the State of Idaho, and a new era of progress has emerged.
 
Today, INL is truly making a difference in nuclear energy research, and conducting research on nuclear materials, including those from commercial nuclear facilities, is an important part of that role. Those of us who support INL, its workforce, and its future have long acknowledged this work and strongly support it. The new agreement acknowledges it as well.  Contrary to Governor Andrus’s concerns that it opens the door to sending more nuclear waste to Idaho, this agreement actually protects Idaho from any such threat by putting in place a framework for ensuring only legitimate research activities can move forward.
 
The agreement Governor Otter signed with the Department of Energy not only protects thousands of Idaho jobs and helps fuel our state’s economy, it will help drive the creation of new jobs and new investments over the coming decade.
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Simpson Releases Statement after Tragic Attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
Posted by on January 8, 2011

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson issued the following statement concerning the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff today in Tucson, AZ.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, and the citizens attending her Town Hall. Gabrielle is a dedicated public servant to the people of her district and Arizona. Kathy and my thoughts and prayers are with the family of all who were harmed in this violent attack.”

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Congress must act to prevent huge tax increases
Posted by on November 30, 2010

As the end of the 2010 tax year gets nearer, we are rapidly approaching a traffic jam of expiring tax provisions, uncertainty about the AMT, and a sluggish economy.  Congress has a lot of work to do in the coming months, as I believe that the hard work of balancing our budget will require us to do the hard work of fundamental tax reform.  In the meantime, however, Congress must act swiftly to prevent the huge tax increases looming over American families from crashing down on them on January first. 

Although no clear path forward on the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was agreed to during today’s the meeting between the President and congressional leaders, I am pleased that the President has shown an interest in moving ahead on the conversation.  It is clear to congressional leaders in both parties and to the President that allowing a huge tax increase to hit American taxpayers is not the best way to stimulate our economy or encourage small businesses to grow.

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“It’s Time to Make the Tough Choices to Tackle the Deficit”
Posted by on November 18, 2010

Sadly, today’s vote to extend unemployment insurance through February 2011 was nothing more than political posturing on the part of the outgoing Democrat majority.  The bill is unpaid for and would have added $12 billion directly to the national debt while vast reserves of stimulus money still sits unused.  By bringing the bill under a rule that prohibits debate or amendments and requires a 2/3 vote for passage, the Democrats knew it would not pass. 

Because of these heavy handed techniques, almost every Republican opposed the bill, as did several Democrats, and it failed easily.  If Democrats would have followed regular order by allowing amendments, Republicans could have offered a proposal to pay for the bill with unused stimulus funds. Had that happened, it likely would have passed, but Democrats would rather see the bill fail than allow that to happen. They felt it was more important to leave intact their massive unspent stimulus reserve and instead tack the cost of the unemployment insurance extension onto the already calamitous national debt.

This debate once again demonstrates two fundamental realities.  The first is that congressional Democrats are incapable of prioritizing federal spending in an effort to reduce the debt.  The second is that congressional Republicans have learned the lessons of their own fiscal failures and are ready to make the tough decisions required to get the nation back on track.

I strongly support extending benefits to those who are out of work – in fact, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 5647, the Responsible COBRA, Unemployment, and Poverty Extension Act, legislation that would extend unemployment benefits without adding a penny to the national deficit.

I sincerely hope congressional Democrats come forward with a proposal like H.R. 5647 to extend unemployment insurance benefits without adding to the debt. Unfortunately, it looks like they still have not received the message that voters across the country sent them a few weeks ago.

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Thank you Veterans
Posted by on November 11, 2010
Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor American’s Veterans. Thank you for your service, for your patriotism, and for your sacrifice. God Bless You and God Bless America.
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