Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today supported the conference report to reauthorize highway programs for five years, providing long-term certainty to state and local governments to carry out much needed maintenance and repair projects for our roads, bridges, and transit systems. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act passed the House by a vote of 359-65.
“Funding for highways is some of the most important money appropriated on the federal level,” said Simpson. “Idaho’s economy depends on an efficient and affordable transportation system to move people and products across the country. After years of doing short term extensions and patches that make long term planning and investment impossible, this bill will provide critical economic development, job creation, and safety improvements on our Federal Highway System. I was also pleased to see this bill make good on the promise to reverse the recent $3 billion cut to crop insurance payments.”
Earlier in the week, Congressman Simpson supported passage of the conference report to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 359-64. It has been more than seven years since the last long term education bill No Child Left Behind expired.
“Passing a final version of ESEA reauthorization is a victory for education in our country,” said Simpson. “This bill represents positive reforms to the education system, returns important decisions back to states and localities, and empowers the most integral people in the education system – educators, parents, and of course students. It makes improvements based on what we learned from No Child Left Behind and will no longer allow the president to unilaterally impose his agenda through conditional waivers.”
Specifically, the Every Student Succeeds Act reduces the federal role in education by removing ineffective policies such as the adequately yearly progress federal criteria, and returns accountability responsibilities back to the states. The bill also reauthorizes Impact Aid, a program on which rural counties and schools in Idaho depend.
“Each of these two bills makes crucial investments in our economy,” said Simpson. “Congress has for too long failed in its duty to reauthorize long-expired transportation and education programs. This week we have made important reforms and improvements to these programs that eliminate unsuccessful and inefficient measures previously in place. We’ve also provided needed certainty to state and local governments who are trying to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure and advance our education programs. As is always the case in a divided government, this is a compromise. But it would be irresponsible to reject forward progress in favor of a failed status quo just because we did not get everything we wanted.”