Recently in Washington
Simpson Announces Idaho Academy Appointments
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is pleased to announce the following men and women have been officially appointed to the United States service academies. Simpson nominated the students in December 2012 in order to be accepted to the academic year of 2013/14.
“It is an honor to nominate Idaho students to the service academies,” said Simpson. “I am always impressed by the quality and character of our youth in Idaho. Each person is a fine example of what our state has to offer. They are bright and articulate and I’m proud of these exceptional students who were selected to serve.”
Nominations were selected on the quality of their application, scholastic achievement, references and extra-curricular activities.
The following students from Idaho were appointed to either the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York; or the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Congressman Simpson is currently accepting applications for students who seek nomination for the 2014/15 academic year. Information about eligibility and answers to other common questions can be found under the student section on Simpson’s website: simpson.house.gov. The application is also online.
Keystone XL Pipeline Needed for Energy Independence
Idaho Congressman Simpson supported H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would put an end to years of bureaucratic delays and allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Because the pipeline would connect the United States with a foreign country, it requires a Presidential Permit issued by the State Department. The State Department must find that the project would serve the national interest before it can issue the permit.
The first application to the U.S. State Department to build the pipeline was submitted in 2008. After a thorough environmental review in 2011, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) found that the pipeline would have limited adverse environmental impacts during its construction and operation.
“Moving forward with the permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline would create jobs and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil,” said Simpson, “I am disappointed that the President appears to be playing politics with our nation’s energy security.”
Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has estimated that it will invest $7 billion in the United States to build the pipeline, and that up to 20,000 jobs would be directly created by the pipeline’s construction. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the Keystone XL Pipeline would be able to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents about half of the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East.
“This project has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and it has been reviewed and studied for five years. Its economic implications for this country are too important to delay any longer,” Simpson said.
The Northern Route Approval Act would eliminate the need for a Presidential Permit, and finds that the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, shall satisfy all environmental review requirements. It also addresses all other necessary federal permits and limits legal challenges that could serve as further delays to the advancement of the project.
The House passed H.R. 3 by a vote of 241-145. It will now move to the Senate for further consideration.
Simpson Supports Bill to Protect Students from Loan Cliff
Idaho Congressman Simpson supported H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act. The bill would prevent interest rates on new federally subsidized undergraduate Stafford Loans from increasing to 6.8% from their current rate of 3.4%. It permanently moves the rate to a market-based rate, tied to the 10-year Treasury Note. The bill passed 221 to 198.
“I have always said that every student who wants to attend a college or university should be able to, and money should not be an impediment to higher education,” said Congressman Simpson. “It hurts our country if capable students don’t seek higher education because they can’t afford it.”
The bill would effectively take Congress out of the business of setting student loan interest rates by providing a permanent fix and tying rates to the market rate. On July 1st rates go up to 6.8% as required by current law. If this bill becomes law it is estimated the rate will be 4.4%, and the rate would be reset once a year to keep to the 10-year Treasury Note. The bill is also estimated to save $3.7 billion over 10 years.
“The longer Congress fails to act and the closer we come to July 1st, the more concerned students and families become that their rate will double,” added Simpson. “An increase of that size would be overwhelming for many students seeking a new federal loan in this economy.”
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Meanwhile, the so-called “loan cliff” is barely more than a month away.
MONDAY, JUNE 3RD
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
TUESDAY, JUNE 4TH, AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Thursday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
On Friday, no votes are expected.
H.R. 2216 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Culberson / Appropriations Committee)
H.R. 2217 - Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. John Carter / Appropriations Committee)
House Passes H.R. 258, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013
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