|Recently in Washington
Last week the House passed H.R. 1473, legislation enacted to provide funding for the military and Department of Defense for the duration of the fiscal year, prevented a government shutdown, and cut government spending by an historic $40 billion for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
The House also passed H.R. 1217, legislation which repeals the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a slush fund for the Secretary of Health and Human Services included in the Democrats’ healthcare reform bill. The House also passed H.Con.Res. 34, the budget for the U.S. government for FY 2012, which cuts $6.2 trillion over the next ten years.
Note: Due to the constituent work period, no e-newsletter will be going out next week.
Simpson’s Wolf Language Included in Final Funding Bill
“I am confident that this language gets us closer to our ultimate goal, which is seeing the entire Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population taken off the endangered species list and managed exclusively by the states,” said Simpson. “Not only do wolf populations in the west far exceed recovery goals, but without proper management they have become so robust that they are adversely impacting other wildlife populations in the region and are spilling into other states not in the original recovery area. This language takes an important first step by allowing for a wolf hunt this year in Idaho and Montana and allowing Wyoming to move closer to developing an approved state management plan.”
Simpson’s language overturns the August 2010 decision by a district court in Montana to put wolves in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Utah back on the endangered species list, in spite of the fact that these populations have met and exceeded recovery goals. H.R. 1473 directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue its 2009 decision to delist wolves in Idaho and Montana and allows for state management, including managed hunts, in those states this year. The language also protects the ability of the state of Wyoming to negotiate its own state management plan, which, once approved, would allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the entire Northern Rocky Mountain population.
The language comes on the heels of a decision by District Court Judge Donald Molloy to reject a proposed settlement between environmental groups and the federal government that would have restored state management of wolves in Idaho and Montana. Judge Molloy’s decision means wolves will remain on the federally protected list indefinitely without congressional action.
“Judge Molloy’s decision has left little doubt that without the passage of my language wolves would remain under unnecessary federal protection indefinitely,” said Simpson. “If the courts are incapable of recognizing when a species if fully recovered, then Congress will have to make that determination for them. I am glad to see Congress confirm the original intent of the endangered species act by moving to return to state control the management of a species that has met and surpassed even the most optimistic recovery goals.”
Simpson Cuts Billions from EPA, Department of Interior in Final CR
Cuts to the EPA in H.R. 1473 represent 61% of the subcommittee’s reduction. “The Obama Administration has dumped money into the EPA over the past two years, and what the American people have seen as a result is a slew of new regulations pouring out of the agency,” said Simpson. “These cuts give us the opportunity to take a close look at how the agency is spending its dramatic increases in funding and look at whether the regulations it is putting out are appropriate and within the limits of the authority Congress has given the EPA.”
H.R. 1473 includes other significant cuts to programs under Simpson’s jurisdiction, including a 33% reduction for federal land acquisition and a $49 million reduction for climate change funding. In the bill, Simpson focused on the core mission programs of agencies, ensuring that agencies like the BLM, the Forest Service, and the National Parks Service can continue to carry out fundamental operations that serve the American people.
“Nearly everyone will be able to find something they don’t like in H.R. 1473, but at the end of the day we all know that we simply can’t continue to spend money that we don’t have,” said Simpson. “By making historic cuts to federal programs for the remainder of the current fiscal year, Republicans have made it clear that they are serious about getting our deficit under control and getting our economy going again. We all know that reducing discretionary spending by nearly $40 billion is only the first step in restoring fiscal responsibility, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Simpson Defunds “Wild Lands” Initiative in Final Budget Bill
“The longer this initiative has been out in the public, the more concerns I hear about the impact it will have on ranching, energy production, recreation, and even the BLM’s own ability to manage their lands,” said Simpson. “To that list, I would add my own deep concern that with this initiative, the Department has overstepped its authority. Only Congress has the authority to create new land designations, and I intend to restore that authority by including this provision in the CR.”
Simpson is the Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Interior, including the BLM.
Simpson Praises FY2012 Budget Passage
“I was glad to see my Republican colleagues unite behind this budget. It is the first serious proposal in Congress to tackle the biggest issues facing our country: the national debt, our outdated tax code, and our ailing entitlement programs,” said Simpson. “It fundamentally strengthens and secures Medicare and Medicaid for future generations but does not alter the benefits for those in or near retirement. House Republicans are leading the way with this tough but fair proposal.”
The Senate will act next by putting out its own FY2012 budget, and then the difference between the two will be reconciled before a final budget is passed.
In the News
Budget deal stops BLM Wild Lands inventory
Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson authored the provision to stop the Bureau of Land Management from carrying out its inventory of public lands with wilderness characteristics. The Wild Lands proposal, announced days before Christmas had angered Western governors, ranchers, motorized recreation groups and energy developers.
"To that list, I would add my own deep concern that with this initiative, the Department has overstepped its authority," Simpson said in a press release Tuesday. "Only Congress has the authority to create new land designations, and I intend to restore that authority by including this provision in the (continuing resolution)."
The Wild Lands order that requires the Bureau of Land Management to identify and protect parts of the 245 million acres it manages in the West. Supporters say it does not create new restrictions on land use and only authorizes the agency to inventory lands for future consideration as wilderness as Congress requires.
"It does not 'lock up' Western lands from other uses," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar when he issued the order for the inventory.
Simpson, chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, also got a provision in the budget deal that would delist wolves in Idaho, Montana, northern Utah and eastern Oregon and Washington. The language, released Tuesday, also keeps the door open for Wyoming to join the delisting if it develops a wolf management plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Idaho and Montana would be able to open hunting seasons again when the budget deal that prevented the government shutdown is approved.
"I am confident that this language gets us closer to our ultimate goal, which is seeing the entire Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population taken off the endangered species list and managed exclusively by the states," said Simpson. "Not only do wolf populations in the west far exceed recovery goals, but without proper management they have become so robust that they are adversely impacting other wildlife populations in the region and are spilling into other states not in the original recovery area."
Congressman Simpson joined veterants as they celebrated the grand opening for the VA Outreach Clinic.
Congressman Simpson participates in the Energy Systems Laboratory ground breaking on February 1st.
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