Posts tagged: Mike Simpson
Idaho’s senior senator and congressman both said today that they expect the automatic federal budget cuts required by sequestration to kick in as scheduled on March 1, forcing devastating cuts. “The one thing I’ve discovered is for every complex problem, there is a simple solution that doesn’t work,” said 2ndDistrict Congressman Mike Simpson. “I think sequestration is going to kick into effect, because I don’t see the will on either side of the aisle to try to address what are painfully stupid cuts – it’s a meat ax.”
The cuts, both in the military and in other discretionary federal spending, would be across the board, Simpson said. “They can’t prioritize.” Plus, he said, “It’s an $85 billion hit only on the discretionary side of the budget. It doesn’t address what is driving our debt, and what is driving our debt is the increases in mandatory spending. And that’s what we’ve got to get at.”
Sen. Mike Crapo said, “I agree with Mike, I think that we will go into the sequestration. It will begin implementing.” Before that happens, he said, both sides likely will put forth alternatives that the other side will shoot down. Said Simpson, “In the end, it’s got to be a solution that can be both bicameral and bipartisan, if it’s going to be adopted. But our big question has been: How do you get the American people to understand the seriousness of the problem?”
An event tonight at which both Crapo and Simpson will take part is aimed at that question. From 8-10 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium, Simpson and Crapo will join Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, retired Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, and Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, for a symposium on which the panel will discuss the federal fiscal crisis and answer questions. Tickets for the free event are sold out, but there will be overflow rooms for viewing at the Capitol, and it also will be video-streamed live by Idaho Public Television. Tonight’s symposium is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research; Greg Hahn of Idaho Public TV will be the moderator.
Crapo said there’s budget pain coming. “The pain is increased taxes, the pain is changes in the structure and operation of the entitlement system, the pain is the reduction in defense spending and in other discretionary spending programs, and the fact that we just don’t have the ability to continue to sustain borrowing money to continue to stimulate the economy.”
Asked if Idaho lawmakers should anticipate extending their legislative session to deal with the budget fallout from Washington, D.C. this spring, both Crapo and Simpson said no. “I don’t think they need to be in town months longer,” Simpson said. “There will be some impacts that affect the states.” Said Crapo, “The Legislature doesn’t need to stay in town any longer, but what it needs to do is to recognize that it is going to be dealing with a different budget picture from the federal government. We don’t know yet exactly what that budget picture is, but we do know that it will be much more austerity than has been there in the past.”
You can watch tonight’s event live here; click on “Auditorium.”
1s tDistrict Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador was scheduled to meet with House Speaker John Boehner today, but Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports that both are mum about what was said – or if the meeting even happened as planned. Meanwhile, Boise State University political scientist David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, says in a new essay that the feud between Labrador and 2ndDistrict Congressman Mike Simpson over Labrador’s support of an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the speaker shines light on the style and effectiveness of both lawmakers: Simpson’s style is similar to that of the effective deal-making of McClure and Andrus, Adler says, while Labrador’s approach is “more ideological and reflective of an insurgency mentality,” and therefore, “one that is likely to win attention, particularly media attention (which he has received), and designed to win primaries and elections in a safe district, but is not a promising path to legislative success.” You can read Popkey’s full post here, including Adler’s full essay.
The feud that's broken out into the open between Idaho GOP Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador - detailed in a Sunday story in the Idaho Statesman by reporter Dan Popkey - is the top political news of the day in Idaho. Click below for Popkey's full report, via the Associated Press. Simpson told Popkey that Labrador has forever undermined his effectiveness in Congress by plotting to overthrow Speaker John Boehner and publicly refusing to vote for his re-election on Jan. 3; consequences could include Idaho getting punished when Labrador pushes legislation, with the state the ultimate loser. In response, Labrador called Simpson a “bully” and “an old-school legislator that went to Washington, D.C., to compromise,” Popkey reported.
“That's how you get to a $1 trillion deficit, by just tinkering around the edges,” Labrador said. “But I think we live in a new world where we have some very serious fiscal issues in America, and you need to have people who are willing to say 'no' to a lot of things — things that are very popular back home — and that are willing to put their political careers on the line.”
Popkey has an update here today on his blog, entitled, “Just how much do these guys dislike each other?”
Three-fourths of Idaho’s congressional delegation has voted in favor of the last-minute compromise bill to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” with just 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting no. Labrador said, “This was a difficult vote, but as far as I am concerned the Biden-McConnell deal is worse than no deal at all.” You can read his full statement here.
2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson joined the majority in supporting the bill. “While I remain a strong proponent of a more comprehensive approach to solving our nation’s long-term fiscal crisis, this bill is a critical piece of legislation that lowers taxes for nearly every taxpayer,” Simpson said. “The unfortunate reality is that under current law every taxpayer was hit today with a tax increase. The bill we passed blocks those tax increases for nearly all Americans.” You can read his full statement here.
Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted in favor of the measure; they issued this joint statement: “The compromise that we supported protects 99 percent of all Idahoans from a tax increase and also protects the vast majority of our farm families from a permanent tax increase. This is a victory for working Idahoans, but we must now be very aggressive in finding appropriate spending reductions.”
The bill passed the Senate on an 89-8 vote just after 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, while it passed the House 257-167 around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Click below for a full report from the AP in Washington, D.C.
2nd District GOP Rep. Mike Simpson and his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, debated on live TV last night in the “Idaho Debates.” You can watch the full debate online here. The two clashed over women's issues, from pay inequity to lawmakers' comments about rape. “For many women it’s been a rough year to watch Congress,” LeFavour told Simpson, “and I’m sorry you have participated in that.” He responded, “I’m sorry you feel that way, because it’s absolutely not true.” Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker has a full report on the debate here.
The two also debated deficit reduction, energy funding and the Idaho National Laboratory, jobs, forest fire management and more. Simpson is a seventh-term congressman and former Idaho House speaker who chairs a key House appropriations subcommittee. LeFavour is an outspoken fourth-term state lawmaker who's served two terms in the Idaho House and two in the Senate; click below for a profile of the race by AP reporter John Miller.
Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador will debate his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, tonight on live statewide TV. The debate starts at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific time on Idaho Public Television; it'll run for an hour, and take place before a live audience in the state Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to attend, and is asked to arrive early; doors will close several minutes before the live broadcast begins.
The event is part of the Idaho Debates, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and Idaho Public Television, along with an array of other sponsors; they've been a tradition in Idaho election contests for more than three decades. There's more info here.
Greg Hahn of Idaho Public TV will moderate tonight's debate; reporters who will question the candidates include myself, Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman, and Scott Logan of KBOI2 News. On Sunday night, the Idaho Debates will feature the 2nd Congressional District race, with GOP Congressman Mike Simpson debating his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Nicole LeFavour. That debate will begin at 7 p.m., also in the Capitol Auditorium before a live audience; Hahn will moderate, and reporter panelists will be Melissa Davlin of the Twin Falls Times-News, Clark Corbin of the Idaho Falls Post Register, and Emilie Ritter-Saunders of StateImpact Idaho.
It's debates week in Idaho's congressional races, with two debates scheduled tonight, one on Thursday, and another on Sunday. 1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador and his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris, will face off at 7 tonight on KTVB-TV's 24/7 channel, and again in the Idaho Debates on Thursday on Idaho Public Television.
Thursday's debate will air live statewide, starting at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific; the hour-long debate will take place before a live audience in the Capitol Auditorium on the lower level of the state Capitol. The public is invited, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis; the doors will close several minutes before the debate begins. Those interested in attending are advised to arrive early. The Idaho Debates are sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and Idaho Public Television, along with an array of other sponsors; they've been a tradition in Idaho election contests for more than three decades.
2nd District GOP Congressman Mike Simpson and his Democratic challenger, Nicole LeFavour, also will debate tonight on KTVB's 24/7 channel, starting at 8 p.m. They'll face off again in the Idaho Debates on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. That matchup also will take place before a live audience in the Capitol Auditorium.
For more information about the KTVB debates, see their website here; for more on the Idaho Debates, see their website here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Idaho's $2 billion milk industry failed to get Congress to pass a farm bill this month with provisions to help dairies mitigate rising costs and volatile markets that have spurred three quarters of losses. Though a farm bill cleared the Senate, it's languished in the House. House GOP leaders in Washington, D.C., say they didn't have the necessary votes, with conservatives demanding deeper food stamp cuts and Democrats opposing such austerity. After Congress quit Saturday, a bill likely won't be voted on until after Election Day. That means the current farm bill will expire first. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, who represents Idaho's dairy country, pushed for a vote this month. Rep. Raul Labrador declined to publicly back a September vote, however, saying he wants more-robust spending reductions in the bill. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
According to an open-government website that crunches numbers on members of Congress, the member of Idaho's delegation who's most likely to miss a recorded vote in Congress is 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador. Gov.Tracks.us reported that Labrador missed 4.7 percent of recorded or roll-call votes, nearly double the median of 2.5 percent, from January of 2011 to September of 2012. That's 72 of 1,518 votes. By comparison, the site showed that 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson has missed 2.9 percent of the votes during his time in Congress, from January of 1999 to September of 2012; Sen. Mike Crapo has missed 2.2 percent, from January of 1993 to the present; and Sen. Jim Risch has missed just 1.5 percent, from January of 2009 to the present.
The site also offers an interesting take on ideology and leadership, based on number-crunching, that assigns each member a political spectrum score and a leader-follower score, based on which bills they co-sponsor and who co-sponsors their bills. The results don't necessarily match the conventional wisdom. Here's how Idaho's delegation fared:
Labrador was ranked a “centrist-Republican follower.” Simpson came out as a “rank-and-file Republican.” Crapo's scores made him a “moderate Republican leader.” And Risch's scores ranked him as a “lonely far-right Republican follower.”
You can check out the site here. It focuses on finding new ways, through algorithms and statistics, to arrange and present raw data about Congress so the public can access it; it was created by Joshua Tauberer, a software engineer, author and open government activist.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Congressman Mike Simpson are inviting the public to a discussion of the “fiscal cliff” and financial and debt issues facing the country, on Monday at the Idaho Statehouse. The discussion will feature Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Reponsible Federal Budget. Crapo's office said the committee is “launching a new effort to go out at the state level to spread the word about the need for a bipartisan solution to these imminent, dire threats to all generations of Americans.” The session will run from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in room WW55, and is entitled, “A critical discussion on solving the debt crisis facing all Idahoans and Americans.”
For those who can't attend in person, the session will be live-streamed by Idaho Public Television; you can watch live here. Click below for more info.
The Idaho Education Association's political fundraising arm endorsed Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson in his 2012 election against Democrat Nicole LeFavour, the Twin Falls Times-News reports, via the Associated Press. The endorsement has raised questions, because Simpson is a supporter of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, the architect of “Students Come First” education overhauls that the union is attempting to repeal this November.
Simpson gave $1,000 to Luna's election campaign in 2010, while LeFavour voted against the reforms as a state senator in 2011. The Times-News reports the decision to support Simpson was “completely member-driven,” according to the union. Click below for the full AP/Times-News report.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has successfully added an amendment to the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill in the House to include fresh potatoes in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods to low-income at-risk pregnant women, infants and young children; it provides things like infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans and peas and canned fish. The program also offers tofu, fruits and vegetables, baby foods and whole-wheat bread.
Simpson, in a news release, said, “Fresh potatoes have been excluded from the WIC program despite their widely known nutritional value. This important amendment corrects the unfair exclusion on fresh potatoes and allows participants to make smart wholesome food choices for their young families.”
Simpson is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which approved his amendment and the full bill yesterday; the bill now awaits consideration by the full House.
Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey had an interesting look on Sunday at the role Idaho's “two Mikes,” Sen. Mike Crapo and Congressman Mike Simpson, are playing in the current deficit reduction talks in Washington, D.C., at considerable political risk to their own careers. Writes Popkey, “Wise men — from Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to political scientist Jim Weatherby — could cite no previous example of two members of Idaho’s tiny congressional delegation playing leading roles on the major issue of a generation. 'It takes a lot of guts in this highly toxic anti-tax environment,' said Weatherby.” You can read his full column here.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson and Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., say they want the “Super Committee” working on national deficit reduction to “Go big,” and they've got a bipartisan group of 100 lawmakers standing with them. The two unveiled a letter to the Super Committee and the names of its 100 signers at a Washington, D.C. press conference today; they want everything on the table in deficit reduction talks – including both increased revenues and cuts in entitlement programs – and they want the goal to be closer to $4 trillion in cuts over a decade, rather than the $1.2 trillion target the panel is required to propose by Nov. 23.
Simpson said, “This letter is signed by conservative, moderate, and liberal members of the House, and while their political philosophies may differ, they all understand the urgency that our national debt crisis represents. They understand that the Super Committee represents our best, and possibly only, chance to make the real reforms needed to return our country to fiscal health.” Click below to read his announcement, along with the full letter and list of signers; you can read a full report here from AP reporter Alan Fram in Washington, D.C.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, was asked at the end of his talk to the Idaho Environmental Forum today about what he thinks of Idaho's new congressional districts, which just took effect today. “Love it,” he said quickly to laughter.
He added, “We didn't really participate in that,” and recounted how when he was Idaho House speaker and the late Jerry Twiggs was Senate president pro-tem, both had been through the 1990 reapportionment. “It was ugly, and there were 105 legislators trying to protect themselves,” he said. “We decided … we were going to put together a commission like some other states had done, because we were going to take the politics out of reapportionment.” Amid laughter, he said, “You can't take the politics out of reapportionment.”
“Nevertheless, I think the second commission did a great job, and I hope it's a model that'll be used by commissions in the future,” Simpson said, “to sit down, don't care where people live, don't care if you run incumbents against incumbents. Reapportion it so that it makes sense, which is what I think they did.”
As for the congressional district lines, he said, “That should be a pretty easy one - we've only got two congressional districts in Idaho. Go to Ohio where they're reducing two seats - it's getting kind of ugly there.” He said the new district plan, which simply moves the dividing line in Ada County to the west, “to me makes more sense than some of the other proposals.” He said, “I would ask people, would you rather have one representative who cares about Boise and needs to care about Boise, or two? So actually splitting Ada County, that's OK, and it's evenly split down the middle. … It's worked in the past, and I've always appreciated having Boise in our district.”
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson says a proposed USDA rule to limit potatoes, corn, green peas and lima beans to one cup per week in school lunches was “senseless” and costly, and he's hailing the passage in the House today of the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill, HR 2112, which includes language designed to head off the rule. “The USDA proposed rule would have been another completely unnecessary, unfunded mandate by the federal government,” Simpson said, extolling the nutritional benefits of potatoes. “A medium potato contains over 200 milligrams more potassium than a banana and has as much fiber as a similar serving of broccoli,” the congressman said in a statement. Schools would have faced substantial increased costs to comply, he said; the approprations bill includes a clause directing the USDA to issue a new proposed rule that will not carry any increased costs for schools. You can read Simpson's full news release here.
When the spending cuts bill passed the House today, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, issued a statement lauding its passage and noting that it includes his language to remove wolves from endangered species protections and defund the Department of Interior's Wild Lands initiative. “Congress has the constitutional responsibility to fund government operations, and choosing not to do so would have been a failure of leadership,” Simpson said in a statement. “It is important to recognize the sea change in public debate about spending has been taken up by Congress. Just a year ago the conversation was about the government’s growing appetite for spending. Today we passed a bill that cut more in spending than any other single bill in our nation’s history. We still have a long way to go to address the deficit crisis facing our nation, but passage of H.R. 1473 is an important step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, voted against the bill. “I have been on the record supporting the delisting of wolves and defunding of the wild lands policy,” Labrador said in a statement. “I co-sponsored separate legislation designed to achieve both of those goals. There were some other aspects of this bill I agree with, but the level of spending cuts simply wasn’t high enough to garner my support.”
Click below for a full report from the Associated Press on today's House vote.
Speaking of the EPA, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, newly named chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the EPA, said of the agency: “The EPA is the scariest agency in the federal government, an agency run amok. Its bloated budget has allowed it to drastically expand its regulatory authority in a way that is hurting our economy and pushing an unwelcomed government further into the lives of Idahoans. As Chairman of this subcommittee, I look forward to bringing some common sense to the EPA and some certainty for our nation’s job creators.” Click below to read his full statement.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is the latest Idaho Republican who won’t sign a so-called “loyalty oath” that was included in the party’s platform at its convention two weeks ago. Simpson joins state Rep. Maxine Bell and Sen. Joe Stegner is expressing concern about the oath, which asks candidates for elected office to sign a statement saying they support the GOP platform — or list the areas where they disagree. Simpson told The Associated Press he takes one oath: to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Former state Senate Majority Leader Rod Beck, a delegate at the GOP convention in Idaho Falls, succeeded in having the provision added to the platform. Beck says it will help primary voters determine if elected officials support Republican principles.
The U.S. Forest Service will get an additional $14 million to battle bark beetles in Idaho, where the bugs have chewed through 1.3 million acres, reports S-R reporter Becky Kramer; you can read her story here at spokesman.com. The beetles leave mountainsides covered with red and dying trees. Here’s a link to a joint press release from Idaho Reps. Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson about the new funding.