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Eye On Boise

Simpson, Labrador split votes on highway bill, education reauthorization

Idaho’s two GOP congressmen split their votes on two major pieces of legislation that passed the House: The highway funding bill, which passed 359-65 today; and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, known as the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which passed yesterday on a bipartisan 359-64 vote and replaces the No Child Left Behind act. On both bills, 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voted yes, and 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voted no.

Simpson issued a statement lauding the passage of both bills and explaining his support; Labrador was traveling today and had no statement, according to his spokesman, Dan Popkey.

On the transportation bill, Simpson said, “Funding for highways is some of the most important money appropriated on the federal level. 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.”

On the education reauthorization bill, Simpson said, “Passing a final version of ESEA reauthorization is a victory for education in our country. 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.”

On both measures, Simpson said, “Each of these two bills makes crucial investments in our economy. 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.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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