TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The U.S. House of Representatives is out of session this week, which means Rep. Mike Simpson is home.
We sat down with him on Wednesday to talk about the hot topics of Washington.
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order about healthcare, saying Simpson’s branch of government isn’t working quickly enough.
Simpson said they’re still working on doing it “the right way.”
“We continue to work on it, and hopefully we're doing it in a thoughtful way, including bipartisan efforts to try and improve the healthcare system in this country, and that takes some time. So it doesn't surprise me having been in the private sector all his life that he's dismayed at how long it takes to get something done in a congressional setting.”
Simpson said Russia purchasing ads online and influencing the election is a blow to our democracy.
“I think we're more at risk from a cyberattack than we are from anything else, and this is kind of just the first step in it. I think they're kind of experimenting to see what they can do in our political system, and if they're successful at this, who knows where it'll lead.”
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“Trying to respond to that makes it more difficult to try and keep concentrated on the job we’re supposed to be doing.”
After the Las Vegas shooting a few weeks ago, there's been talk to make new laws on bump stocks - the device the shooter used to make his rifle fire more quickly.
Simpson said he supports that, but said legislation that goes further than that is difficult if you're trying to protect the second amendment.
“It's a problem, and there's something going on in society that's deeper than just the right to keep and bear arms that's causing some of these mass shootings and stuff.”
President Trump hit the ball into Congress' court early last month when he announced he would end the Obama-era protection.
Simpson said these people shouldn't be punished for the actions of their parents.
He'd like to see it solved as part of a broader immigration bill.
“There's a lot of people that want this DACA fix fixed. You would like to use it as kind of a part of getting more support for a broader immigration reform package done, and if you do it separately, you lose that support for the people who just want to fix the DACA. It's the way the process works. But I feel confident we're not going to be deporting these DACA kids that congress will address this issue.”
What he’s working on
Simpson is on the House Interior and Environment subcommittee.
As part of that, he's specifically working on re-appropriating funding for wildland firefighting.
Simpson estimated 20 years ago, about 14 percent of the Forest Service’s budget went to firefighting, but now it’s closer to 56 percent.
If we don’t do something by 2021, that’ll be closer to 80 percent, Simpson said. That leaves little money for their other duties, and they end up borrowing from other programs in the Dept. of the Interior.
“We're trying to change that dynamic and get ahead of the curve rather than behind the curve like we are now. That's been a bill as I said I've been working on for 4 or 5 years, and I think this year we might get it done.”
Simpson said he is getting help from Sen. Jim Risch on the other half of congress.