Mike Simpson

This article is about politician Michael Simpson. For other people with this name, see Michael Simpson (disambiguation).

Mike Simpson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Idaho's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded by Mike Crapo
38th Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives
In office
December 1992  December 1, 1998
Preceded by Tom Boyd
Succeeded by Bruce Newcomb
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
from District 31 Seat B
In office
December 1, 1992  December 1, 1998
Preceded by Grant Mortensen
Succeeded by Stan Williams
Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
from District 26 Seat B
In office
December 1, 1984  December 1, 1992
Preceded by Jerry Wellard
Succeeded by Lenore Hardy Barrett
Personal details
Born Michael Keith Simpson
(1950-09-08) September 8, 1950
Burley, Idaho, U.S.
Nationality United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy Simpson
Residence Idaho Falls, formerly Blackfoot
Alma mater Utah State University, 1972
Washington University (MO), D.M.D., 1977
Profession Dentist
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

Michael Keith "Mike" Simpson, D.M.D. (born September 8, 1950), is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Idaho's 2nd congressional district. First elected in 1998, he is a member of the Republican Party and previously served in the state legislature in Idaho.

Early life, education and career

Born in Burley, Simpson was raised in Blackfoot, where his father was a dentist. He graduated from Blackfoot High School in 1968, Utah State University in Logan in 1972, and the Washington University School of Dental Medicine[1] in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1977.[2] Simpson practiced dentistry in Blackfoot until his election to Congress in 1998. He was elected to the Blackfoot City Council in 1980 and was elected to the state legislature in 1984, the first of seven terms. Simpson was the Speaker of the Idaho House prior to his election to Congress.

While some members of Congress with a medical background prefer to be addressed as "Doctor" (most notably former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist),[3] Simpson does not insist that he be referred to as Dr. Simpson, preferring to simply go by Congressman or Mr. Simpson.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Party leadership

Caucus membership

  • House Potato Caucus – Co-Chair
  • House Sugar Caucus – Co-Chair
  • Oral Health Caucus – Co-Chair
  • Congressional TRIO Caucus – Co-Chair
  • Western Caucus
  • Nuclear Cleanup Caucus
  • House Bio-fuels Caucus
  • Congressional Sportsmen Caucus
  • Mining Caucus
  • Immigration Reform Caucus
  • Congressional Arts Congress
  • Renewable Energy Caucus
  • Congressional Native American Caucus
  • House Rural Health Coalition
  • Caucus to Fight and Control Meth
  • 2nd Amendment Caucus
  • Congressional Taiwan Caucus

In the 111th United States Congress Simpson became the Ranking Member on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. Upon assuming this position, and the subsequent chairmanship of the subcommittee, Mr. Simpson is considered a "Cardinal" (a term applied to the chairmen or ranking members of the Appropriations Subcommittees) within the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as the small state representative on the 33-member House Republican Steering Committee.[4] Known as the "committee of committees", the Steering Committee decides which Republican lawmakers become ranking members on House committees.[5] Simpson replaced Congressman Don Young (R-AK) on the committee.[4]


On March 21, 2014, Simpson introduced the bill To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to maintain or replace certain facilities and structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in Idaho (H.R. 4283; 113th Congress).[6] The bill would require the United States Secretary of Agriculture to permit private entities to repair or replace certain commercial facilities on United States Forest Service land in Idaho.[7] Simpson said that "this legislation clarifies Congress' intent of the 2004 amendments to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act which continued the existing use and occupancy of commercial services in this corridor of the Salmon River."[8]

On June 20, 2014, Simpson introduced the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4923; 113th Congress), a bill that would make appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for FY2015.[9] The bill would appropriate $34 billion, which is only $50 million less than these agencies currently receive.[10] The appropriations for the United States Department of Energy and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are made by this bill.

Political positions

Simpson is a conservative member of the Republican Party. However, he is known to be pragmatic on certain issues. For example, he was one of a handful of Republicans to vote in favor of the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in the 110th Congress.[11] Simpson has also been a supporter of the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities, voting each year against Republican amendments to strip them of funding. In the past, he has opposed "earmarks", or congressionally directed spending.


Simpson supports an agenda of low taxes and pro-business policies.[12]

2013 government shutdown

In October 2013, Simpson voted to end the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.[13]


When asked about the Grover Norquist pledge to oppose any net increase in taxes, Simpson said, "Well, first the pledge: I signed that in 1998 when I first ran. I didn't know I was signing a marriage agreement that would last forever."[14]

Second Amendment

Simpson was one of the Members of Congress to sign the D.C. v. Heller amicus brief which supported a recognition of the Second Amendment as an individual right.[15] He voted for and helped to pass the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011".[16] Under this new law, which passed through the House of Representatives on November 16, 2011, people with a valid license are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in other states, as long as those states allow concealed weapons and don't have specific rules about concealed weapons carried by nonresidents.[17]


Simpson's hallmark legislation in the House of Representatives has been the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA), which would create 312,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho, much of which is currently a wilderness study area. Simpson has faced substantial resistance from groups like the Sierra Club who claim the bill lacks "wilderness values"[18] because the bill allows for motorized access to certain portions of the wilderness area and some land federal land would be transferred to the State of Idaho to promote the economic development of the local community and the recreational use of National Forest land and other public lands in central Idaho.[19] Simpson has also faced opposition from groups who oppose new federal land designations, and wilderness designations particularly because of restricted access to wilderness areas.[18] In August 2015 a revised version of CIEDRA, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act, passed Congress and was signed by President Obama, creating the Hemingway–Boulders, Jim McClure–Jerry Peak, and White Clouds wilderness areas, which cover a total of 275,665 acres (111,558 ha) of central Idaho.[20]

Judgeship reorganization

He also played a crucial role with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act.[21] Mike Simpson's goal is to amend title 28, and create the appointment of additional Federal Circuit Judges, to divide the Ninth Judicial Circuit into two smaller judicial circuits.[22] The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act was introduced to House Judiciary Committee, and more specifically to the subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy. Since Jan 24, 2011, the bill has been in the subcommittee, where it will be refined before being presented by to the Judiciary Committee, then later the actual House of Representatives.


Following the death of Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA) in February, 2007, Simpson has become a leading advocate of the American Dental Association (ADA) in Congress, in part because his profession is dentistry. The advocacy inspired Simpson to introduce legislation regarding methamphetamine, specifically how the drug affects tooth decay or "methmouth". The bill is formally called H.R. 1671: Meth Mouth Prevention and Community Recovery Act, with the purpose to understand and address the oral health problems associated with methamphetamine. The bill's goals are to expand and intensify the Department of Health and Human Services, make grants available to educate 12- to 17-year-olds about methmouth, and to promote a series of education activities for all dentists to learn about substance use disorders and their relationship to oral health and the provision of dental care.[23] As of March 24, 2009, the bill was put from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to the Subcommittee on Health where it has been debated, but never brought to a conclusion. As soon as that happens, it will be brought up before the whole committee, then later the House of Representatives.[24]

Simpson was an original co-sponsor of the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 1281; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize grant programs and other initiatives to promote expanded screening of newborns and children for heritable disorders.[25] Simpson said that "the bill reflects the realities of reduced budgets Washington, but continues and strengthens the well established system of monitoring and evaluating infant conditions soon after birth. Just one small blood sample from the newborn’s foot identifies infants with genetic or other conditions that can be treated quickly and effectively, saving and improving thousands of lives."[26]


Simpson is also known as an outspoken proponent of nuclear power, extolling its virtues as an environmentally friendly source of energy with minimal carbon output. Simpson's support for this form of energy plays a significant role in his membership of the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which oversees the Idaho National Laboratory, a main site for nuclear and alternative energy research in the United States.


Simpson is a strong supporter of the domestic sugar beet producers,[27] and the Idaho potato growers.[28] In 2010, Simpson took up the cause, alongside his former Democratic colleague, Walt Minnick, the lead sponsor of the bill, to secure a third federal judge for Idaho.[29] Simpson was quoted as saying, "The caseload of the Idaho District Court has increased significantly in recent decades resulting in Idaho’s district judges carrying a disproportionate share of cases in relation to their colleagues in other states."[29]

Simpson has become increasing opposed to President Obama and the Congressional Democrats' policy agenda. Simpson has announced his commitment to repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, questioning its constitutionality and effectiveness.[30] He is said to be close to and loyal to Speaker John Boehner.[31]

Public recognition

Esquire magazine listed Simpson as one of the 10 Best Members of Congress in October 2008.[32] The magazine said of Simpson, "More than any other representative, Simpson lives by the philosophy that democratic representation is a matter of finding not advantageous positions but common ground..."[32] The magazine's portrayal of Simpson echoes one of his personal philosophies, which is embodied in a quote by Henry Clay: "Politics is not about ideological purity or moral self-righteousness. It is about governing, and if a politician cannot compromise he cannot govern effectively." This quote is framed and hangs in Simpson's Washington D.C. office.[33]

Simpson has been credited as having a key role in the election of John Boehner (R-OH) to the position of House Majority Leader in the 109th United States Congress.[34]

While the Republican Party held the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Simpson often served as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, particularly during debates concerning controversial legislation, due to his command of House procedure. Simpson is known to have broken several sounding boards with the gavel while calling the House to order. This inspired Simpson to have a number of sounding boards produced in Idaho, which he presented to then Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) as a joke. When the Republican Party regained control of the House of Representatives in 2010, Mr. Simpson began once again to serve frequently as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House.

He has been supported by a PAC affiliated with the Republican Main Street Partnership, which helps pragmatic Republicans who are willing to work across party lines.[13]

Political campaigns

Simpson entered the 1998 campaign for the U.S. House seat vacated by Mike Crapo, who was running for United States Senate. He defeated former Democratic Congressman Richard H. Stallings in the general election. Simpson did not face serious opposition in 2002 and 2004. In 2006 Simpson defeated former Democratic state representative Jim D. Hansen, son of former Republican Congressman Orval H. Hansen, to win reelection.


Simpson was reelected to a sixth term in 2008, defeating Democrat Debbie Holmes.[35] The final result was 204,465 for Simpson and 83,340 for Holmes, giving Simpson 71% of the vote.[36] Esquire magazine endorsed Simpson for Idaho's Second Congressional District in the 2008 elections, but endorsed Democrat Walt Minnick for Idaho's First Congressional District.[37]

During the 2008 Presidential primaries, Simpson was an early supporter of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and a member of his Congressional Whip Team.[38][39]


Simpson was challenged by Democratic nominee Mike Crawford and Independent candidate Brian Schad.[40][41]

In the Republican primary, Simpson defeated Chick Heileson of Iona and Russ Mathews of Idaho Falls.[42] Each touted himself as a more conservative alternative. Simpson won re-election.


Simpson was challenged by Democratic nominee Nicole LeFavour.

In the Republican primary, Simpson defeated Chick Heileson.


In the 2014 Idaho Republican primary Simpson defeated Bryan Smith, earning 61.8% of the vote.

Election results

U.S. House elections (Idaho's 2nd district): Results 1998–2014
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1998 Richard Stallings 77,736 44.7% Mike Simpson 91,337 52.5% Jonathan B. Ratner Natural Law 4,854 2.8%
2000 Craig Williams 58,265 25.9% Mike Simpson (inc.) 158,912 70.7% Donovan Bramwell Libertarian 7,542 3.4%
2002 Edward Kinghorn 57,769 29.0% Mike Simpson (inc.) 135,605 68.2% John A. Lewis Libertarian 5,508 2.8%
2004 Lin Whitworth 80,133 29.3% Mike Simpson (inc.) 193,704 70.7%
2006 Jim D. Hansen 73,441 34.4% Mike Simpson (inc.) 132,262 62.0% Cameron Forth Independent 5,113 2.4% Travis J. Hedrick Constitution 2,516 1.2%
2008 Debbie Holmes 83,878 28.9% Mike Simpson (inc.) 205,777 70.9% Gregory Nemitz Write-in 612 0.2%
2010 Mike Crawford 48,749 24.4% Mike Simpson (inc.) 137,468 68.8% Brian Schad Independent 13,500 6.8%
2012 Nicole LeFavour 110,847 34.8% Mike Simpson (inc.) 207,412 65.1%
2014 Richard Stallings 82,801 38.6% Mike Simpson (inc.) 131,492 61.4%


Larry Craig scandal

During the 2007 scandal involving Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Simpson was openly considered for an appointment to the U.S. Senate in the event that Senator Craig resigned. Simpson, however, asked Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter to remove his name from consideration, claiming that the Idaho Congressional Delegation would be in a better position if he were to remain in the House and retain his seniority on the House Appropriations Committee.

Simpson rankled Senate leadership during the Craig scandal by criticizing them for their treatment of the Senator. Simpson is quoted as saying, "If that’s how they treat their own, that tells me they’re more interested in party than individuals, and the party is made up of individuals. How you treat them says a lot about your party."[44] Simpson is not known to have condoned Craig's alleged misconduct, but he demanded that Craig be treated fairly. For example, he is quoted as saying, "They have people over there [in the Senate Republican Conference] in far worse trouble that they haven’t said a thing about."[44]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

  1. The Washington University School of Dental Medicine, 1866-1991 http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/dental/history/index.html
  2. Official Congressional Directory, 2011-2012: 112th Congress. United States Congress. 2011. p. 83.
  3. "Honorable? Former lawmakers mull title – Daniel Libit". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  4. 1 2 "Blog Briefing Room – The Hill's Blog Briefing Room". Briefingroom.thehill.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  5. "Blog Briefing Room – The Hill's Blog Briefing Room". Briefingroom.thehill.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  6. "H.R. 4238 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  7. "CBO – H.R. 4283". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  8. "Simpson Bill to Authorize Facilities Maintenance on Salmon River Passes House". House Office of Rep. Mike Simpson. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  9. "H.R. 4923 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  10. Marcos, Cristina (7 July 2014). "This week: Sportsmen's bill, appropriations". The Hill. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  11. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll1009.xml
  12. Idaho Statesman
  13. 1 2 King, Neil Jr. (2013-11-29). "Idaho Race Shows Split in Republican Donor Base". The Wall Street Journal.
  14. Fox News on YouTube
  15. "Brief of respondent for District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  16. http://www.vote-smart.org/bill/14168/37348/2917/national-right-to-carry-reciprocity-act-of-2011
  17. See http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/192457-gop-looking-to-ease-concealed-weapons-rules-next-week
  18. 1 2 http://idaho.sierraclub.org/sawtooth/issues/CIEDRA/index.html
  19. See http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-3603
  20. Landers, Rich (August 7, 2015). "Obama signs Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Bill". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  21. "Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2007 – Vote: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. | History and Status | MAPLight.org – Money and Politics". MAPLight.org. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  22. See http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-162&tab=committees
  23. See http://www.house.gov/list/press/id02_simpson/meth_mouth.html
  24. See http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1671
  25. "CBO – H.R. 1281". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  26. "Rep. Roybal-Allard and Rep. Simpson introduce the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Authorization Act". House Office of Rep. Roybal-Allard. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  27. See http://www.mcclatchydc.com/244/story/35363.html
  28. 1 2 http://www.idahoreporter.com/2010/minnick-and-simpson-working-on-getting-idaho-a-third-federal-judge/
  29. See http://www.idahostatejournal.com/news/local/article_66f4c33a-43ff-11df-aaa4-001cc4c002e0.html
  30. Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan (20 December 2012), Boehner’s toughest hour Politico
  31. 1 2 David, Elliott (2008-10-15). "10 Best Members of Congress – Election 2008". Esquire. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  32. See http://www.hcn.org/issues/338/16795
  33. "Ties to House leader pay off for Simpson, Idaho | Dan Popkey's reporting and columns". Idaho Statesman. 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  34. 2008 results Archived February 20, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  35. "Local and National Election Results – Election Center 2008 – Elections & Politics from". CNN.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  36. David, Elliott (2008-10-16). "2008 Election – Idaho Congress Picks". Esquire. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  37. http://www.politicalbase.com/people/mitt-romney/14237/supporters/
  38. pb (2007-02-06). "Mitt Romney 2008: Whip Team for Mitt Romney". 2008romney.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  39. http://www.ktvb.com/news/local/Meet-Idahos-reluctant-Democratic-candidate-for-Congress-101424329.html
  40. http://www.sos.idaho.gov/elect/candidat/2010candgen.htm
  41. http://politics.usnews.com/news/articles/2010/05/24/voters-head-to-polls-tuesday-to-decide-key-races.html
  42. "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  43. 1 2 "News Archive". TheHill.com. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Crapo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Idaho's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jan Schakowsky
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Thompson
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