In response to Congressman Simpson’s proposal to breach four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River, I wrote an article last month entitled, “Congressman Simpson Should Put Idaho First and Do No Harm.” The article named players who oppose Simpson’s plan including, Governor Brad Little, United States Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, Representative Russ Fulcher, and even both houses of the Idaho State Legislature, which issued a rare joint memorial condemning Simpson’s plan. We can add the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power, who issued a final environmental impact statement without recommending dam removal.
Now we also can add the entire Idaho State Republican Party, which on May 8, 2021 formally passed a resolution giving Simpson a vote of “no confidence.” After listing many well thought out reasons to oppose Simpson’s risky plan, the Idaho State Republican Party passed the following resolution:
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Idaho Republican State Central Committee is adamantly opposed to breaching any of the dams on the Snake/Columbia Rivers and maintains no confidence in the Second Congressional District Congressman, Michael K. Simpson, or any elected official who does not act in the best interest of the citizens of the Great State of Idaho by defending against any effort to breach these dams.”
The no confidence resolution received 100% support in committee. The no confidence resolution received overwhelming support on the floor where it was amended to specifically clarify it applied to Congressman “Michael K. Simpson.” Only a few faint voices opposed the no confidence vote on the floor.
Why Simpson continues headstrong into the winds of opposition remains a mystery. As Simpson marches forward, it has become clear he doesn’t care what his constituents, party faithful or Idaho State leaders think of his risky plan. While Simpson is tone deaf to all these folks, he does care what liberal Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, thinks. Brown, who supports Simpson’s plan, presides over a state so liberal that Oregon leftists want to ban raising all livestock.
Congressional Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington recently discovered through a FOIA request in-depth coordination between Simpson and Governor Brown. Newhouse and Rodgers claim while Simpson has preached transparency for what Simpson has minimized as only a “legislative concept,” he has engaged Governor Brown extensively with hundreds of pages of communications with dozens of references to keeping the discussions under wraps and out of the public eye.
Newhouse and Rodgers claim, “it’s clear this proposal is not just a starting point, but rather a radical and fully-baked plan he is actively seeking to put into law.” Newhouse and Rodgers are asking, “why is he building his plan around the governor of Oregon’s perspective—not his own state’s? And why do so behind closed doors?”
Whatever his motivations, Simpson has said he hopes to include the $33.5 billion his proposal calls for in an infrastructure bill that congressional democrats will soon sponsor. This means Simpson likely will join democrats again to push their liberal agenda forward while his constituents are left trying to interpret the irony created by the man who every election cycle runs as a “conservative republican.”
Bryan Smith serves as the fourth vice chair of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee.