U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, enjoys being home.
However, on Wednesday he told those at the Bingham Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) business symposium, "we shouldn't be home. Congress should be in session. The American people would be better served."
Simpson said the nation is facing an economic cliff in part because, "both sides really are unwilling to make the tough decisions before the election."
That economic cliff that looms on Jan. 1, 2013, will certainly affect this area.
"The INL is an economic driver for Southeast Idaho," Simpson said. "I suspect you'll see some restructuring of the workforces (there if that cliffâ€”called sequestrationâ€”takes place.
Sequestration would force deep cuts in all federal programs.
"I'm optimistic that there's enough Republicans and Democrats that know you can't put this off," he continued. He said he expects a six-month deal among the legislators to give the new Congress time to try to resolve the issue.
"One thing business counts on is certainty, but there is so much uncertainty right now," Simpson said. "We've faced tougher problems but we've done it in a bipartisan way."
BECD consultant Roger Chase noted that the communities of Southeast Idaho compete with one another for new businesses, but ultimately work together for the betterment of all.
"When we combine our efforts we have a team that's successful," Chase said.
He noted that prospective business owners have made more site visits to the county than ever before. And, he added, the BEDC has raised more money from the private sector to help the organization do its work.
Both Tracy Steel of TLC Creature Comforts and David Porter of Porterhouse, Inc., praised the role BEDC had in enticing them to locate their businesses here.
Although the number of new jobs they bring is small, Blackfoot mayor Mike Virtue noted they provide work for that number of people and help them stay in our communities.
Porter and Steele said they appreciated the role Chase and the late Butch Hulse played in getting them together with the people they needed to know to facilitate their moves to the county.
"Making contacts where it's not a cold call is a real plus," Porter said.
Porter moved his business from Idaho Falls to Shelley. Steele brought hers from Wyoming to Blackfoot.