tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
record offered by mr. hodes of new hampshire. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 552, the gentleman from new hampshire and a member opposed will each control five minutes, the chair recognizes the gentleman from new hampshire. mr. hodes: mr. speaker, i rise in support of the amendment i have offered, amendment number 98. i begin by congratulating the chair mollohan and raverpbinging member on all of their important work on this important legislation and i thank the rules committee for making this amendment in order. mr. speaker, currently once taxpayer dollars have been appropriated by congress to grant accounts, there is no accountability required of those funds. my amendment would fix this problem and make sure the taxpayer dollars are accounted for after we have appropriated those monies. in an august, 2008, report on grants management, the g.a.o.
recommended that the office of management and budget report annually on expired, undispursed grant accounts but unfortunately no action has been taken on this recommendation and taxpayer dollars are siting unused in these accounts. my amendment is similar to what was required in the american recovery and reinvestment act. my amendment ensures there is clear oversight of taxpayer dollars. the amendment requires oversight and accountability of expired, undispursed grant accounts. the amendment would instruct all executive departments and independent agencies to track undispursed balances in expired grant accounts and report the results to the office of management and budget. this will help lower the management -- the national deficit because my amendment also requires the reports to identify which accounts could be
returned to the united states treasury. now, the group citizens against government waste has advocated similar policies. most recently they advocated rescinding funds earmarked by congress for the federal transit administration that remain unobligated after three years. with so many families struggling in this tough economy, we must invest wisely to help our constituents and be vigilant with taxpayer dollars. we need to ensure there is strong oversight and accountability once taxpayer dollars are appropriated. this amendment is a critical step in keeping track of our dollars once they've gone out the door. i urm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this fiscally responsible amendment. thank you and i yield back. i will yield. mr. mollohan: i thank the gentleman for his contribution to the bill. it's a real one and we are pleased to accept the amendment. mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman from
new hampshire. mr. hodes: thank you understand i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. is there a member in opposition? with no member in opposition, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new hampshire. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the gentleman from indiana. the gentleman from texas. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new hampshire will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 63 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. nunes of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 552, the gentleman from california, and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the gentleman from california. mr. nunes: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, today it's been 628 days since me and many of my
colleagues requested for this congress to take action to avoid collapse of civil society in the san joaquin valley. only three months ago i again warned congress that an economic catastrophe was looming. the leadership of this congress did absolutely nothing. the result, 40,000 workers laid off, unemployment nearing 20%, with some valley communities nearing 50%. this is the direct result of this government's action to protect a three-inch mineau. the situation has now been compounded by a recent obama administration action that now blames cities and farms in california for the plight of the killer whale. this is absolutely absurd. what is wrong with this government? we are starving people to save the killer whale now. this highly controversial opinion was rushed into print by
the obama administration without public comment or debate. this is a clear violation of the endangered species act and has since been challenged in court. nevertheless, the obama administration, just like the captain of the titanic, declared full steam ahead and mandated further reductions in california's water supply. this has caused water shortage to spread to los angeles and even to san diego. the democrat congress is directly responsible. you were warned, you failed to act and now this congress must accept the responsibility for their actions. a government that cannot provide water is a government that has failed. throughout history dictators like zimbabwe's mugabe have used water as a weapon to starve their enemies of water. but what we've never seen in history is the democracy starving its own people of water.
mr. speaker, my constituents are not enemies of the state. quite honestly, offering this amendment today is the worst of all options. but because of the actions of this democrat majority, i have in -- i had no other choice. they have refused to allow debate on this issue or even a vote on a bill that would end this crisis for good. this amendment is a small step in a long process that must be made to build a case that this congress has failed its constitutional duties to provide for the general welfare of its citizens. and, mr. speaker, unfortunately this is a bipartisan amendment, i would urge support of this amendment. my colleagues, mr. cardoza and mr. costa, have been very helpful in drafting this amendment. so i hope that the congress will adopt and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from west virginia, for what purpose does do you rise? mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, i
rise to claim the time in opposition while i may not be in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes, without objection. mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. costa. mr. costa: thank you very much, mr. chairman. i rise to speak in favor of congressman nunes' amendment. my district is at ground zero where the drought is having its most severe affect in california. the biological opinion in question asks for modifications to the central valley and state water projects that would divert even more water froming a culture communities in the san joaquin valley. we believe with the modeling that this adds another 330-acre feet to more than 300 million acre feet of water that has already been reallocated over the last 20 years. there are substantial biological assessments that have been performed of the delta. unfortunately this opinion has confirmed that these opinions
have been cited, the assessments have been made but they were not taken into account in this biological opinion. therefore we believe the flawed. there are other factors that contribute to the decline of the fiduciaries and the deltas which we must change, which we must correct. treatment from sewage facilities. nonpoint source pollution that has quadrupled as a result of urban areas in the area and in basic species. bottom line, this biological opinion is flawed and we ask that we finally stop this nonsense and come together. when will this stop? when our valley has no more water left for its farmers and farm workers? i strongly support congressman nunes' amendment. i ask that we come together in bipartisan sense. this is not a republican or a democratic issue, it's an issue that we must solve and we must do it now. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from
west virginia controls the time. mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. miller. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. miller: i thank the chairman for yielding and i would hope that members would oppose this amendment. this amendment makes nothing better. i appreciate the frustration of my friends who live in the valley and undergo very serious economic timeless. but the fact of the matter, to suggest now to throw though biological opinion makes nothing better. now we have a situation where the bureau of reclamation is trying to deal with these problems, would lose its consultive agency and as a result of that they could not go forward with another biological opinion which you may or may not want but what we would be is stymied in the ability as was suggested in this opinion and by the court, the ability to look for other mechanisms that we can use instead of just turning to the idea that you're going to reduce the pumping. but that goes out the door now because will you not have the scientific credibility enabling the bureau to go forward so the bureau will fumble around number
now for a number of months, trying to figure out how to handle this and for legal reasons they're going to have to go back to the marine fisheries and marine fisheries are going to tell them congress barred them from consultation, the consultations will not take place and as a result of that we will have lost a year, 18 months, two years, whatever time it takes. instead of going forward on this biological opinion which allowed for some additional alternatives, some additional investigations within the delta and elsewhere in this system. this builds toen a whole series of reports that have come out by the past administration's office of budget management, saying that the failure here is not to look at this, if the water system, the c.v.p., on a systemwide basis. we keep chopping up in little inkments. we chop it up based upon the valley, based upon the south, based upon the north, based upon the delta. we thought we would have the opportunity with good science to start to evercome that and to broaden this discussion. but this amendment will collapse it all back again, will also
start over again and will waste a lot of time and the problems in central valley will get worse for agriculture, they'll get worse for the economy, they'll get worse in southern california, they'll get worse in the delta and we'll have more endangered species lawsuits and we'll have more complications and we'll accomplish nothing. it's bold in its approach. it's destructive in its results. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. mollohan: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from west virginia. the gentleman from california. the gentleman from west virginia has one minute remaining. he reserves it. the gentleman from california has two minutes remaining. mr. nunes: mr. speaker, excuses, excuses, excuses. this is what we've had my entire career in congress, more and more excuses. and i appreciate the gentleman that spent three decaded in this body -- seconds in this body
systemly destroying the valley's economy. to hide behind the courts, to behind behind the obama administration, that may sound good to the gentleman from california, but the reality of it is, there are people living in their cars, people don't have food. food banks are out of food. workers are trying to have work, farmers are going bankrupt because of the actions that mr. miller has spent his entire career taking. it's ok, it's ok to value fish. that's ok. but understand that you're starving families while you value the fish. it's unfortunate. mr. speaker, i appreciate my colleague's support of this amendment and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves his time. the gentleman from west virginia.
mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, i yield one minute to the gentleman from california, mr. thompson. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: mr. speaker and members, i understand the frustration of my friends from the valley on this issue. i've been living it in my district. the last administration devastated the fishing families of the north coast. we haven't had a fishing season up there in years. again this year it's closed. and it's all because science was put aside in favor of politics. finally we have science coming in, science should be allowed to be considered and as one of the previous speakers, mr. miller, had mentioned, this amendment does absolutely the wrong thing. not only does it take science off the table again, which led us in part to this problem, and put these rivers -- the courts in control of these rivers, but it also limits our opportunities to address the overall problem. without the federal agencies at the table being able to bring different options to solve this
problem, not only for the valley families but for the coastal families as well, we're limited and the not going to bring any answers forward. this is a mistake to pass this amendment. it won't solve the problem, it will just exacerbate the situation. thank you. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. nunes: thank you, mr. speaker. how much time do i have remaining? the chair: the gentleman has one minute remaining. mr. nunes: and how about the other side? the chair: the time has expired for the other side. mr. nunes: mr. speaker, i appreciate my other friend from california. but the facts are that it's absurd to think that pumping some water out of a delta are killing killer whales and that's with this biological opinion. when the government gets to blaming killer whales for problem, the government has bigger problems than just this little amendment. when you look at the fisheries in california that have been destroyed, the fishing industry was run out of san diego a long
time ago. there used to be portuguese american fishermen that had -- that controlled the tuna industry in san diego. the democrats ran them now the the 1970's and 1980's, so to blame mao that somehow little minnows and pumping water to allow people to work are now ending all the -- destroying all the fish and killer whales in the ocean is absurd. we have starving people in the valley. when is this congress going to act? this has been going on for two years. how much long her 40,000 people enough people out of work? do we need 80,000 people out of work? how many more people must starve because of the inaction by this body? that's what i want to know. thank you, mr. speaker. the chair: the gentleman from
west virginia does have 15 seconds remaining. the other side can get 15 seconds by unanimous consent. mr. mollohan: i yield my 15 seconds to the gentleman, mr. new necessary if he wants it. the chair: the gentleman can get 15 seconds by unanimous consent. >> i think it's time for common sense to prevail. i've lost 30,000 jobs in my district as a result of this drought and we may lose generations of farmers. we need a california solution that's aside from the partisan differences and bring back water for all regions of california. we're fighting for farmers and farmworkers, i ask common sense to prevail. the chair: the gentleman from california is recognized for 15 seconds. mr. nunes: i wish mr. costa was the speaker, not the current
leadership because it's the current leadership destroying the economy of the valley, not mr. costa and mr. cardoza, who are trying to deal with this problem and bring attention to the problem. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by mr. nunes. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. >> mr. speaker, i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: the amendment is agreed to. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment from california will be postponed. a recorded vote has been requested. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> the issue which my colleagues from california hav brought up is extraordinarily important. i would like at this time if i could to yield to the gentleman
from california. mr. nunes: i thank the gentleman from texas for giving more time to this amendment. as you know, this amendment was -- we had to go to the rules committee last night to try to get the amendment to be made in order. we had many colleagues who weren't allowed to offer amendments. we've completely -- the republicans have completely been shut out of the process. and i don't know how we're supposed to come to common sense resolutions to the problems in this country if we don't even have time to debate the issues. my friend mr. cardoza wanted time to come out and debate the issues. i -- my friend mr. costa had to fight with his leadership to have time to come out and debate the issues. what's wrong with the leadership over there? how long are you going to let these people starve? how long? two years? it's two years now since we
asked. the pumps in california have to run and sooner or later your colleagues in los angeles whether they like it or not, the democrats in los angeles who have refused to do anything, their water rates are going up. they're running out of water. san diego's water rates are up 40% this year. so you can run but you can't hide. this isn't going away. i would encourage the leadership of this body to get some people with common sense in control of this body. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from texas controls the time. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> we have looked at what's happened in detroit and other parts of this country and we have been directed to offer a solution in a short period of time. the gentleman from the central valley has a situation that is every bit as dire. in fact, it is worse in terms
of the unemployment rates in the communities that he serves. we are destroying those communities at the present time. and the life blood of agriculture in those communities that have stood for well over 100 years is being irrep rahably harmed. and the gentleman's amendment, though it may not be called the best solution, as he suggested, is the only thing he's been given an opportunity to present in this body. and he has waited every year that he has been here to try and solve this problem and yet there has been a failure for us to solve this problem. i don't know how we can stand here and say to the gentleman, just wait. just wait. as he has percentages of unemployment that would shake the rest of this country. when he has people whose livelihoods and whose families' livelihoods are being destroyed on a daily basis he has heard nothing but silence, silence in
this house and from this administration. i would hope that we could support his amendment. it may not be the perfect amendment, i agree. but it's the only thing he has been given an opportunity to bring to this floor and maybe it will begin an awareness in this house and this administration that you can't throw away a part of the central valley of california and say, thee are disposable people. these are disposable families. these are disposable farms. the chair: the gentleman from texas. >> how much time do i have remaining, mr. chairman? the chair: the gentleman has two minutes and 15 seconds. >> i yield to the gentleman from california for such time as he may consume. mr. nunes: my friend from california, mr. lungren, is exactly correct. this is all we can do. the democrats -- the democrat
majority, you're correct this isn't a solution to the problem, but it's all we can do. maybe we can have a unanimous consent agreement tonight, i have a bill ready to go, we can vote on it tonight, we can get the pumps back on and let people get back to work and provide for their families. mr. speaker, a guy in a food line not long ago told the national media he didn't want to be in the food line, he only wanted a job to provide for his family. the democrats control congress. the democrats control the white house. how much longer does a guy have to wait to feed his family? how many more jobs must we lose? how many? i want to know, how many jobs should we lose?
is 40,000 jobs in the san joaquin valley not enough? should we go to 80,000 jobs? 150,000 jobs? should we put a million acres out of production? you guys are in control. why don't you tell us how many acres you want out of production tonight so we can end the misery. tell the people look, you've got to move out of the valley. they can move to the bay area. maybe there'll be work for them. maybe they'll get green jobs, i don't know. right now we have half a million acres out of production. how many more acres will we put out of production. how many more people will starve because of the inaction of the democrats in this body. how many more? that's all i want to know. i'll yield if anyone wants to answer me how many jobs we're going to lose. the chair: the gentleman from texas controls the time. mr. nunes: looks like we won't get an answer once again, mr. speaker. but i want to thank my democrat colleagues, mr. cardoza and mr.
costa for supporting this amendment. i know it's been hard for them, i appreciate their friendship and work on this issue. i want to thank the republican leadership in this body for supporting this amendment. i yield back to the gentleman. the chair: the time of the gentleman from texas has expired. members are reminded to please address their remarks to the chair. for what purpose does the gentleman from west virginia rise? mr. mollohan: strike the reck sith number of words. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. mollohan: i yield to the gentleman from california. mr. miller: we're here in this situation because a court ruled after the last administration trampled through the fish and wildlife service, national marine ocean service and altered scientific findings, study, and opinions that we could no longer conduct the business of the central valley project. i didn't see my friends on the other side of the aisle raise one objection at the time those actions were taking place.
at the time that criminal behavior was taking place. i didn't see them raise one objection when the morn rivers were destroyed and fishery seasons have been closed for years and families have lost their businesses, lost their livelihood, whether they were going to see the fish or there were small businesses on the north coast or small businesses on the oregon border and those political decisions were made, and they devastated the salmon runs, i didn't see that happen. we've seen now as the environment has deteriorated in the san francisco delta and bay area, small businesses have closed up, people have lost their livelihoods and yes it's very intense in the central valley. but i don't see some of my colleagues on the other side who represent areas that have 100% of thr water. i will not yield at this time. that have 100% of the water smosm valley farm verse 70% of this allocation in this drought year. to blame this somehow on this
moment this administration that's been in office for five months, six months, when in fact for eight years there was a design to exploit this system by opening up the pumps, devastate the system, and now those chickens have come home to roost and those illegalities have been found out. the court has asked for direction, this administration put together a biological opinion, it was peer revufed -- peer-reviewed, they offered that up as to the begin a discussion of how to solve some of these problems south of the delta and north of the delta. that will be thrown into chaos if this amendment succeeds to become law. we won't have those fool tools available to us. we go to another year, there may be drought we won't have a system-wide approach to dealing with that to help the families in the central valley and southern california and northern california. these are all the same families. these are all the same people looking for work and looking for jobs.
the fact of the matter is, you devastate this water system they all pay the price system of now we're trying to recover from eight years of mismanagement, from eight years of illegal activity, from eight years of throwing science out the door, and now we're left with that wreck aling, -- wreckage. there's a lot of cleanup to do after the bush administration and this is one of those projects this project has to be rehabilitated, it has to be brought together so the central valley project can serve its clients and serve the needs of the whole state of california, not just one part of the state of california. if it doesn't happen that way, it's not going to work politically, it's not going to work environmentally, it's not going to work scientifically and it's not going to work economically. we've just been telethrough eight years where people tried to segment this state-wide project into little bit of pieces for their advantages and if they have -- if they had enough politics on their side they took that advantage whether it was supported by the law or not. and this is the carnage that --
that has been left behind because we missed eight years of opportunity to rebuild this system so it could serve the needs for which it was designed. that's the tragedy of what has taken place hear. that's the tragedy we're trying to overcome. that's the tragedy that will be compounded by the nunes amendment if it's adopted because it will set all of us back many, many months, if not year, in this effort to rebuild the central valley project of california so it can meet the demands put upon it. mr. mollohan: i stand to yield three minutes to the gentleman from california -- the chair: the gentleman may not yield blocks of time he has one minute remaining. the gentleman had five minutes under the five minute rule. he may not yield specific blocks of time. he yielded to mr. miller who used four minutes. one minute is remaining for the
gentleman from west virginia. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding this should not be about choosing one job or one person's job over the job of another person. as i mentioned earlier, many, many fishing families on the north coast of california and oregon have been displaced. we have lost boats, lost businesses, lost fortunes, lost opportunities and all because the science was scrapped, the last administration pushed forward a water policy that was illegal, that didn't pay any attention to anything other than politics. in the -- in the river in my district that water policy brought us 80,000 dead spawning salmon. it absolutely closed the fishing season on the north coast, it's closed again this year. it's closed on the oregon coast. and it's all because politics was put ahead of science. you can't do business that way. the only way to fix this is to bring all of the agencies