tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
historyic funding and have an impact on communities in my district, but across the country. this bill keeps its foundation in fiscal responsibility and contains over $320 million in program terminations for programs that don't work, reductions and other savings for the fiscal year 2009 level and over $300 million from the budget request. included in this amount is $142 million rescission from e.p.a. stag account funds. based upon a report of unliquidated olingses and reductions from a number of requested increases for e.p.a. administrative functions. this bill terminates $28 million in federal aid in wildlife restoration program due to concerns about implementation of this program. our natural environment plays a critical role in the quality of our lives, not only in my district, but across the country and this bill will continue the proud tradition of federal
stewardship of our public lands. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado reserves his time. the the gentlewoman from north carolina is recognized. . ms. foxx: i yield myself 3 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. foxx: like the gentleman from colorado, i am bless to live where i live in i think the most blessed area of the country. but the interior appropriations act that most of my colleague on both sides of the aisle have being denied the ability to offer amendments to is filled with wasteful spending. the bill siths a 17% overall increase from last year's bill and most programs are increased not only above the 2009 levels but also above the levels the president requested.
this does not reflect the hard economic time ours country and our constituents are experiencing right now and is instead spending borrowed money we do not have. this bill contains an astounding 38% increase in funding for the environmental protection agency. when combined with stimulus funding approved earl ywrer this congress which i did not support, the e.p.a. will receive more than $25 billion in a single calendar year, more than 3/4 of the entire appropriations act we have before us. this kind of excessive spending does not reflect but mocks the economic challenge ours constituents are experiencing. the money speaker pelosi and the obama administration want to spend today is all borrowed money. we do not have this money. our constituents do not have this money. the federal government does not have this money. the democrat lead verse made the irresponsible decision to borrow in order to spend it at their whim. this bill will increase the
deficit by borrowing and spending money we don't have. we can no longer blame the deficit and economic difficulties today on the previous administration because the democrat leaders are continuing to dig america into a bigger and bigger hole. this borrowed money is all being spent by speaker pelosi and the unemployment -- and the obama administration. as a result, the unemployment rate continues to rise and the deficit continues to rise also. this bill contains also several hundred earmarks. the earmark system is flawed. we know that even some of the earmarks in this bill have had questions raised about them. this legislation contains several giveaways for and preferential treatment to green countries to promote the green climate this bill applies davis-bacon that will create wasteful spending we do not
need to have. i urge my colleagues to vote against this rule in order to allow this body to appropriately and adequately offer their ideas and engage in the debate our constituents ke everybody -- deserve. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: this bill has several cuts in several areas, showing strong fiscal discipline in this difficult environment. i would agree with the gentlelady that we need to assure we return to fiscal responsibility and balance our budget, and certainly preserving our national heritage is an important part of long-term fiscal responsibility. i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, i'm proud to stand here in support of this rule and the underlying legislation.
this interior appropriations bill is a bill that respects our environment. i'd especially like to thank chairman dicks for his leadership and i'd also like to thank him for my amendment to increase funding for the atlanta assistance stateside assistance program. the state assistance program is one of the most successful federal-state-local partnership programs in the history of the department of the interior. the lwbc program assists communities in creating new public parks, preserving open spaces and creating jobs. the states, cities, counties, and towns that apply for and accept funding from the lwcf state assistance grant program agree to match the federal investment on a dollar for dollar basis and often match significantly more than the federal share. since its inception, it has
provided fund for over 41,000 state and local projects in 91% of all u.s. counties. there's not a congressional district that has not been impacted in a positive way by a project. having said that, madam speaker, i want to rise in strong opposition to an amendment that will be offered by my colleague from utah, mr. chaffetz, later on today, which would eliminate the lwcf stateside assistance program. madam speaker, as i have already stated, the lwcf stateside assistance program has supported projects in 98% of all united states counties, including the counties included in the state of utah and the district of my friend offering this amendment. this program serves a vital national need which helps fulfill conservation efforts while promoting healthy living for all americans. lwcf funding providse critical funding to protect and enhance our parks, protect our wildlife
and retain the quality of our conservation spaces. i want to thank chairman dicks for working with me on this issue and i want to -- i look forward to continuing efforts on behalf of the lwcf stateside assistance program. i urge my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: i would now like to yield five minutes to my colleague from idaho, mr. simpson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. simpson: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i come to this side of the well because i fear the distance between us has grown so great we can no longer hear each other from the chasm that divides us. it's time to stop talking at each other and start listening to one another. when i first read this rule, i wasn't so much angry as i was deeply saddened.
i was saddened by what we have allowed this institution to deinvolve into. little more than a third world dictatorship. and we are all to blame because we have all allowed this to happen. we can point fingers at one another add nazz yam, claiming we did this to you, you did that to us, etc., etc. unfortunately, pointing fingers has never solved a problem. i was also saddened because the rules committee had it within their grasp, within their power, to pull us back from this precipice that we find ourselves on. but they chose not to. they took a pass. as i said at the rules committee hearing last night, history is replete with people who found an excuse to do the wrong thing. it takes a little courage to do the right thing. it's time for us to stand up and show the courage to do the right thing, not as democrats, not as republicans, but as
members of congress. it's time to restore this house to the time-honored traditions of open debate, which we inherited from those who came before us when members had the right and ability to retcht their constituents. i find it ironic that around the world, people hope for, pray for, even die for the simple right to have their voices heard. they look to us, not because they want to be americans, but because they want for themselves what we have. or at least what we had. the right to be heard. yet here in this penthouse of democracy, we are going exactly the opposite direction by trying to silence all opposition. we all know this rule is wrong. we all know it damages this institution. i know in my thert that mr. hoyer, the majority leader, know this is rule is wrong.
i know in my heart that mr. obey, the chairman of the appropriations committee, know this is rule is wrong. i know that ms. slaughter, the chairwoman of the rules committee, knows this rule is wrong. yet here we are, all in the name of expediency. silencing the voices of americans who elected us to congress to speak on their behalf. we are sacrificing what is right to just get the job done. there will come a time when republicans will once again become the majority party. we don't know when that will be might be two years, might be 10 years, might be 20 years. but it will happen. we all know that i will tell you that members of my party will want to use the actions today, your rules, as a precedent. a precedent to shut out, shut you out of the process a precedent to silence your voices, a precedent to deny your ability to represent your constituents, a precedent to take the easy road instead of doing the hard work of
democracy. i want you to know here today that i won't be part of using this precedent against you. i'll stand up for your rights as a minority when you find yourselves in the minority. it's the very heart of democracy. i'll do it because i care more about the integrity of this institution than i do about sticking to an arbitrary schedule scratched out on some piece of paper. i fear -- i truly fear -- that you know not the damage that you do to this institution with these rules. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: thank you, madam speaker this proposed rule makes in order 12 republican amendments and indeed only one democratic amendment. a manager's amendment, which includes two democratic amendments. i think it is fair to both
parties included in the allowed amendments are five earmark amendments. i would like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from west virginia, mr. rahall. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. rahall: i thank the gentleman for yielding me the time. as chairman of the committee on natural resources, i do rise today to express my strong support for the fiscal year 2010 appropriation bill for the interior environment and related agencies. for many years, many programs in the department of interior were severely underfunded, leaving us with a legacy of tired visitor facilities and a backlog of needs for many natural resource programs. the legislation before us funds the most important programs earnedly years of starved budgets. i'm supportive of the funding increases for public lands. i do wish to commend the subcommittee on appropriations chairman, my classmate, norm dicks, and the ranking member,
mr. simpson for the work they but in -- put in on those legislation. they have put in legislation for wildlife prevention and suppression. it provides money for the park service to ensure that park visitors experience the national parks in their full glory. i'm also pleased to see an increase in funding for the land and water conservation fund. further, i appreciate the spending items for indian country. through treaties entered into many years ago, the united states has a trust responsibility and moral obligation to provide for our native americans. the needs of indian country could never be addressed by a one-year spending bill. however, we are making progression. these -- progress. these funding levels show our commitment to meet our legal and moral obligations to native americans. from the standpoint of our
natural resource the preservation of our heritage and keeping faith with indian country, this is a very good bill. i urge my colleagues to support it. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. i now yield three minutes to our distinguished colleague from utah, mr. bishop. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. bishop: i need to stand and con gradge late the rules committee for all the hard work they're doing creating precedent around here. until last year, the ability to limit speaking rights and amendments was always done by unanimous consent agreement. so the rules committee must indeed be working overtime to establish which issues will never be discuss offend this floor. then the ranking member of the resource subcommittee committee, the ranking me of two -- member of two subcommittees can go 0-9 in proposed amendments, it must be part of the effort on the part of the rules committee to guard free speech on this floor, as long as it's an issue they
believe should be discussed. we're not debating just dollars here, we are debating national security because dollars have meaning. there was one amendment i proposed that dealt with border security and border guards. right now, our border security is concentrating on urban areas, and it's working, but it funnels the ill lyle immigration problems through other areas. the foot traffic is destroying wilderness areas. eight major wildfires were established the bithe foot traffic on the area. the goldwater training range was shut down because of illegal immigrants trespassing on the land. some of those areas are controlled by drug cartels, some are stouget violence. one problem we have we face is the border patrol has to pay money to the interior department to have access to
lands. the border patrol was threatened with lawsuits and arrested for attempting to enter a wilderness area and try to pick up a wounded victim. all those issues should be addressed in this particular area. this device which i have right here is one of the listening devices that the border patrol needs to communicate past each other. it is placed in jeopardy simply because the department of interior now wants it to have limitations. a threat of a lawsuit by an environmental group indicated that the memorandum of understanding has to be used to put restrictions on this even the it's important and environmental assessment says this has no impact, it's temporary, mobile, doesn't leave a footprint. if any of these areas were created as wilderness, this would have to be by the memo of understanding moved. .
the illegals who cut this cactus, stopped a passenger, rob and beat him and leave him on the scene. the irony is if the border patrol were to try to move this, this violates the endangerered species act. now those are the issues that are at hand. those are the issues that should be discussed. those are the issues that are important to america. and those are the issues the rules committee decided are not worthy of being discussed on this floor. good job. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: i would like to yield three minutes to the the gentleman from washington, the chair of the subcommittee whose hard work brings us this bill here today, mr. dicks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. dicks: we appreciate you yielding time. and i just want to say to my colleagues that i believe this is an extraordinarily good bill.
mr. simpson and i worked together on a bipartisan basis to craft this legislation. our staffs worked together very effectively. and we had an open process, an open subcommittee markup where any member could have offered any amendment that they wanted. we had a full committee markup where any member of the appropriations committee could have offered an amendment, either side of the aisle. and many were offered. and i just want you to know that i understand mr. simpson's statement here. he feels badly that we don't have an open rule. i would have preferred an open rule. but, when we took control of the house, all of a sudden, we had an extension of time on these bills. and i can remember the last year i was the ranking member, mr. taylor was the chairman. i think we went about eight
hours. the next year when i became chairman, it was over 20 hours. it was an exhaustive process. and i just think we have to remember that we've got to get past these 12 bills. the greatest sin in my judgment is not to do our work. and there are some people in this house who don't want to see the work get done, because then they can point the finger of failure at the majority. and i have to support my leadership, because they have offered the hand -- they went over and talked to mr. boehner. they talked to mr. lewis, who's here on the floor. and they said, we would like to work out an agreement on these bills, how we can proceed. and they were rebuffed. and so we started out and we found that there was -- in the first bill, a huge number of
amendments, going to be a long-term delay of getting the work done. and so we had no choice but to go to the rules committee and get a structured rule. and i would have preferred we had an open rule. but i support what our leadership has done. and i think until the leadership gets together and works out a different way, we will be doing it this way. and it takes both sides here to cooperate and to realize that we have to limit the number of amendments, either by an agreement or by a structured rule. now, this is a very good bill. i hope that the dispute about procedure doesn't get in the way of the fact that this is one of the best -- maybe the greatest interior appropriations bill that has ever been enacted. mr. polis: i yield an additional minute to the the gentleman from washington. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. dicks: over the last eight
years, between 2001 and 2008 during the previous administration, the budget for the interior department was cut by 16%. the budget for the e.p.a. was cut by 29% and the budget for the forest service who take fires out, was cut by 35%. these were huge cuts in these programs. the park service was in trouble. the fish and wildlife service was in trouble. we had to step in. and we did this on a bipartisan basis. in fact, when i was in the minority, mr. taylor and i, mr. regula and i worked to try to increase the funding for the park service so we wouldn't see it dweteryate. and now we have a -- deteriorate . we have huge backlog of work to be done at the fish and wildlife service, b.l.m.
even with the bigger budget, we don't have enough money to take care of all the issues we need to address. this is a good bill that deserves our support. and this rule deserves support. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: i think it's important to point out to the american people that there are only 60 members on the appropriations committee, which means only 60 out of 435 members in this body had the opportunity to amend the bill that's under consideration here. if we had an open rule, every member would have had that opportunity. i'd also like to say that my colleague from colorado said only one democrat amendment was accepted and 12 republican amendments. but that reinforces the point that even members of his own party were turned away from offering amendments, and that isn't right. madam speaker, i would like to yield two minutes to a
distinguished colleague from california, mr. nunes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. nunes: 636 days and counting, this is the number of days that have past since i asked the democrats to take direct action and avoid destruction of the san joaquin valley. instead, 636 days of inaction. 636 days of a manmade drought, a california dust bowl. last week, there was a close vote. apparently, took for the democrat -- too close for the democrat leadership. it would have stopped the obama administration from taking additional measures to starve the people of the san joaquin valley of water. we will not risk the possibility of defeat again. no mistakes this time. no vote will be allowed on the vote this week on my amendment to the interior bill. the hypocrisy of this situation is that the democrat majority
champions working families. but in reality, it's just backing the radical environmental element in this country. for the san joaquin valley, the democrats in this house have chosen three-inch minnows over working families. what we are witnessing is the greatest assembly in the history of the world starving its citizens of water, who tortures the innocent just to stay in power. make no mistake, raw power is what we're witnessing, power that injuries and wounds, exercised at the highest level of this government, straight from the obama white house and the democrat leadership in this congress. they will say anything and do anything to keep power. their victims are my constituents, the people of the san joaquin valley, who have done nothing to deserve this
cruelty at the hands of this government. the clock is ticking. there is very little time left. this congress must act and act now. at this moment, madam speaker, members of this body are at the white house having a luau. and in the meantime, there's 40,000 people without jobs in the san joaquin valley because of the inaction by the democrats in this congress. come back, stop the luau, stop the partying and come back and vote no on this rule and allow amendment on this bill to bring people to the san joaquin valley. come back. stop the partying. come back now. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: thank you, madam speaker. to address the gentleman from california, in a previous discussion at the rules
committee, we talked about the fact that the secretary of the interior, secretary salazar has agreed to visit san joaquin valley and learn more about the situation firsthand to address the very legitimate concern that the gentleman from california has raised. as a fellow from colorado, i can attest to the savy ability of our former senator, former attorney general, former water lawyer, one of the most knowledgeable minds and best minds that we have in the area of water law, water rights and water. and i know that our the gentleman from california shares our desire to address the legitimate issue raised by his constituents and i have ever degree of confidence that the secretary will play a constructive role in doing that. the health of our communities is our most prosheous resource. this bill provides a historic and much needed investment in the environmental protection agency, $108.5 billion, a large
portion of which will improve our water and waste water infrastructure. i understand the vast challenges we face with water. establishing a water infrastructure that promotes conservation is of incredible importance for regions that will only see their water resources become fewer and further between as demands grow. in colorado, we rely on clean water, not just from municipal and agricultural use. many of our communities supported by tourists from across the country who flock to our rivers. and in doing so, our key driver of the success of our economy. our environment communities, industries and businesses all stand to gain under the water provisions of this bill. without significant infrastructure investment and improvement, our water quality could be further compromised, endangering the future health and economic viability of our communities nationwide. building upon the job creation and stimulus of the american recovery and reinvestment act,
this bill will provide loans and assistance to more than 1,500 communities across this country and will create as many as 40,000 new construction jobs to help getting our economy going again. moreover, wildfire season has grown in the last decade and just beginning in colorado and across the west. the costs of fighting fires has continued to increase. the house recently passed the flame act and i hope the senate will move quickly to do the same. the communities in my district are growing increasingly worried about another fire season that has the potential to be very dangerous to both property and to people. we have been hit hard, as have been many communities across our country by the mountain pine beelt epidemic. hard-hit counts like grand and summit county have hade their trees poled across the district, turning the district into a
potential powder keg and bringing the threat of wildfire to our back yards. this outbreak has spread and is devastating the mountain west. there is a strong correlation between previous outbreaks of mountain beetle and coming upon the 10-year time frame where the risk of forest fires is at its maximum. this bill is of particular note to my state of colorado. the good neighbor authority is protecting communities from wildfire threats with both collaboration at the state and federal level. collaboration is key. there is a large change in the frequency of participation and intensity of drought, which will add to our wildfire risks. this bill provides a significant increase for programs that address wildfire mitigation and subpoena presentation at the forest service and the department of interior and that will aid our communities that are most at risk.
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