4:20 PM EDT

Kenny Hulshof, R-MO 9th

Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Chairman, let me commence by also commending the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee and add my kudos to those that have been mentioned previously and wish him well as he begins his next chapter.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment to increase the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' general investigations account by $2 million. Funding for this amendment would be offset by a $2 million decrease in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' general expense account.

The intent of this amendment is to provide the Corps with adequate funding to begin its initial study of the Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan.

Now, Mr. Chairman, many Members who served this body back in 1993 and through 1995 remember the great flood, as we called it in the Midwest. The great flood of 1993 took 47 lives, left roughly 74,000 individuals homeless, and caused between $15 billion and $20 billion in damages. While existing flood control measures at the time did prevent nearly $19 billion in potential [Page: H5225]

damages along the Upper Mississippi River Basin, an integrated flood control policy

could have prevented further loss of life and property.

The Upper Mississippi and Illinois River Valleys currently lack a coordinated approach to address navigation, flood control and environmental restoration. I would announce to the Chair that the comprehensive plan was authorized by section 459 of the Water Resources Development Act, otherwise known as WRDA 1999, and it would be the first to focus on developing and implementing a system for integrated river management.

Specifically, the comprehensive plan will call for systemic flood control and flood damage reduction; continued maintenance and improvement of navigation; improved management of nutrients and sediment, including bank erosion; environmental stewardship and increased recreation opportunities in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River Basins.

The plan will be a collaborative effort among three core districts, specifically the St. Paul, Rock Island and Saint Louis Army Corps district offices; other Federal agencies, including the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and of course my home State of Missouri, and a host of other non-Federal organizations. A task force will be created to guide and coordinate development of the plan. The plan will identify future management actions and make recommendations for systemic improvement

of the river basin again to provide multiple benefits.

Mr. Chairman, to comply with House rules, I again want to reiterate that the $2 million increase in the Corps' general investigations account should be used to fund this comprehensive plan. Recognizing that we were not trying to legislate on an appropriations bill, we crafted it such. It is my understanding that within the general investigations account that $2 million for the comprehensive plan should be designated under the Illinois subheading on page 13 of the committee report.

One other point I would like for this body to consider is that WRDA 1999 gave the Army Corps of Engineers 3 years from its enactment to submit a project study on the comprehensive plan, and to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Mr. Chairman, WRDA 1999 was signed into law last August without adopting this amendment, this bipartisan amendment, I might add, cosponsored by my colleague, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS), with support from the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. KIND). Without adopting this amendment, the Corps will not have the financial resources to do as required by law.

To conclude, I do want to remind my colleagues that the comprehensive plan enjoys bipartisan support. This is not the locks and dams study, as some have asked. This is completely offset. I, along with the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), the co-chair of the Mississippi River Caucus, proposed this amendment along with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS).

The Mississippi River Caucus was formed back in 1997 with the expectation that those Members whose districts include and depend on the Mississippi River could work together in a bipartisan manner to help the Corps and those river stakeholders improve the Mississippi River system as a whole. This is exactly what the comprehensive plan would do, and I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.

4:20 PM EDT

Kenny Hulshof, R-MO 9th

Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Chairman, let me commence by also commending the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee and add my kudos to those that have been mentioned previously and wish him well as he begins his next chapter.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment to increase the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' general investigations account by $2 million. Funding for this amendment would be offset by a $2 million decrease in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' general expense account.

The intent of this amendment is to provide the Corps with adequate funding to begin its initial study of the Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan.

Now, Mr. Chairman, many Members who served this body back in 1993 and through 1995 remember the great flood, as we called it in the Midwest. The great flood of 1993 took 47 lives, left roughly 74,000 individuals homeless, and caused between $15 billion and $20 billion in damages. While existing flood control measures at the time did prevent nearly $19 billion in potential [Page: H5225]

damages along the Upper Mississippi River Basin, an integrated flood control policy

could have prevented further loss of life and property.

The Upper Mississippi and Illinois River Valleys currently lack a coordinated approach to address navigation, flood control and environmental restoration. I would announce to the Chair that the comprehensive plan was authorized by section 459 of the Water Resources Development Act, otherwise known as WRDA 1999, and it would be the first to focus on developing and implementing a system for integrated river management.

Specifically, the comprehensive plan will call for systemic flood control and flood damage reduction; continued maintenance and improvement of navigation; improved management of nutrients and sediment, including bank erosion; environmental stewardship and increased recreation opportunities in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River Basins.

The plan will be a collaborative effort among three core districts, specifically the St. Paul, Rock Island and Saint Louis Army Corps district offices; other Federal agencies, including the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and of course my home State of Missouri, and a host of other non-Federal organizations. A task force will be created to guide and coordinate development of the plan. The plan will identify future management actions and make recommendations for systemic improvement

of the river basin again to provide multiple benefits.

Mr. Chairman, to comply with House rules, I again want to reiterate that the $2 million increase in the Corps' general investigations account should be used to fund this comprehensive plan. Recognizing that we were not trying to legislate on an appropriations bill, we crafted it such. It is my understanding that within the general investigations account that $2 million for the comprehensive plan should be designated under the Illinois subheading on page 13 of the committee report.

One other point I would like for this body to consider is that WRDA 1999 gave the Army Corps of Engineers 3 years from its enactment to submit a project study on the comprehensive plan, and to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Mr. Chairman, WRDA 1999 was signed into law last August without adopting this amendment, this bipartisan amendment, I might add, cosponsored by my colleague, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS), with support from the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. KIND). Without adopting this amendment, the Corps will not have the financial resources to do as required by law.

To conclude, I do want to remind my colleagues that the comprehensive plan enjoys bipartisan support. This is not the locks and dams study, as some have asked. This is completely offset. I, along with the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), the co-chair of the Mississippi River Caucus, proposed this amendment along with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS).

The Mississippi River Caucus was formed back in 1997 with the expectation that those Members whose districts include and depend on the Mississippi River could work together in a bipartisan manner to help the Corps and those river stakeholders improve the Mississippi River system as a whole. This is exactly what the comprehensive plan would do, and I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.

4:24 PM EDT

Ron Kind, D-WI 3rd

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Hulshof amendment to the energy and water appropriations bill. The amendment provides $2 million to the Corps of Engineers so they can begin implementation of The Comprehensive Plan for the Upper Mississippi River Basin. This is something that was already authorized in WRDA 1999; but it has received no funding, so the implementation has yet to take place.

The plan calls for the Corps to develop a coordinated basin-wide approach to flood control and flood damage reduction, and as a co-chair of the Upper Mississippi River Task Force, I have consistently worked to develop bipartisan support for Corps plans and projects that take a comprehensive and basin-wide approach and that support the vision of the Mississippi River as a complex, multiple-use resource. The Comprehensive Plan calls for the Corps to investigate the fullest range of flood control

and damage reduction measures, including nonstructural approaches to flood control, management plans to reduce runoff from farm fields and city streets, and habitat restoration programs.

These nontraditional approaches to flood control are particularly beneficial and cost effective. They protect farmers and city dwellers from floods at the same time that they improve water quality and restore the aquatic wetland and floodplain habitats that are so highly valued by fisherman, hunters, and recreationalists. The comprehensive plan embodies an approach to planning that I think should become the norm for the Corps of Engineers in future years.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and to the ranking member, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY), for the work in increasing the funding levels for the Upper Mississippi River Environmental Management Program. The EMP is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Service and five Upper Mississippi River Basin States to

ensure the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River system.

The program widely cited as a model for inner-agency and interstate cooperation is designed to evaluate, restore and enhance riverine and wetland habitat along a 1,200 mile stretch of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

In WRDA 1999, the EMP received permanent reauthorization at an increased funding level of $33.2 million, and while the Upper Mississippi River Task Force had requested $25 million for the EMP for this fiscal year, I recognize that the House's inadequate 302(b) allocations impose considerable restraints on the subcommittee and that the $3 million increase over the administration's request represents a significant, if still insufficient, increase in funding.

Maintaining a proper balance between the economic growth and the environmental protection is essential to maintain the health of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and the communities within its watershed.

Achieving this balance requires the innovative and cooperative efforts of the Federal, State, local interests. The comprehensive plan and the EMP program are core programs that embody this spirit. It is important for this Congress to show our support for programs that will work proactively and cooperatively to reduce flood damage, maintain an appropriate navigation infrastructure, and enhance the environmental qualities of the Mississippi River system for generations to come.

Mr. Chairman, I for too long now have felt that the Mississippi River, America's river, has been the great natural resource cutting right through the heart of our country that has gone neglected as a national priority in this Congress. And working within the task force in a bipartisan fashion, we have been trying to coordinate our efforts between the north and south ends of the river to develop programs and to offer the support and resources we need to protect this very important natural resource.

Why is this important? It is important because it is North America's largest migratory route. It is also the primary drinking source for 22 million Americans, and for the Upper Mississippi region alone it has a $1.6 billion recreation impact as well as a $6.6 billion tourism impact for local communities. In fact, we have more visitors that come every year to visit the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge than who visit the entire Yellowstone National Park system. So this is a very valuable resource

that we need to do, as a body, a better job of providing resources.

The comprehensive plan that my friend, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF), is trying to fund with this amendment is a step in the right direction, along with other efforts that we have taken on the task force to draw more attention to programs that affect the Mississippi River Basin. [Page: H5226]

So I would call upon my colleagues to look at this amendment and support it. I think the offset is something that is reasonable in working with the Corps of Engineers coming out of administrative expenses, and this is a step, a very important step, to developing the comprehensive plan on a basin-wide approach which is long overdue for the Mississippi River.

I thank the gentleman again for offering the amendment.

[Time: 16:30]

4:24 PM EDT

Ron Kind, D-WI 3rd

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Hulshof amendment to the energy and water appropriations bill. The amendment provides $2 million to the Corps of Engineers so they can begin implementation of The Comprehensive Plan for the Upper Mississippi River Basin. This is something that was already authorized in WRDA 1999; but it has received no funding, so the implementation has yet to take place.

The plan calls for the Corps to develop a coordinated basin-wide approach to flood control and flood damage reduction, and as a co-chair of the Upper Mississippi River Task Force, I have consistently worked to develop bipartisan support for Corps plans and projects that take a comprehensive and basin-wide approach and that support the vision of the Mississippi River as a complex, multiple-use resource. The Comprehensive Plan calls for the Corps to investigate the fullest range of flood control

and damage reduction measures, including nonstructural approaches to flood control, management plans to reduce runoff from farm fields and city streets, and habitat restoration programs.

These nontraditional approaches to flood control are particularly beneficial and cost effective. They protect farmers and city dwellers from floods at the same time that they improve water quality and restore the aquatic wetland and floodplain habitats that are so highly valued by fisherman, hunters, and recreationalists. The comprehensive plan embodies an approach to planning that I think should become the norm for the Corps of Engineers in future years.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and to the ranking member, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY), for the work in increasing the funding levels for the Upper Mississippi River Environmental Management Program. The EMP is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Service and five Upper Mississippi River Basin States to

ensure the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River system.

The program widely cited as a model for inner-agency and interstate cooperation is designed to evaluate, restore and enhance riverine and wetland habitat along a 1,200 mile stretch of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

In WRDA 1999, the EMP received permanent reauthorization at an increased funding level of $33.2 million, and while the Upper Mississippi River Task Force had requested $25 million for the EMP for this fiscal year, I recognize that the House's inadequate 302(b) allocations impose considerable restraints on the subcommittee and that the $3 million increase over the administration's request represents a significant, if still insufficient, increase in funding.

Maintaining a proper balance between the economic growth and the environmental protection is essential to maintain the health of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and the communities within its watershed.

Achieving this balance requires the innovative and cooperative efforts of the Federal, State, local interests. The comprehensive plan and the EMP program are core programs that embody this spirit. It is important for this Congress to show our support for programs that will work proactively and cooperatively to reduce flood damage, maintain an appropriate navigation infrastructure, and enhance the environmental qualities of the Mississippi River system for generations to come.

Mr. Chairman, I for too long now have felt that the Mississippi River, America's river, has been the great natural resource cutting right through the heart of our country that has gone neglected as a national priority in this Congress. And working within the task force in a bipartisan fashion, we have been trying to coordinate our efforts between the north and south ends of the river to develop programs and to offer the support and resources we need to protect this very important natural resource.

Why is this important? It is important because it is North America's largest migratory route. It is also the primary drinking source for 22 million Americans, and for the Upper Mississippi region alone it has a $1.6 billion recreation impact as well as a $6.6 billion tourism impact for local communities. In fact, we have more visitors that come every year to visit the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge than who visit the entire Yellowstone National Park system. So this is a very valuable resource

that we need to do, as a body, a better job of providing resources.

The comprehensive plan that my friend, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF), is trying to fund with this amendment is a step in the right direction, along with other efforts that we have taken on the task force to draw more attention to programs that affect the Mississippi River Basin. [Page: H5226]

So I would call upon my colleagues to look at this amendment and support it. I think the offset is something that is reasonable in working with the Corps of Engineers coming out of administrative expenses, and this is a step, a very important step, to developing the comprehensive plan on a basin-wide approach which is long overdue for the Mississippi River.

I thank the gentleman again for offering the amendment.

[Time: 16:30]

4:25 PM EDT

Ron Kind, D-WI 3rd

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Hulshof amendment to the energy and water appropriations bill. The amendment provides $2 million to the Corps of Engineers so they can begin implementation of The Comprehensive Plan for the Upper Mississippi River Basin. This is something that was already authorized in WRDA 1999; but it has received no funding, so the implementation has yet to take place.

The plan calls for the Corps to develop a coordinated basin-wide approach to flood control and flood damage reduction, and as a co-chair of the Upper Mississippi River Task Force, I have consistently worked to develop bipartisan support for Corps plans and projects that take a comprehensive and basin-wide approach and that support the vision of the Mississippi River as a complex, multiple-use resource. The Comprehensive Plan calls for the Corps to investigate the fullest range of flood control

and damage reduction measures, including nonstructural approaches to flood control, management plans to reduce runoff from farm fields and city streets, and habitat restoration programs.

These nontraditional approaches to flood control are particularly beneficial and cost effective. They protect farmers and city dwellers from floods at the same time that they improve water quality and restore the aquatic wetland and floodplain habitats that are so highly valued by fisherman, hunters, and recreationalists. The comprehensive plan embodies an approach to planning that I think should become the norm for the Corps of Engineers in future years.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and to the ranking member, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. VISCLOSKY), for the work in increasing the funding levels for the Upper Mississippi River Environmental Management Program. The EMP is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Service and five Upper Mississippi River Basin States to

ensure the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River system.

The program widely cited as a model for inner-agency and interstate cooperation is designed to evaluate, restore and enhance riverine and wetland habitat along a 1,200 mile stretch of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

In WRDA 1999, the EMP received permanent reauthorization at an increased funding level of $33.2 million, and while the Upper Mississippi River Task Force had requested $25 million for the EMP for this fiscal year, I recognize that the House's inadequate 302(b) allocations impose considerable restraints on the subcommittee and that the $3 million increase over the administration's request represents a significant, if still insufficient, increase in funding.

Maintaining a proper balance between the economic growth and the environmental protection is essential to maintain the health of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and the communities within its watershed.

Achieving this balance requires the innovative and cooperative efforts of the Federal, State, local interests. The comprehensive plan and the EMP program are core programs that embody this spirit. It is important for this Congress to show our support for programs that will work proactively and cooperatively to reduce flood damage, maintain an appropriate navigation infrastructure, and enhance the environmental qualities of the Mississippi River system for generations to come.

Mr. Chairman, I for too long now have felt that the Mississippi River, America's river, has been the great natural resource cutting right through the heart of our country that has gone neglected as a national priority in this Congress. And working within the task force in a bipartisan fashion, we have been trying to coordinate our efforts between the north and south ends of the river to develop programs and to offer the support and resources we need to protect this very important natural resource.

Why is this important? It is important because it is North America's largest migratory route. It is also the primary drinking source for 22 million Americans, and for the Upper Mississippi region alone it has a $1.6 billion recreation impact as well as a $6.6 billion tourism impact for local communities. In fact, we have more visitors that come every year to visit the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge than who visit the entire Yellowstone National Park system. So this is a very valuable resource

that we need to do, as a body, a better job of providing resources.

The comprehensive plan that my friend, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF), is trying to fund with this amendment is a step in the right direction, along with other efforts that we have taken on the task force to draw more attention to programs that affect the Mississippi River Basin. [Page: H5226]

So I would call upon my colleagues to look at this amendment and support it. I think the offset is something that is reasonable in working with the Corps of Engineers coming out of administrative expenses, and this is a step, a very important step, to developing the comprehensive plan on a basin-wide approach which is long overdue for the Mississippi River.

I thank the gentleman again for offering the amendment.

[Time: 16:30]

4:29 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:29 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, it is with great reluctance that I rise to oppose the amendment of the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF). I have no problem with the project. In fact, if we would have had the funds, we would have liked to have funded the request of the gentleman, but because of a lack of funds, we treated every person's project equally in the bill.

There were literally hundreds of projects that were authorized in WRDA 1999; and if we open up one project to funding, then we have to give equal treatment to all applicants for funding as a result of WRDA 1999 authorizations, and it is for that reason, and that reason only, that I oppose the amendment.

In fact, if the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF) would withdraw his amendment, I will commit to do all I can to help find the funds as we go to conference. There is a hope that we might get additional funds before we go to conference, and if we do, we are hoping that we can fund some of the new starts.

We have not even funded all of the ongoing projects in the bill this year, those that are already under construction and to fund a new project and not have the funds to complete existing projects, I think would be irresponsible.

With that in mind, I would sincerely ask the gentleman to withdraw the amendment, with the assurance that I will do all I can to find the funds for him as we go to conference, otherwise I would have to oppose the amendment.

4:31 PM EDT

Kenny Hulshof, R-MO 9th

Mr. HULSHOF. Again, with all the great respect for the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD), I consider him just that, a gentleman, in this body, were it not for the time limit on the authorization, and that is the clock is running on this authorized project and the fact that the Corps of Engineers is expected to report back in about a year and a half, I would accept the invitation of the gentleman, otherwise, I am afraid I am going to have to insist on my amendment.

4:31 PM EDT

Kenny Hulshof, R-MO 9th

Mr. HULSHOF. Again, with all the great respect for the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD), I consider him just that, a gentleman, in this body, were it not for the time limit on the authorization, and that is the clock is running on this authorized project and the fact that the Corps of Engineers is expected to report back in about a year and a half, I would accept the invitation of the gentleman, otherwise, I am afraid I am going to have to insist on my amendment.

4:32 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:32 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:32 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:32 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:32 PM EDT

Ron Packard, R-CA 48th

Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Chairman, if I can reclaim my time, I would simply like to ask Members then under the circumstances to vote against the amendment. Certainly it is at the expense of all other WRDA 1999 authorized projects, if we fund one. It would not be fair to the rest of the Members of Congress that have asked for funding for authorized projects in WRDA 1999. I think it is imperative that we are fair to all Members.

4:33 PM EDT

Leonard L. Boswell, D-IA 3rd

Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of the Hulshof amendment. In fact, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS) and I have worked very closely with him on a number of things, and my good friend from Missouri, my neighbor, my good friend from Illinois, just across the river, ``kattywompus'' as we say down our way, has a lot of concerns.

I would say to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD), we respect the gentleman's work on this very, very much, but this is not really a project in the sense that we think of projects. This involves the Mississippi. This involves the Illinois. This involves a great expanse, involving much more than any of us would have in an individual project, and our joint interest in this is for a number of reasons.

We have worked very hard to get folks along the river to realize what a great resource it is in many, many ways. I think that the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) recognizes and appreciates that. I have no doubt about that, but there is a lot of interest groups out there that have different opinions.

Part of our process with our Mississippi River Caucus that the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF) and I have cosponsored is to bring those folks together to see if we cannot work out how to take care of the navigation needs, the commerce needs, the things to do with recreation, the environment and so on, and we feel like we are making some progress.

We feel good about it. Now, this plan is needed so we can proceed, so we can go forth. It has been authorized by WRDA, and we would like now to put the resource with it to make this happen. In fact, I say to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) this very respectfully, we had hoped that if this would pass today that the gentleman would carry forth with the enthusiasm to conference to maybe restore that offset to keep things going.

We would not want to put an idea in the gentleman's mind, but I will take that opportunity. So thanks so much for listening, but different things have been said about how people depend on that river for commerce. They depend on the river for recreation. They are concerned about preserving the environment and all these things, and we are, too.

We are going forward with the premise with this study and what would bring to bear that we can put those kinds of folks together in the same room, so to speak, and we can work these things out. That is really what we are trying to do. It is not a project for me. It is not a project for the gentleman from Missouri (Congressman HULSHOF) or the gentleman from Illinois (Congressman SHIMKUS) or anybody else, it is for the entire resource of the Mississippi and the Illinois. I think actually

it will go on to be even beyond that.

PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY

4:33 PM EDT

Leonard L. Boswell, D-IA 3rd

Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of the Hulshof amendment. In fact, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. SHIMKUS) and I have worked very closely with him on a number of things, and my good friend from Missouri, my neighbor, my good friend from Illinois, just across the river, ``kattywompus'' as we say down our way, has a lot of concerns.

I would say to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD), we respect the gentleman's work on this very, very much, but this is not really a project in the sense that we think of projects. This involves the Mississippi. This involves the Illinois. This involves a great expanse, involving much more than any of us would have in an individual project, and our joint interest in this is for a number of reasons.

We have worked very hard to get folks along the river to realize what a great resource it is in many, many ways. I think that the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) recognizes and appreciates that. I have no doubt about that, but there is a lot of interest groups out there that have different opinions.

Part of our process with our Mississippi River Caucus that the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF) and I have cosponsored is to bring those folks together to see if we cannot work out how to take care of the navigation needs, the commerce needs, the things to do with recreation, the environment and so on, and we feel like we are making some progress.

We feel good about it. Now, this plan is needed so we can proceed, so we can go forth. It has been authorized by WRDA, and we would like now to put the resource with it to make this happen. In fact, I say to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) this very respectfully, we had hoped that if this would pass today that the gentleman would carry forth with the enthusiasm to conference to maybe restore that offset to keep things going.

We would not want to put an idea in the gentleman's mind, but I will take that opportunity. So thanks so much for listening, but different things have been said about how people depend on that river for commerce. They depend on the river for recreation. They are concerned about preserving the environment and all these things, and we are, too.

We are going forward with the premise with this study and what would bring to bear that we can put those kinds of folks together in the same room, so to speak, and we can work these things out. That is really what we are trying to do. It is not a project for me. It is not a project for the gentleman from Missouri (Congressman HULSHOF) or the gentleman from Illinois (Congressman SHIMKUS) or anybody else, it is for the entire resource of the Mississippi and the Illinois. I think actually

it will go on to be even beyond that.

PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY

4:36 PM EDT

John M. Shimkus, R-IL 20th

Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, with reluctance I come to the floor also making an appeal to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) to be supportive of this amendment, I do that with great respect to my friend, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF), myself, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. KIND) who just spoke earlier.

In our short 4 years of being Members of Congress, we have tried to marry the interests of a great diverse group of people who want to preserve this great national asset that we have, which is the Mississippi River, and preserve it for a lot of activities, a lot of things, from the transportation needs of our agricultural sector to get our goods south to take advantage of the world markets, to environmental stewardship of some of the greatest hunting and fishing locations in the country.

In fact, in my district, Pike County, Illinois has the largest white tail deer population; and hunters come from all over which helps the farmers meet their ends in low commodity prices. We know of the problem in the Gulf of Mexico, and having a good plan to address the runoff issues is a good way to be environment stewards, increased recreational activities on the Mississippi.

A lot of these groups that we have been dealing with for 4 years would not like to see any other group exist, but if we work with a plan, if we go in a manner to bring people at the table and work on a plan for the stewardship of this great national resource, then we have something that we cannot only benefit from, but that we can pass down to our families and our grandchildren.

The Mississippi River Caucus' members stretch from Minnesota all the way down to Louisiana. We are concerned about the river. I think that the Hulshof amendment, which takes funds from just the core staffing to focus on the time-sensitive issue of getting this plan developed, is to be commended. [Page: H5227]

Mr. Chairman, I urge all of my colleagues who are concerned about our ability to compete in the world market, the agricultural sector of the world, environmental stewardship and creating recreational opportunities up and down the Mississippi to be in support of this amendment.

4:36 PM EDT

John M. Shimkus, R-IL 20th

Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, with reluctance I come to the floor also making an appeal to the gentleman from California (Chairman PACKARD) to be supportive of this amendment, I do that with great respect to my friend, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. BOSWELL), the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. HULSHOF), myself, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. KIND) who just spoke earlier.

In our short 4 years of being Members of Congress, we have tried to marry the interests of a great diverse group of people who want to preserve this great national asset that we have, which is the Mississippi River, and preserve it for a lot of activities, a lot of things, from the transportation needs of our agricultural sector to get our goods south to take advantage of the world markets, to environmental stewardship of some of the greatest hunting and fishing locations in the country.

In fact, in my district, Pike County, Illinois has the largest white tail deer population; and hunters come from all over which helps the farmers meet their ends in low commodity prices. We know of the problem in the Gulf of Mexico, and having a good plan to address the runoff issues is a good way to be environment stewards, increased recreational activities on the Mississippi.

A lot of these groups that we have been dealing with for 4 years would not like to see any other group exist, but if we work with a plan, if we go in a manner to bring people at the table and work on a plan for the stewardship of this great national resource, then we have something that we cannot only benefit from, but that we can pass down to our families and our grandchildren.

The Mississippi River Caucus' members stretch from Minnesota all the way down to Louisiana. We are concerned about the river. I think that the Hulshof amendment, which takes funds from just the core staffing to focus on the time-sensitive issue of getting this plan developed, is to be commended. [Page: H5227]

Mr. Chairman, I urge all of my colleagues who are concerned about our ability to compete in the world market, the agricultural sector of the world, environmental stewardship and creating recreational opportunities up and down the Mississippi to be in support of this amendment.

4:39 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the gentleman is attempting to do with his amendment. I appreciate the need, and I also appreciate the comments of the Members who spoke before me. I would associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and rise in opposition to the Hulshof amendment for three key reasons.

One is we have worked very hard to wisely spend every penny of water money available in as fair a fashion as possible, and in making that money go as far as possible, we did not, in this bill, fund any new starts, any new reimbursements, any new studies. That is an arbitrary decision, but it is one that both sides have stuck to with a great deal of scrupulous care. I think at this late moment, understanding the need, coming from a Great Lakes State myself and the intercontinental United States,

I would oppose, first of all, for that reason.

Secondly, I am concerned that because we are taking money from one Army Corps account and moving it to another, we are simply obligating the Corps with an additional responsibility that we are not paying for with new money. The fact is, the account that the gentleman is taking the money from is at current level, there is no increase. It is $2 1/2 million below the administration's request, and we would cut it by an additional $2 million.

Finally, the obvious point, and that is that this would also then require a reduction in force at the very time when we are asking the Corps to assume greater responsibilities than ever before across the Nation.

Again, it is out of no disrespect for the Member or the need of the constituents he represents or the other speakers, but I am adamantly opposed to his amendment.

4:39 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the gentleman is attempting to do with his amendment. I appreciate the need, and I also appreciate the comments of the Members who spoke before me. I would associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and rise in opposition to the Hulshof amendment for three key reasons.

One is we have worked very hard to wisely spend every penny of water money available in as fair a fashion as possible, and in making that money go as far as possible, we did not, in this bill, fund any new starts, any new reimbursements, any new studies. That is an arbitrary decision, but it is one that both sides have stuck to with a great deal of scrupulous care. I think at this late moment, understanding the need, coming from a Great Lakes State myself and the intercontinental United States,

I would oppose, first of all, for that reason.

Secondly, I am concerned that because we are taking money from one Army Corps account and moving it to another, we are simply obligating the Corps with an additional responsibility that we are not paying for with new money. The fact is, the account that the gentleman is taking the money from is at current level, there is no increase. It is $2 1/2 million below the administration's request, and we would cut it by an additional $2 million.

Finally, the obvious point, and that is that this would also then require a reduction in force at the very time when we are asking the Corps to assume greater responsibilities than ever before across the Nation.

Again, it is out of no disrespect for the Member or the need of the constituents he represents or the other speakers, but I am adamantly opposed to his amendment.

4:39 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the gentleman is attempting to do with his amendment. I appreciate the need, and I also appreciate the comments of the Members who spoke before me. I would associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from California (Mr. PACKARD) and rise in opposition to the Hulshof amendment for three key reasons.

One is we have worked very hard to wisely spend every penny of water money available in as fair a fashion as possible, and in making that money go as far as possible, we did not, in this bill, fund any new starts, any new reimbursements, any new studies. That is an arbitrary decision, but it is one that both sides have stuck to with a great deal of scrupulous care. I think at this late moment, understanding the need, coming from a Great Lakes State myself and the intercontinental United States,

I would oppose, first of all, for that reason.

Secondly, I am concerned that because we are taking money from one Army Corps account and moving it to another, we are simply obligating the Corps with an additional responsibility that we are not paying for with new money. The fact is, the account that the gentleman is taking the money from is at current level, there is no increase. It is $2 1/2 million below the administration's request, and we would cut it by an additional $2 million.

Finally, the obvious point, and that is that this would also then require a reduction in force at the very time when we are asking the Corps to assume greater responsibilities than ever before across the Nation.

Again, it is out of no disrespect for the Member or the need of the constituents he represents or the other speakers, but I am adamantly opposed to his amendment.