2:48 PM EDT

Andy Harris M.D., R-MD 1st

Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 23, line 4, after the dollar amount insert ``(reduced by $6,000,000)''.

Page 62, line 2, after the dollar amount insert ``(increased by $6,000,000)''.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Maryland is recognized for 5 minutes.

2:48 PM EDT

Sam Graves, R-MO 6th

Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Chairman, basically what I'm trying to do here is to point out the absurdity and misalignment of priorities which have become clear in this appropriations bill.

I live along the Missouri River in Missouri, and we've had families that have been inundated by the flooding that has taken place this year with no real end in sight, to be quite honest with you. This underlying bill provides $73 million for the Missouri River Recovery Program which is used to fund habitat creation projects. Unfortunately, the underlying bill only provides slightly more than $6 million for the maintenance of the levees all the way from Sioux City, Iowa, to the mouth of the Missouri,

where it meets up with the Mississippi. So essentially we are spending nearly 12 times more to buy land for the betterment of fish and birds than we are to protect farmers, businesses, and homes that are being flooded right now.

This year, many levees in Missouri have been breached and overtopped as a result of the amounts of water and the mismanagement of the river, and many people in my district have been evacuated and will remain evacuated for months, in some cases. The President has issued an emergency disaster declaration for parts of Missouri, and yet here we are spending, again, $73 million for fish and wildlife and a mere $6 million for the maintenance of these levees.

While I believe conservation is important, we should not overlook what it is we sometimes sacrifice to achieve conservation. In this case, we are sacrificing the livelihoods of businesses and farmers and are destroying homes.

[Time: 14:50]

Again, my amendment just simply transfers money from the construction account to the operations and maintenance account. The intent is just to reduce funding in one and increase that funding in the other. With that, I would urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

2:50 PM EDT

Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ 11th

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in reluctant opposition to the amendment.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

2:50 PM EDT

Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ 11th

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I am very sympathetic to those that have been devastated by floods in Missouri and in other States across the Nation. It's a very personal thing for many Members of Congress who look to their congressional districts and see the loss of life, and livelihoods, and jobs, and devastation to family farms and to small towns.

One of the things we did in our bill of course, and I am sure the gentleman would recognize this, we came up with a billion dollars of emergency aid, which hopefully will be of assistance. I know he doesn't speak of that in this amendment. But certainly all Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are committed to help those whose lives have been unalterably changed because of the devastation.

My concern with his amendment is that the Corps has said this construction funding is necessary to avoid jeopardy under the Endangered Species Act. If the river system jeopardizes species, it could have great effect on the operations of the river. So speaking to my earlier point, we want to be helpful, but we also look to the Corps for some direction on this point. As a consequence, I oppose his amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

2:52 PM EDT

Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I would join in the chairman's remarks, and emphasize the word ``reluctantly,'' because I do understand the devastation that has been suffered. I would emphasize for the record that the chairman recognized the tragedies that have occurred, and had an amendment in committee to have a billion dollars set aside.

Earlier in the process, we had essentially about a billion dollars also transferred from the Energy and Water appropriation bill to the Homeland Security bill for various similar purposes. There is no denying the emergency. But as I have said on more than one occasion during the debate of this issue, it is time we as an institution have the intestinal fortitude to understand we have natural disasters. We have people who have lost their lives. We have people who are suffering and have lost property.

We need, in a deliberate, thoughtful fashion, to set those moneys aside as opposed to, if you would, moving moneys from accounts to take care of these emergencies.

So I do understand also looking ahead that the ultimate cost of the tragedy the gentleman's constituents and others have suffered is probably going to exceed the moneys that have been set aside in this bill, and do hope, again, institutionally, that we address that problem. So I understand the motive, agree with the principle that is espoused, but again would have to reluctantly join in opposition to the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Graves).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

2:53 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Let's work together to clarify it. I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.