6:23 PM EDT

Jim Renacci, R-OH 16th

Mr. RENACCI. I appreciate the gentleman's commitment to this technology and to working to ensure that this funding level, approximately 50 percent less than in fiscal year 2011, is not needlessly reduced any further for the coming fiscal year.

I again thank the gentleman from New Jersey and the ranking member from Indiana for their hard work on this bill.

6:24 PM EDT

Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-MO 9th

Mr. LUETKEMEYER. Mr. Chairman, the Missouri River basin is currently facing some of the worst flooding in its history. This devastation, combined with the ongoing economic crisis and our aging inland waterways infrastructure, means that now, more than ever, we must be focused and responsible with taxpayer-funded river projects.

My amendment would prohibit funding for the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study, also known as MRAPS. This $25 million earmarked study comes on the heels of a comprehensive $35 million, 17-year study completed in 2004 that showed that the current authorized purposes are important and should be maintained.

For river communities, few issues are as important as flood control, water supply, power, and navigation. People in these communities rely on the river for their livelihoods and will do so today, tomorrow, and long after the floodwaters have receded.

This Congress and this administration need to focus on protecting human life and property and maintaining the safety and soundness of our levees. We also must support the important commercial advantages provided to us by our inland waterways system.

The Missouri River moves goods to market and is an important tool in both domestic and international trade. That's why the National Corn Growers Association, the American Waterways Operators, the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River, and the Missouri Farm Bureau support this amendment.

This study puts in jeopardy the lower Missouri and the Mississippi rivers, which could result in devastating consequences for navigation and transportation, resulting in barriers for waterways operators, agriculture, and every product that depends on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to get to market.

The current authorized uses of the Missouri River provide necessary resources and translate to continued economic stability not only for Missourians but also for many Americans living throughout the Missouri and Lower Mississippi River basins.

We've said we want to focus on creating and maintaining jobs. This Congress is on the brink of passing three major trade agreements, and the ability of our inland waterways to transport manufactured and agricultural goods, goods purchased and grown by Americans, is as important as it ever has been.

This study is duplicative and wasteful of taxpayer dollars. On this exact issue we've already spent 17 years and $35 million on hundreds of public meetings and extensive litigation. I offered identical language during our first debate on the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution. That amendment passed by a vote of 245-176. I appreciate my colleagues who offered their support and hope to have their support again.

While there is no funding in the underlying bill for MRAPS, I will remind my colleagues that in committee an amendment was adopted to allow the Corps of Engineers to use and receive non-Federal funds to continue and complete ongoing Federal studies. The need for my amendment is as urgent as ever.

With that, I yield 1 minute to the gentlelady from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler).

6:26 PM EDT

Vicky Hartzler, R-MO 4th

Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of amendment No. 21, sponsored by my friend and colleague from Missouri.

This amendment is a commonsense idea to save tax dollars and ensure that the Missouri River focuses on protecting human life and property. It ensures $25 million of taxpayer dollars won't be wasted on a second study of the purposes of the Missouri River. A 17-year, $35 million study was just completed in 2004 to look at the purposes of this river. We don't need a second study, and we don't need to squander the taxpayers' money in this way.

Think about how much money is proposed for this study: $25 million. That's a lot of money. As a commonsense person from Missouri, I have to ask: How does government spend that much money on a study? $500,000 is a lot of money where I come from. How about $1 million or $2 million? Think of what the average family could do with $1 million or $2 million. But this study thinks that's not enough. It wants $25 million to study a river that's already been studied.

Now is the time for common sense. Now is the time for fiscal sanity. Now is the time to stop spending money we don't have on things we don't need.