5:59 PM EDT

Cedric Richmond, D-LA 2nd

Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Chairman, again I rise to talk about what I consider to be wise investments into the future and the stability of this great country.

For the last 21 years, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has created jobs and served as an important investment tool in our Nation's economy and for wetlands in every single State. NAWCA has been responsible for restoring over 26 million acres of wetlands, equivalent to the size of the State of Ohio. Not only did it restore over 26 million acres, it also creates nearly 7,500 jobs annually and hundreds of millions in worker earnings every year.

If we look at the fiscal year 2011 appropriations with $37.5 million, it is down from $47.6 million for fiscal year 2010. This bill allocates only $20 million for fiscal year '12, a cut of 47 percent from fiscal year '11 levels and 58 percent from fiscal year '10 levels.

Here is the important point, Mr. Chairman: The law requires that each Federal dollar put into the program be matched by $1 in non-Federal funds. Because the competition for these dollars is so great, on average, each Federal dollar is matched 3 to 1.

Mr. Chairman, over and over again I keep saying that the American people are looking for us to spend money in this great country, where we get a return on our investment. Now we have another program where, for every dollar we spend on this program, the American people get $3. That's what we should be doing in this time of great economic hardship.

I am asking my colleagues on the other side to look at where we're spending money in this bill and put money where we're going to get a good return on our investment, we're going to create jobs, and at the same time we're going to preserve and restore our wetlands.

That, Mr. Chairman, I think, is the responsible thing to do, the wise thing to do, and I would encourage all of my colleagues to support it.

I would now yield to the gentleman from Illinois.

6:02 PM EDT

Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. I want to thank the gentleman from Louisiana for yielding.

I rise in support of the Richmond amendment and in opposition to H.R. 2584, the Interior and Environment appropriations, and I do so because we cannot afford to make such drastic cuts to programs that benefit our Nation's drinking water, deplete our air pollution standards, and reduce the beautiful landscape.

For example, in Illinois, where I live, the drinking water systems face a required investment of $13.5 billion over the next 20 years to replace aging facilities and comply with safe drinking regulations. In 2009, total Federal funding for drinking water was less than $3 billion, which included a one-time $2 billion infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Within Cook County, a large portion of my district, we can take only half an inch of rainwater before flooding takes place. This means sewer water and other contaminants flood both the streets and homes. We cannot afford to reduce the health and safety of our citizens, and we cannot disrupt our environment.

Again, I thank the gentleman for yielding, urge support of his amendment, and urge that we defeat the overall appropriation bill.

6:02 PM EDT

Danny Davis, D-IL 7th

Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. I want to thank the gentleman from Louisiana for yielding.

I rise in support of the Richmond amendment and in opposition to H.R. 2584, the Interior and Environment appropriations, and I do so because we cannot afford to make such drastic cuts to programs that benefit our Nation's drinking water, deplete our air pollution standards, and reduce the beautiful landscape.

For example, in Illinois, where I live, the drinking water systems face a required investment of $13.5 billion over the next 20 years to replace aging facilities and comply with safe drinking regulations. In 2009, total Federal funding for drinking water was less than $3 billion, which included a one-time $2 billion infusion of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Within Cook County, a large portion of my district, we can take only half an inch of rainwater before flooding takes place. This means sewer water and other contaminants flood both the streets and homes. We cannot afford to reduce the health and safety of our citizens, and we cannot disrupt our environment.

Again, I thank the gentleman for yielding, urge support of his amendment, and urge that we defeat the overall appropriation bill.

6:03 PM EDT

Cedric Richmond, D-LA 2nd

Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Chairman, in closing, I would just say that this is another one of my small attempts to make an awful bill just a little bit better, and I would encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.