6:05 PM EDT

Kathy Hochul, D-NY 26th

Ms. HOCHUL. Mr. Chairman, I believe my amendment is going to have appeal for both sides of the aisle. I have sat here and listened for some time, particularly on the Republican side, about the need to be cutting our expenses. Well, my amendment does just that.

My amendment actually removes $4.4 million in spending increases and returns those very funds to deficit reduction. Those of us who also believe that the taxpayers should not hand over an additional $4.4 million just to help out the oil and gas industry would also support this amendment.

What my amendment does is remove a $4.4 million increase in funding for oil and gas management. I just cannot stand here and support an additional increase in taxpayer spending at a time when the other parts of this budget are being slashed.

Forgive me today if I don't have a lot of sympathy for Big Oil. Last quarter, Exxon posted $11.4 billion in profits, in one quarter alone, Mr. Chairman. Royal Dutch Shell posted over $6 billion profit in one quarter alone. The additional $4.4 million added to help out the oil and gas companies to cover their permit application processing is literally pocket change for these big companies.

We live in tough economic times, and we all came to Congress to make tough decisions. We need to cut spending. That's why I ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support my amendment and cut this spending increase.

My amendment, I assure you, does not address the merits of drilling whatsoever. This is simply an issue of fairness for the taxpayers. In times of government austerity and record profits for oil companies, this amendment is a simple statement that these companies should pay for the administrative expenses associated with processing their applications.

Some people don't have a problem asking our seniors, our families, and our small businesses to pay more during these tough times. Well, I do. I think it is fundamentally unfair to increase spending in their areas while at the same time we are hurting our seniors. Almost every other area of this bill is being slashed, but the one that greases the skids for oil companies to get their approval is being increased over last year's budget. Something is just not right with our national priorities, and

I believe that reasonable Democrats and Republicans will agree.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.