Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, this amendment cuts every environmental, conservation, and cultural program across the bill, totaling $3 billion in cuts, and then puts those funds in the spending reduction account.
The funding in the bill is already grossly inadequate, and this amendment would cut the bill by more than [Page: H5446]
10 percent. The amendment zeroes out U.S. Fish and Wildlife construction by cutting $12 million. It zeroes out U.S. Fish and Wildlife land acquisition by cutting $15 million. It zeroes out Forest Service land acquisition. It zeroes out the National Endowment for the Arts. It zeroes out the National Endowment for the Humanities. It cuts State and
local water infrastructure by $770 million, 30 percent, even though the infrastructure needs across this country, as Mr. Dicks has stated, is $688 billion.
This amendment goes on to cut the National Park Service, the Office of the Secretary, Wildland Fire Management, EPA Science and Technology, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Mr. Chairman, we should all oppose these draconian cuts. They don't make sense. I don't think the gentleman proposing them necessarily knows what the full impact would be. I suspect, though, that if his constituents, let alone the American people, knew what was being attempted, they would agree with me that this amendment should be soundly defeated.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to join with my good friend from Virginia in speaking against this amendment, although I do appreciate my friend from Kansas in offering it, because this is precisely what would be required if the budget gimmick that was offered by the Republicans last week to restrict funding to 1966 levels, a budget level that was never met by Ronald Reagan, who never proposed a budget that was less than 21 percent, but this is exactly what would be required. It's why the House is going to demonstrate
the schizophrenia on the part of my friends on the other side of the aisle, because this amendment is going to be rejected, I predict. It will be rejected, even though that is what they would wish on the American public.
Zeroing out the resources for the National Humanities, for the NEA, things that, when push comes to shove, the American public embraces, supports, have dramatic economic impact at home, that leverage private dollars, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I appreciate it being offered. I wish that people would look at it closely because this is what is being proposed by our Republican friends in their effort going forward.
Mr. Chairman, at this point I will yield back, but I do hope people pay close attention to what is embodied here, because this is a taste of what people have in store for the American public.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment, and while I appreciate my good friend from Kansas's passion for cutting spending, the reality is that this is exactly what we're doing. This bill comes in under the allocation. We passed the budget earlier this year on the floor--we're the only body to have passed a budget, actually. The Senate has not passed one yet. We were given an allocation, and this bill comes in under that allocation.
We all know that we cannot balance this budget simply by cutting, but we also know that reducing Federal spending is a necessary priority and a first step toward getting us toward a balanced budget.
I think that this amendment goes too far. It would take $3 billion from the numerous accounts in this bill, including the BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, NEA and NEH, as was mentioned, and transfer it to the budget reduction account.
While I appreciate the gentleman's concern that he expressed about the impact that the EPA is having in this country on job creation, and I have said repeatedly that when I go out and give a speech somewhere to a chamber of commerce or Lions Club or whatever, I'll talk about the Interior bill and the agencies that we fund, and when I get to the EPA, someone in the audience will say, Just defund it, get rid of it, and it's the first applause line in the speech. That's the reputation the EPA has
out in the public, and that's the concern that the public has about the direction that the EPA is headed.
So I appreciate the gentleman's concern about the EPA; but as I try to explain to people, you can't just do away with the EPA because if you're out there and you have a business and the underlying law requires you to get an air quality permit or a water permit or something like that and you call the EPA to get your air quality permit and no one's there to answer the phone, to help you with that, then you've got a problem. We don't want to eliminate the EPA. What we want to do is rein the EPA
back in, because I think they've got an overly aggressive agenda; and, as I have said, I think they're the biggest wet blanket on the growth in our economy that there is.
I rise in opposition to the amendment, and I would hope that my colleagues would oppose the amendment.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, what the American people want from their leaders in Washington can be summed up in a single word: jobs, J-O-B-S. The Republicans have now controlled the House for more than 200 days, and they haven't lifted a finger to address the single overriding priority of the people we work for, that is, jobs.
It's a gross failure of leadership.
Instead, what's on their agenda this week? Only the biggest assault on environmental protections in several decades.
I have yet, Mr. Chairman, to see a poll where Americans are clamoring for the Congress to undermine pollution controls, damage public health, and unravel a 40-year bipartisan conservation consensus. I can't think of a single environmental program or initiative that is spared under the base legislation, and this amendment makes it even worse.
The base bill would mean more toxic mercury, arsenic and soot pollution released in our air. It leaves the area surrounding the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon, an iconic national park, open to toxic uranium mining.
It cuts the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 78 percent. It tears the heart out of the Clean Water Act, and it guts the Endangered Species Act. And it removes those pesky regulatory obstacles that keep pesticides out of our waterways.
The Republicans want to block EPA's efforts to protect communities from stormwater runoff and to issue new energy-efficiency standards for new vehicles after 2016. Everything we've put in place that makes sense is what they want to get rid of.
And on and on and on and on it goes, Mr. Chairman, one extreme policy rider after another. None of this will do anything to save taxpayers money. It is an absolute frontal assault on the water we drink, the air we breathe, the public lands we cherish.
This is a big special interest giveaway, and that is simple. It's a classic example of legislating to benefit friends and benefactors, Big Oil and other corporate polluters at the expense of national interests. The Nation's natural resources are not ours to exploit at our will. They are on loan to us. We must be the responsible stewards.
It will be a moral failure if we don't pass an improved environmental bill, and if we don't pass an environment on to the next generation, one that is in even better condition than the one we have today.
But that's what this disgraceful legislation would do. It breaks a covenant that the American people take very seriously, a covenant they actually take for granted. It's Republican extremism run amok on steroids, voraciously rampaging out of control.
The base bill, H.R. 2584, must be stopped. This amendment cannot see the light of day. I urge all my colleagues to vote ``no.''
I yield back the balance of my time.