10:51 PM EDT

Tom Reed II, R-NY 29th

Mr. REED. I offer this amendment with my colleague from Oklahoma (Mr. Boren).

This a bipartisan amendment to this appropriations bill with the intent to return funding for the Forest Health Management Account, under State and private forestry.

What we're intending to do with our proposed amendment is to move money from the D.C. bureaucracy, and I anticipate there will be a concern raised about the offset of the line that we're using to cover this increase in the Forest Health Management account from the Secretary's account.

But I firmly do believe that our taxpayer dollars are better spent not on the bureaucracy of the Secretary's office here in Washington, D.C., but more importantly on the front lines and into the States that can benefit from these programs.

This program that we're trying to take care of with this amendment is to restore the funding for the purposes of weeding out invasive species which threaten many industries and our environment across the Nation.

Essentially, invasive species threaten natural habitats, economies, and environments in every State and essentially every district that we represent. The work done by the Forest Service in education, outreach, and on-the-ground action is imperative to the prevention and early detection of nonnative invasive species.

By way of just one example that we deal with in our district, in the New York 29th Congressional District is the emerald ash borer beetle which can kill an ash tree within 5 years, decimating forests across the States and across our district. This pest and other insects have caused disruption on local economies and on job producers nationwide. Research estimates that we have reviewed at our office indicate that replacement and treatment of affected ash trees could total $10 billion over the next

decade should this pest continue to spread.

This is just one pest of many that the U.S. Forest Service is seeking to maintain and address so that Federal and State funds are not diverted from other meaningful initiatives.

Working with individual States on invasive species control, the Forest Health Management programs are part of a collaborative effort to protect forest and grasslands where their efforts can be most effective--in the field on the front line rather than here behind a desk in Washington, D.C.

The benefit of placing Federal funds into action on the front lines, therefore, far outweighs the use of those funds to bloat the Federal bureaucracy. And, therefore, I ask my colleagues to support the amendment and join in this bipartisan effort, with all due respect to the chairman of the appropriations process that is making some very difficult decisions in this day and age.

But I just want to highlight this issue, and I do truly believe that through a bipartisan issue we can get money from D.C. into the fields and deal with the issue of invasive species that threaten economies and industry across the Nation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

10:54 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. I appreciate the gentleman from New York's observation that we are working with some very difficult numbers, and he's absolutely right. And this is an account, frankly, that I think is important. The invasive species and trying to control invasive species across this country is of high importance. It's as of high importance in Idaho as it is in New York and other places across the country. But as the gentleman noted, the concern is the offset.

While we actually treated this account better than most other accounts within this budget, we actually only reduced it by 2 1/2 percent. Some other accounts, EPA's account is down 18 percent, and some other things. Most accounts received substantially less funding. And where you're taking this money from, as I said on the last amendment, the Office of the Secretary is funded in this bill $33 1/2 million below the budget's request. That was before we took out another $20 million in an earlier

amendment to put it into the Land and Water Conservation Fund. So now we're doing $53 1/2 million. We add this to it and we are going to be down $62 million.

Sometimes these, what appear to be small amounts, add up. If we're going to have a Secretary's office that actually functions, we have to keep enough resources there so that he can do his job.

And while I appreciate what the gentleman is trying to do, I sympathize [Page: H5572]

with what he's trying to do and support the effort of what he's trying to do. The fact that the offset affects an account that we have substantially reduced already is a problem, so I would oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

10:56 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. I rise to agree with the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee just as I did with the last amendment.

The idea of a bloated bureaucracy, when you've taken $53 million out of the Secretary's office, it seems to me, is misplaced where we're talking about giving the Office of the Secretary of the Interior far more responsibility. And now, at every opportunity, we seem to be cutting the resources that are necessary to fulfill those responsibilities. Already tonight we've taken $20 million from the Office of the Secretary's account.

So just as I did with the prior amendment, I would also agree with the chairman's comments and associate myself with them. So I won't take any more of the body's time.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. Reed).

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