7:36 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I guess the first question I would ask is: Why 2008 spending levels? Why not 2006 or 2004 or 2000 or 1998 spending levels, or 1972 or 1900?

What we need to do is look at what we are spending now and create savings by deciding what is important and what we ought to be doing and what are those things that we might like to do but we just don't have the money to do, and eliminate those programs or reduce the spending in many of those programs, which is what the Appropriations Committee does every day.

When these bills come down here, we have had hearings on the different functions of the Federal Government. And believe me, if you or I were to sit down and discuss what the Federal Government ought to be doing, we would agree on a lot. There would be things we would disagree on that I think are essential and things that I would disagree that you would think were essential. We have 435 Members, represent all corners of this country, and a budget is, by its very nature, a compromise in those different

opinions on what ought to be funded and what the proper role of government is.

One thing we do know, that we are $17 trillion in debt, and that a portion of that, a portion of the solution, is reducing our discretionary spending. We have been doing that for the last 4 years, and it has been hard work by the Appropriations Committee.

We also know that you cannot get this budget to balance, no matter how hard you try, by reducing discretionary spending. It is not large enough, in the overall context of things, to cut it enough to get the budget to balance. You have got to do other things. You have got to have tax reform. You have got to have entitlement reform. We have to look at every area that the government is spending. Right now, I think it is about 28 percent of the total expenditures of the Federal Government are discretionary

spending. About 72 percent of them are mandatory. They are on autopilot. They just go on unless we change the underlying law.

So we have got to have the courage to address a lot of the things that are driving our debt. I will tell you, you will never balance this budget until you get the economy growing again. That is the reality.

When you looked at the late 1990s, when President Clinton and a Republican Congress balanced the budget--or at least that is who was in charge at the time. We can argue about who balanced it. But at that period of time, it wasn't because Republicans were so conservative that they came in and reduced spending and the budget all of a sudden got balanced, or it wasn't that President Clinton came in and just raised taxes and everything and all of sudden we had a ton more revenue. What it was is that

the economy grew, and I mean it boomed.

We had the dot-com bubble, if you remember, where we had more money coming in to the Federal Government than we knew what to do with. In fact, when we talked about paying off the national debt at the time, I actually heard debates from leading economists that said we could pay off the national debt too fast--we had that much money coming in--because the debts wouldn't come due when all the money was coming in.

But then, of course, that turned around when the dot-com bubble burst, and since that, then 9/11 happened and a whole bunch of other things and two wars and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The reality is that you can't balance this budget simply by reducing discretionary spending, but I will tell you that the Appropriations Committee has been doing their job. They have been looking at the proper role of Federal Government, what our responsibilities are, what we must fund, and what we should fund, and also at what we would like to do and sometimes just don't have the money to do. So those are the difficult decisions we have been making, and we continue to do that.

This type of approach, I think, that would take these accounts, only some accounts, back to the 1998 levels, I think, would hurt our economy. And, in fact, one of the big parts of our account is the Army Corps of Engineers, which does water infrastructure, locks, dams, harbor maintenance, all of that kind of stuff which is vital to our economy. I don't know that you want to go in and cut that by 7.8 percent. The President proposed a $1 billion cut in it, a huge cut in it. We restored it because

we, both Republicans and Democrats, realize how important the water infrastructure of this country is.

Those are the decisions that we make on the Appropriations Committee, a committee that I am proud to serve on, that has made, over the last several years, some very, very difficult decisions, and will continue to do so because, just like every Member of this Congress, we realize we can't continue racking up the debt as we have over the last several decades.

So I appreciate that, and I would oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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

7:36 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I guess the first question I would ask is: Why 2008 spending levels? Why not 2006 or 2004 or 2000 or 1998 spending levels, or 1972 or 1900?

What we need to do is look at what we are spending now and create savings by deciding what is important and what we ought to be doing and what are those things that we might like to do but we just don't have the money to do, and eliminate those programs or reduce the spending in many of those programs, which is what the Appropriations Committee does every day.

When these bills come down here, we have had hearings on the different functions of the Federal Government. And believe me, if you or I were to sit down and discuss what the Federal Government ought to be doing, we would agree on a lot. There would be things we would disagree on that I think are essential and things that I would disagree that you would think were essential. We have 435 Members, represent all corners of this country, and a budget is, by its very nature, a compromise in those different

opinions on what ought to be funded and what the proper role of government is.

One thing we do know, that we are $17 trillion in debt, and that a portion of that, a portion of the solution, is reducing our discretionary spending. We have been doing that for the last 4 years, and it has been hard work by the Appropriations Committee.

We also know that you cannot get this budget to balance, no matter how hard you try, by reducing discretionary spending. It is not large enough, in the overall context of things, to cut it enough to get the budget to balance. You have got to do other things. You have got to have tax reform. You have got to have entitlement reform. We have to look at every area that the government is spending. Right now, I think it is about 28 percent of the total expenditures of the Federal Government are discretionary

spending. About 72 percent of them are mandatory. They are on autopilot. They just go on unless we change the underlying law.

So we have got to have the courage to address a lot of the things that are driving our debt. I will tell you, you will never balance this budget until you get the economy growing again. That is the reality.

When you looked at the late 1990s, when President Clinton and a Republican Congress balanced the budget--or at least that is who was in charge at the time. We can argue about who balanced it. But at that period of time, it wasn't because Republicans were so conservative that they came in and reduced spending and the budget all of a sudden got balanced, or it wasn't that President Clinton came in and just raised taxes and everything and all of sudden we had a ton more revenue. What it was is that

the economy grew, and I mean it boomed.

We had the dot-com bubble, if you remember, where we had more money coming in to the Federal Government than we knew what to do with. In fact, when we talked about paying off the national debt at the time, I actually heard debates from leading economists that said we could pay off the national debt too fast--we had that much money coming in--because the debts wouldn't come due when all the money was coming in.

But then, of course, that turned around when the dot-com bubble burst, and since that, then 9/11 happened and a whole bunch of other things and two wars and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The reality is that you can't balance this budget simply by reducing discretionary spending, but I will tell you that the Appropriations Committee has been doing their job. They have been looking at the proper role of Federal Government, what our responsibilities are, what we must fund, and what we should fund, and also at what we would like to do and sometimes just don't have the money to do. So those are the difficult decisions we have been making, and we continue to do that.

This type of approach, I think, that would take these accounts, only some accounts, back to the 1998 levels, I think, would hurt our economy. And, in fact, one of the big parts of our account is the Army Corps of Engineers, which does water infrastructure, locks, dams, harbor maintenance, all of that kind of stuff which is vital to our economy. I don't know that you want to go in and cut that by 7.8 percent. The President proposed a $1 billion cut in it, a huge cut in it. We restored it because

we, both Republicans and Democrats, realize how important the water infrastructure of this country is.

Those are the decisions that we make on the Appropriations Committee, a committee that I am proud to serve on, that has made, over the last several years, some very, very difficult decisions, and will continue to do so because, just like every Member of this Congress, we realize we can't continue racking up the debt as we have over the last several decades.

So I appreciate that, and I would oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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

7:36 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I guess the first question I would ask is: Why 2008 spending levels? Why not 2006 or 2004 or 2000 or 1998 spending levels, or 1972 or 1900?

What we need to do is look at what we are spending now and create savings by deciding what is important and what we ought to be doing and what are those things that we might like to do but we just don't have the money to do, and eliminate those programs or reduce the spending in many of those programs, which is what the Appropriations Committee does every day.

When these bills come down here, we have had hearings on the different functions of the Federal Government. And believe me, if you or I were to sit down and discuss what the Federal Government ought to be doing, we would agree on a lot. There would be things we would disagree on that I think are essential and things that I would disagree that you would think were essential. We have 435 Members, represent all corners of this country, and a budget is, by its very nature, a compromise in those different

opinions on what ought to be funded and what the proper role of government is.

One thing we do know, that we are $17 trillion in debt, and that a portion of that, a portion of the solution, is reducing our discretionary spending. We have been doing that for the last 4 years, and it has been hard work by the Appropriations Committee.

We also know that you cannot get this budget to balance, no matter how hard you try, by reducing discretionary spending. It is not large enough, in the overall context of things, to cut it enough to get the budget to balance. You have got to do other things. You have got to have tax reform. You have got to have entitlement reform. We have to look at every area that the government is spending. Right now, I think it is about 28 percent of the total expenditures of the Federal Government are discretionary

spending. About 72 percent of them are mandatory. They are on autopilot. They just go on unless we change the underlying law.

So we have got to have the courage to address a lot of the things that are driving our debt. I will tell you, you will never balance this budget until you get the economy growing again. That is the reality.

When you looked at the late 1990s, when President Clinton and a Republican Congress balanced the budget--or at least that is who was in charge at the time. We can argue about who balanced it. But at that period of time, it wasn't because Republicans were so conservative that they came in and reduced spending and the budget all of a sudden got balanced, or it wasn't that President Clinton came in and just raised taxes and everything and all of sudden we had a ton more revenue. What it was is that

the economy grew, and I mean it boomed.

We had the dot-com bubble, if you remember, where we had more money coming in to the Federal Government than we knew what to do with. In fact, when we talked about paying off the national debt at the time, I actually heard debates from leading economists that said we could pay off the national debt too fast--we had that much money coming in--because the debts wouldn't come due when all the money was coming in.

But then, of course, that turned around when the dot-com bubble burst, and since that, then 9/11 happened and a whole bunch of other things and two wars and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The reality is that you can't balance this budget simply by reducing discretionary spending, but I will tell you that the Appropriations Committee has been doing their job. They have been looking at the proper role of Federal Government, what our responsibilities are, what we must fund, and what we should fund, and also at what we would like to do and sometimes just don't have the money to do. So those are the difficult decisions we have been making, and we continue to do that.

This type of approach, I think, that would take these accounts, only some accounts, back to the 1998 levels, I think, would hurt our economy. And, in fact, one of the big parts of our account is the Army Corps of Engineers, which does water infrastructure, locks, dams, harbor maintenance, all of that kind of stuff which is vital to our economy. I don't know that you want to go in and cut that by 7.8 percent. The President proposed a $1 billion cut in it, a huge cut in it. We restored it because

we, both Republicans and Democrats, realize how important the water infrastructure of this country is.

Those are the decisions that we make on the Appropriations Committee, a committee that I am proud to serve on, that has made, over the last several years, some very, very difficult decisions, and will continue to do so because, just like every Member of this Congress, we realize we can't continue racking up the debt as we have over the last several decades.

So I appreciate that, and I would oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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

7:41 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I would like to rise in opposition to the gentleman's well-intentioned amendment, and it is obvious he pays attention to the math.

What is important about the math of our deficit is

that we haven't been growing fast enough to meet the needs of this country. We have a demand problem among vast numbers of the American people who aren't consuming as fast as they used to because they have lost their jobs, they have lost their equity because of the housing crisis, and because, if they have gone back to work, they aren't earning as much as they used to earn. The middle class is shrinking, as you well know, and the ranks of the poor are growing. So we have a demand problem in this

society.

The energy question, and the reason I am opposing your amendment is because our budget, our allocation is about $34 billion. If you look just at this year, we will have over $200 billion in imported energy that sucks the wealth out of this country and sends it somewhere else. The portion of our bill that deals with energy is not $34 billion, but maybe a third of that. So you have got maybe 10, 12 billion, $15 billion at the most in our bill that deals directly with energy versus over $200 billion

in terms of energy imports. So we are way out of balance as a society.

The portion of the investment that we make here to invent a new energy future is moving us in the right direction but too slowly.

So do I feel we are going to meet the needs that we need to for the future? I fear our generation is failing the next, as hard as we try here. If I look at the progress we have made, in 1998, that was the first year where America imported over half its energy. The decade before that it had been about 40 percent. Before that, the last 30 years we have hemorrhaged in bringing all this stuff in. This year, about 40 percent of what we consume will be imported. So we have moved from 1998, importing

50 percent of what we used, to 40 percent.

I think President Obama has made a difference. Some of my colleagues may not agree with that. But with drilling, opening up drilling on lands across this country, we have begun to close the gap.

Drilling our way out of this is not a total solution. We need new energy technologies. This bill moves us in that direction.

Don't allow your amendment to stop us from increasing our ability to become energy independent again and create the kind of demand inside this economy that will create the jobs that we need for the future to heal our middle class and move people out the ranks of poverty. So you are well-intentioned, but I think you are out of focus in terms of where the real challenge lies.

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

7:41 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I would like to rise in opposition to the gentleman's well-intentioned amendment, and it is obvious he pays attention to the math.

What is important about the math of our deficit is

that we haven't been growing fast enough to meet the needs of this country. We have a demand problem among vast numbers of the American people who aren't consuming as fast as they used to because they have lost their jobs, they have lost their equity because of the housing crisis, and because, if they have gone back to work, they aren't earning as much as they used to earn. The middle class is shrinking, as you well know, and the ranks of the poor are growing. So we have a demand problem in this

society.

The energy question, and the reason I am opposing your amendment is because our budget, our allocation is about $34 billion. If you look just at this year, we will have over $200 billion in imported energy that sucks the wealth out of this country and sends it somewhere else. The portion of our bill that deals with energy is not $34 billion, but maybe a third of that. So you have got maybe 10, 12 billion, $15 billion at the most in our bill that deals directly with energy versus over $200 billion

in terms of energy imports. So we are way out of balance as a society.

The portion of the investment that we make here to invent a new energy future is moving us in the right direction but too slowly.

So do I feel we are going to meet the needs that we need to for the future? I fear our generation is failing the next, as hard as we try here. If I look at the progress we have made, in 1998, that was the first year where America imported over half its energy. The decade before that it had been about 40 percent. Before that, the last 30 years we have hemorrhaged in bringing all this stuff in. This year, about 40 percent of what we consume will be imported. So we have moved from 1998, importing

50 percent of what we used, to 40 percent.

I think President Obama has made a difference. Some of my colleagues may not agree with that. But with drilling, opening up drilling on lands across this country, we have begun to close the gap.

Drilling our way out of this is not a total solution. We need new energy technologies. This bill moves us in that direction.

Don't allow your amendment to stop us from increasing our ability to become energy independent again and create the kind of demand inside this economy that will create the jobs that we need for the future to heal our middle class and move people out the ranks of poverty. So you are well-intentioned, but I think you are out of focus in terms of where the real challenge lies.

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

7:41 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I would like to rise in opposition to the gentleman's well-intentioned amendment, and it is obvious he pays attention to the math.

What is important about the math of our deficit is

that we haven't been growing fast enough to meet the needs of this country. We have a demand problem among vast numbers of the American people who aren't consuming as fast as they used to because they have lost their jobs, they have lost their equity because of the housing crisis, and because, if they have gone back to work, they aren't earning as much as they used to earn. The middle class is shrinking, as you well know, and the ranks of the poor are growing. So we have a demand problem in this

society.

The energy question, and the reason I am opposing your amendment is because our budget, our allocation is about $34 billion. If you look just at this year, we will have over $200 billion in imported energy that sucks the wealth out of this country and sends it somewhere else. The portion of our bill that deals with energy is not $34 billion, but maybe a third of that. So you have got maybe 10, 12 billion, $15 billion at the most in our bill that deals directly with energy versus over $200 billion

in terms of energy imports. So we are way out of balance as a society.

The portion of the investment that we make here to invent a new energy future is moving us in the right direction but too slowly.

So do I feel we are going to meet the needs that we need to for the future? I fear our generation is failing the next, as hard as we try here. If I look at the progress we have made, in 1998, that was the first year where America imported over half its energy. The decade before that it had been about 40 percent. Before that, the last 30 years we have hemorrhaged in bringing all this stuff in. This year, about 40 percent of what we consume will be imported. So we have moved from 1998, importing

50 percent of what we used, to 40 percent.

I think President Obama has made a difference. Some of my colleagues may not agree with that. But with drilling, opening up drilling on lands across this country, we have begun to close the gap.

Drilling our way out of this is not a total solution. We need new energy technologies. This bill moves us in that direction.

Don't allow your amendment to stop us from increasing our ability to become energy independent again and create the kind of demand inside this economy that will create the jobs that we need for the future to heal our middle class and move people out the ranks of poverty. So you are well-intentioned, but I think you are out of focus in terms of where the real challenge lies.

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

7:45 PM EDT

Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd

Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.

The motion was agreed to.

Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Womack) having assumed the chair, Mr. Simpson, Acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4923) making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution thereon.

END