Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today with an amendment which will strip funding from the bill that is aimed at implementing a new National Climate Service. At best, this new Federal agency is duplicative. At worst, this is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars for an endeavor which is not even based on sound science.
Mr. Chairman, there is no consensus among policymakers, academics, researchers or bureaucrats about how a National Climate Service should even be structured, and yet here we are funding it. This lack of agreement was not more evident than during a Science and Technology subcommittee hearing just last month regarding the development of this exact agency.
At that hearing, four alternate structured proposals were presented by different witnesses. They ranged from merging existing agencies to the creation of a nonprofit entity to provide this research, but each and every one of them was shot down.
In order to implement any entity of this nature, we must first be sure that the infrastructure for monitoring our weather and climate patterns is already in place, but that infrastructure is currently not there. In fact, according to the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. climate observing system is in rapid decline. This includes both our ground-based and our satellite-based measuring systems. Updating these systems and making sure of the information they provide should be the foremost priority
when it comes to monitoring our climate.
In fact, just today, in the Committee of Science and Technology, we just heard how the polar orbiting satellite system has tremendous cost overruns, how they're not flying the satellites and how NOAA and the Defense Department, particularly NOAA, desperately need these satellites to help them give us proper weather predictions. Yet we're not funding that. We're funding this National Climate Service, and we're putting off these pressing needs. We're focusing on establishing yet another bureaucratic
web to navigate through. We're doing nothing more than decreasing efficiency and increasing Federal red tape.
What we know for sure is that this new, unnecessary agency will grant broad-sweeping authority to the executive branch with little congressional input. That's it. The details are being left up to some Federal bureaucrat. As we all know by now, the devil is in the details.
Additionally, there is an absolute dearth of information regarding the costs and benefits of setting up such an entity. Without such basic knowledge, how in the world can we, in good conscience, fund this rudderless endeavor? We have no assurances that this National Climate Service will turn out to be anything more than a new regulatory agency for the proposed tax-and-cap scheme, but maybe that's really the goal here.
I do not like to think ill of the intentions of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle; but with such an ambiguous mandate with, obviously, little congressional oversight, what else are we to assume?
Time and time again, this Congress has jumped headfirst into the deep end of issues which we still know little about. The Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout, the stimulus, and now the National Climate Service are all prime examples of how Congress' eyes are bigger than its grasp.
So I ask my colleagues to please support my amendment. Let's reevaluate this attempt at funding an impudent new agency. Let's stop the funding for the new National Climate Service. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I would first point out to the gentleman that I am not sure this is the bill on which the gentleman should make his arguments against a National Climate Service.
It is true that there is considerable discussion within the administration and outside of government in consideration of a National Climate Service and also in the authorizing committees here in the Congress.
It is also true that we have some money in this bill--for research and satellites--that is in anticipation of an authorization of a National Climate Service. That money is also needed by the Weather Service. Of course, the gentleman understands we fund the National Weather Service through the Commerce Department accounts.
To really try to impact or prevent the creation of the National Climate Service, I would suggest to the gentleman that this is the wrong place to go. We ought to respect the authorizing process. The gentleman, I would assume, will direct his efforts with regard to frustrating the creation of a National Climate Service to the authorizing process--and the gentleman may serve on that committee, I don't know. That's the place where, respectfully, where you could better direct your efforts. An appropriations
bill, particularly in one in which the organization is not even stood up, is, I think, the wrong place for the gentleman to direct his energies.
So, for that reason and others that deal with the necessity for this Nation and for the world to better understand what is happening to the world's climate and how global climate change is going to adversely impact our lives, I would oppose the gentleman's amendment.
Most importantly, I would just like to suggest to the gentleman that this isn't the place to deal with this issue particularly at this time.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Well, I respectfully disagree with my friend that this is not the place. We are throwing money at something that has not been established, and you're funding something that's not needed--a whole new agency. NOAA has no clue of how to deal with this new National Climate Service. In the Science Committee, we've gone through the authorization process, and we've had multiple proposals given to us. Over and over again, the majority has shot down every proposal besides just establishing
this new agency that's not needed.
Nobody knows how to operate this thing. Nobody knows what it's going to do. If, indeed, this is funded, it is going to totally remove from Congress any oversight or anything else, and it is going to put it in the executive branch. We've got to save the taxpayers' dollars. We've got to stop this egregious spending of money that we don't have. It just has to stop.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I would close my opposition with the observation that there are no funds in the bill to establish a National Climate Service. There is money in the bill to fund weather observations, which relate to climate observations, and which is collected in the normal course of the National Weather Service's operations.
We anticipate the authorizing committee will come forward with such a suggestion. We'll see how it fares on the floor of the House and in Congress and if the President signs it into law as time goes forward; but there is, in fact, no money going to establish the National Climate Service in this bill.
Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Will you assure me that, in conference, if the authorizers do not put into place an authorization of new climate service that no funds will be expended on establishing a new National Climate Service?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. No, for the same reason I wouldn't assure the gentleman from Indiana before.
What happens in conference is in the context of all of the issues that are being considered in conference. So I can't predict that future, and I won't [Page: H6955]
commit to any specific attitude in conference.
I will point out that the authorizing committee is considering this. We respect the authorizing committee process. If they were not to authorize a National Climate Service, then that would be something that we would take seriously into account as we engage in conference with the Senate.