Ms. SCHWARTZ. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
First, let me say I'm strongly supportive of the underlying bill that we are debating today. I think it moves us forward toward energy independence. It's exciting for all American businesses, for conservation, for energy efficiency and for the future of this country and this world.
My amendment is fairly straightforward. It helps us move us toward more green policies. Each year, the Federal Government spends $14 billion for travel, most of that money going for hotels and for meeting spaces. These are taxpayer dollars that should be used to encourage the reduction of energy consumption. For instance, if one hotel initiates a linen and towel reuse program, it can conserve 200 barrels of oil, enough to run a family car 180,000 miles.
My amendment moves the United States towards green government by ensuring that the Federal Government considers the environmental benefits of the vendors with which they contract for meetings and conferences. This proposal expands upon a policy already used by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA says this policy, they hope, ``is seen as a template that eventually may be emulated governmentwide.'' My amendment expedites implementation of this policy across the Federal Government and requires that within 180 days all Federal agencies must consider the environmentally preferable features and practices of a vendor in a manner that's substantially similar to the EPA.
I urge support of this amendment.