|1:03 PM EDT||
Hal Rogers, R-KY 5th
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Chairman, this is a great bill. It's a model of fiscal restraint. I can attest to the fact that the committee has taken a long, hard look at each and every line in this bill to make sure that we are getting the greatest value from each and every taxpayer dollar spent, cutting back funding for programs that are not operating up to par. This bill is also proof that we can make these commonsense spending reductions without damaging or impairing the programs that help
keep our country safe and our citizens at work.
This legislation rightly appropriates taxpayer dollars where they should be, in programs that provide the greatest benefits to the American people and that get the economy moving again. This includes $30.6 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy and a host of independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Now, that is $5.9 billion below the President's request; it's a billion dollars below current spending levels.
The Energy and Water appropriations bill funds important work that affects every community in every single one of our colleagues' districts. These are the quality-of-life programs that preserve our public safety and our economic competitiveness, including energy
independence programs and national defense programs within the Department of Energy. This bill supports Army Corps construction projects, projects which are vital to national security and which are of a tangible impact on job creation.
But this year's bill is unlike any Energy and Water appropriations bill in recent memory, or perhaps even in history, in one major way. Some of our colleagues and critics were no doubt wondering how we could write this bill under the earmark moratorium, but I am proud that we have been able to craft a responsible bill that funds projects across the Nation without one single earmark. By doing so, we have made the process much more transparent, requiring that organizations like the Corps provide
an outline of how, when, and why they are spending precious Federal dollars while maintaining the constitutionally mandated congressional authority over budget decisions. We have retained the power of the purse and strict oversight of these agencies.
On the subject of oversight, I would like particularly to note that $35 million is included to continue the Yucca Mountain review process. The committee has supported these efforts for years, and I am relieved to see that the rest of Congress is finally beginning to see the light and support this program and to realize the extent to which the administration's position ignores good science and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars.
While providing the vital funding for our Nation's energy and water programs, the bill abides by the committee's promise, and my promise as chairman, that we would cut spending wherever and whenever we can.
I must commend Chairman Frelinghuysen and the subcommittee members and staff and the ranking member who have worked so closely together on this bill. They have found the significant spending reductions in areas that seem excessive and unnecessary increases, and in these accounts with large unspent balances. This is the responsible and serious way to get our budgets back into balance and to help keep us on track toward economic recovery.
Again, I want to thank Mr. Visclosky and Chairman Frelinghuysen for doing a great job in bringing a bill to the floor under difficult circumstances. They work collegially and they work intelligently together, and I want to particularly thank the subcommittee staff on both sides of the aisle for their tireless effort putting together this legislation.
Mr. Chairman, this is a good bill that all of us can support, and I urge that we do just that.