10:26 PM EDT
John Mica, R-FL 7th

Mr. MICA. Thank you, Madam Chair, and I am sorry the minority didn't have a copy of this fine amendment. It was modified slightly from the original [Page: H5567]

submission to comply with the requirements of the Parliamentarian to be in order.

Let me say at this late hour I won't take too much time. I am from the authorizing side, and it's always good to come here and hear the difficulties that the appropriators have in trying to make choices, and tonight is about making choices.

I do have to compliment Mr. Simpson, the chair of the subcommittee; Mr. Hastings, the chair of the full committee; and the ranking members, Mr. Moran and Mr. Dicks, for their efforts, being up late at night and making these difficult choices in some very tough economic times.

Normally, I wouldn't come here and tell you what to do; but, again, coming from a State that has some 11 parks and preserves and national monuments, I have a great interest in some of these accounts.

Now, we all have to set priorities; and as I said, these are difficult times. The Department of the Interior, I noticed, had, I guess, in 2010 just under $11 billion that's being cut to $9.8 billion, a 7 percent reduction. People ask me about transportation projects. Whether it is FAA, on transportation, I'm reducing some of the accounts by 30 percent in authorization, so I know the difficulty you're facing.

Now, I also looked at some of the other accounts here. EPA, I think folks would be shocked to find EPA has $7.1 billion in this bill. That's quite a bit to operate that agency. Well, the National Park Service has $2.5 billion. I think if you ask people on the street where would you put the dollars, I think they would like to see something very tangible. They appreciate their national parks. And, again, you have difficult priorities.

My amendment is simple. It takes $2 million out of EPA's account for management programs, and it transfers it to the National Park Construction Account.

Now, this is not going to resolve a $10 billion backlog in maintenance and construction projects. I can give you examples. Just a few miles from here, Harpers Ferry, they have a $59 million deferred maintenance account pending. Florida, with its 11 parks and preserves and national monuments, has a $4 million backlog. And, again, my amendment won't solve even Florida's problem.

[Time: 22:30]

Even closer to home in my district--and I want to thank again the chairman of the committee and the chairman of the subcommittee and staff for working with me--we are attempting, after authorization in 2004, to finally finish a visitors center. I want to make certain that the Castillo San Marco Visitor Center and the backlog of some of Florida's 11 parks and national monuments, their maintenance and some of their construction costs, that we have those funds available. So that's why I offered

this amendment.

Again, I know you have difficult choices. This won't resolve the pending needs either in the State of Florida or nationally. That being said, and also stating my position and intent, and knowing that the committee and I know Mr. Simpson is anxious to work with me and is committed to work with me, Mr. Hastings and staff, and in the interest of time and also not pressing the issue beyond my ability to retain my friendship and strong working relationship, I ask unanimous consent

to withdraw my amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.

There was no objection.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.