July 12, 2011
"Today, we consider the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior Appropriations bill. I know that Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Moran, the Subcommittee and staff on both sides have put a great deal of effort and care into this bill we have before us today, and I thank them for their work.
"This bill cuts funding from agencies and programs that have seen unparalleled levels of federal spending in recent years. This sort of excess only adds to our record-setting debt, and pushes us in the wrong direction on the road to recovery. We simply cannot keep borrowing 40-plus cents on every dollar to support our spending habits if we would like to keep our economy moving. This bill upholds our commitment to the American people to reduce the size and scope of government and helps our nation move towards a more sustainable fiscal path.
"This legislation is a great example of the hard but necessary work the Appropriations Committee is doing to get our fiscal house in order by cutting extraneous, duplicative and unnecessary spending. The FY12 Interior Appropriations bill includes $27.5 billion – a cut of over $2 billion – to fund programs within the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Service, and other agencies.
"Though this bill would enforce a deep cut in spending for these agencies, we cannot deny the importance of this bill. The programs funded in this bill affect each and every community – from supporting National Parks across our nation, to protecting our forests and towns from wild fires, to sustaining arts and humanities programs, to improving safety and availability of offshore oil and gas exploration through the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
"Chairman Simpson and this Subcommittee held 22 oversight and budget hearings – more than any other subcommittee. I am confident that this subcommittee has gone beyond due diligence in its oversight to pinpoint and cut wasteful and redundant programs and funding requests. These cuts were not easy and they were not taken lightly, but they are the responsible cuts necessary to move our country in the right direction.
"We’ve paid a lot of attention to the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the actions this bill takes related to the EPA are for good purposes – to rein in excessive spending and out-of-control over-regulation. I believe that the mission of the EPA is a good one – it is vital to maintain the health of our citizens and preventing future environmental degradation – but this agency has become the poster child for this Administration’s widespread regulatory overreach in its attempts to skirt the authority of Congress.
"It deeply troubles me that Americans across the country – and across every sector of the economy, from agriculture to manufacturing – pinpoint harsh regulatory burdens as a main factor in their economic uncertainty. Members on both sides of the aisle agree: This constitutionally dubious “legislation by regulation” must come to an end.
"This bill sends this message to the agency by capping EPA personnel and taking explicit action to address EPA’s wrong-headed greenhouse gas regulations, its de facto moratorium on mining permits in Appalachia and its obstruction of OCS permitting, to name a few. I am hopeful that these provisions are sufficient to prod EPA in the right direction.
"Again, I want to thank this Committee for their commitment to moving through regular order on this year’s appropriations bills. I’m pleased that three-quarters of the appropriations bills are through subcommittee and that we’re on track to have the House consider nearly as many bills before the recess. This return to regular order has led to a successful, open and collaborative appropriations process.
"I urge the Committee to report this bill to the House and yield back."