May 24, 2016
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers spoke in support of H.R. 5055, the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, on the House floor today.
His statement follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5055, the fiscal year 2017 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
This legislation invests $37.4 billion in bipartisan priorities – our national security, critical infrastructure, and American energy independence. In total, this is a $259 million increase above last year’s level for these programs.
This increase is directed almost entirely to our nuclear national security. With ever-changing threats that span the globe, it’s imperative that our nation stays at the very pinnacle of preparedness.
This funding will help ensure that our stockpile is modern, secure, and ready to face any nuclear threat that may arise.
Another priority in this bill is the infrastructure that helps our economy prosper. This includes robust funding for the Army Corps of Engineers – a total of $6.1 billion, which is $100 million above last year’s levels and $1.5 billion above the President’s budget request.
This funding will go to activities that have a direct impact on public safety, that improve commerce and the movement of American products, and that support economic growth and job creation.
Lastly, this bill advances an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will help the nation move ever closer to our goal of energy independence. By investing in fossil fuels, nuclear, and other energy resources – we can help keep consumer energy prices affordable and make greater use of our domestic resources. This includes congressional efforts to support the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository for future use.
In order to make these targeted investments, the bill cuts back in other lower-priority areas. Renewable energy programs – which have received significant investments in recent years – were cut by $248 million from fiscal year 2016 levels.
The bill also prohibits tax dollars from being used for a harmful regulatory agenda that hampers our economy. This includes prohibiting funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to make any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act – protecting American farmers and ranchers and other job creators. The bill also protects coal and other mining operations from onerous efforts to change the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material.”
In sum, this bill is an investment in the growth of our American economy – supporting functioning and safe water resources and continued strides toward energy independence.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee Chairman, Mr. Simpson, the Ranking Member, Ms. Kaptur, and the rest of the Subcommittee for their hard work on this bill. I would also like to acknowledge the dedicated staff who have helped bring this bill before the House today.
I urge my colleagues to help promote a more secure and prosperous future for our nation, and vote “aye” on this bill.
Thank you, and I yield back.