Chairman Rogers Floor Statement on FY 2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill

Jul 25, 2011

House Appropriations Chairman Rogers today made the following statement on the floor of the House in support of H.R. 2584, the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior, Environment and Related Appropriations Act:

"I rise today in support of H.R. 2584, the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act.

"This bill includes $27.5 billion in federal spending – a reduction of $2.1 billion below last year and $3.8 billion below the President’s request.

"Some have complained that these cuts are too much, too fast, but it is important to remember that these agencies and programs have seen unprecedented, massive increases in spending in recent years. This sort of excess has contributed to our astronomical debt and is threatening our recovery. We can’t simply fund unnecessary and ineffective programs when we are borrowing 40-plus cents on every dollar – we just can’t afford it.

"This legislation makes smart, significant cuts across each and every agency funded by this bill. This bill still adequately funds the agencies that are important to the health of our citizens, the stability of our economy, and the preservation of our environment, but we’ve made priority adjustments in areas that can and should withstand lower budgets. Some areas that will see bigger reductions include climate change programs, which is trimmed 22% from last year, and land acquisition funding, which is at a level nearly 79% lower than last year.

"Frankly, many of the cuts in this bill are just plain common-sense – particularly when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency. The reductions and provisions in this bill were made with very good reason – to rein in unparalleled, out-of-control spending and job-killing over-regulation.

"Though we all appreciate the core mission of the EPA, this agency has lost grips with economic reality and has become the epitome of the continued and damaging regulatory overreach of this Administration.

"We cannot allow an agency to circumvent the authority of Congress – especially when it has such destructive effects on our nation’s economic recovery. I’ve heard from Americans across the country and across every sector of the economy who attribute harsh regulatory burdens to their economic uncertainty – uncertainty that is crushing job growth.

"It’s my hope that this legislation sends the message loud and clear: 'Legislation by regulation' must stop. We’ve restricted funding for EPA personnel as well as addressed EPA’s flawed greenhouse gas regulations and de facto moratorium on mining permits in Appalachia. It is my hope that provisions like these will return the EPA to a better working order, facilitating a more effective government – sending money where it really needs to go and removing burdensome barriers to job creation to clear the way for economic recovery.

"I would like to thank Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Moran, the Subcommittee and staff for all their hard work on this bill. Chairman Simpson has lead the way on an excellent bill that makes good on our promise to reduce government spending with real, significant spending reforms. His Subcommittee held 22 oversight and budget hearings – more than any other subcommittee. I am confident that they have gone above and beyond to ensure that these cuts come from wasteful and redundant programs. I know these decisions were not made lightly, and were not easy, but they are responsible and will help us move in the right direction.

"Although it’s been difficult at times, this House should be proud to be moving this year’s appropriations process in regular order. With this bill, we will have finished more than half of the FY 12 appropriations bills before the recess, and nearly all of the bills have been moved through Subcommittee or Full Committee. This return to regular order has contributed to thoughtful, collaborative appropriations bills that reflect the will of the American people and that will help get our nation’s finances in order.

"I urge my colleagues to support this bill."