Chairman Rogers Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 4923, FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Jul 9, 2014

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 4923, the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4923, the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.

This is a balanced bill that makes important investments in our nation’s nuclear defense capabilities, as well as the water infrastructure and energy resources that keep our economy moving. And it does so in a fiscally sound manner, finding ways to save taxpayer dollars wherever possible.

First and foremost, this legislation prioritizes national security by increasing funding for nuclear weapons programs above last year’s level to support the safety and readiness of our nuclear stockpiles.

Maintaining this nation’s nuclear deterrence posture remains critical to our safety, particularly during a time of growing global instability and increasing risks of future nuclear threats.

Next, this bill includes investments in our water infrastructure that will also help grow our economy, facilitate trade and commerce, and ensure the well-being of our nation. Recognizing the importance of what the Army Corps of Engineers does, we have rejected the Administration’s proposed cuts to these programs – providing nearly $1 billion more than requested, and $25 million above last year’s levels.

This funding will allow the Army Corps to continue its important work performing flood mitigation, updating dam safety, and improving our waterways to facilitate increased import and export ability.

Within the Department of Energy, we prioritize funding for programs that encourage economic competitiveness and energy independence, and that help promote an “all of the above” solution to the nation’s energy needs.

By making sound investments in coal, natural gas, and other fossil energy sources, we are moving our nation closer to a balanced energy portfolio – as well as keeping down energy costs for hard-working Americans across the country.

To make these important investments, the bill targets lower-priority programs for cuts. For example, renewable energy programs with the Department of Energy are cut by $113 million from last year’s levels.

By implementing these types of savings and including stringent oversight requirements for the DOE, the Army Corps, and other federal agencies, we have produced a bill that will support economic growth and security, while encouraging the government to act with greater efficiency.

The legislation also puts the brakes on the Obama Administration’s destructive and misguided regulatory agenda that threatens our nation’s small businesses and other industries.

For example, within this bill, we have included a provision prohibiting the unnecessary expansion of federal jurisdiction over our nation’s waterways.

At one of the subcommittee’s many hearings regarding the federal budget just a few weeks ago, the Assistant Secretary for the Corps could not provide clear answers as to how much these regulations would cost the American taxpayer, how many man-hours it would take to implement, and how such a change would affect our struggling economy.

Since the Corps plainly has no idea what it is doing with this rule, it would be irresponsible, if not disastrous, to allow such a change to move forward.

The bill also stops the Administration from changing the definition of “fill material” – an action that could drastically alter federal regulations and could effectively shut down coal and other mining operations throughout the country. 

While this proposal is very troubling on many levels, I am most concerned about the unknown costs of this large-scale, invasive change. This is the type of over-zealous, unneeded regulation that will harm – not help – our economy in this sensitive time.

Mr. Speaker, before I close, I would like to thank Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Kaptur, the Subcommittee and the staff for their ahard work on this bill, and commend Chairman Simpson for a job well done on his first bill as Chairman of the Energy and Water Subcommittee.

This is a good bill that reflects smart budget decisions to invest tax dollars in effective, necessary programs that will help keep our nation safe and our economy growing. I urge my colleagues to vote “yes” on this bill.

Thank you, and I yield back.