Joyce Remarks at FY23 Interior and Environment Full Committee Markup

Jun 29, 2022

Thank you for yielding, Madam Chair.

I am pleased to be here with my colleagues today to consider the fiscal year 2023 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

I want to thank Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger for their continued leadership on the committee. I appreciate the work, dedication, and collaboration it has taken to get to this important step in the process. 

I also want to recognize my friend and colleague, Chair Pingree. Chair Pingree has been a fair and trusted leader, and I thank her for the work she has done on the many bipartisan priorities in this bill, and to her staff for their tireless efforts as well, as well as our staff.

The Interior bill provides funding for many important programs that help conserve and protect our nation’s most critical natural, cultural, and environmental resources. More than that, it makes investments that matter to communities, businesses, and industries across the country.

The bill provides strong support for our National Parks, helps fight catastrophic wildfires, addresses our aging water infrastructure and contaminated lands, and fully funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program.

For my home district in Ohio, which borders Lake Erie, I am grateful that the bill provides additional resources for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The GLRI is a strongly supported bipartisan effort to protect the Great Lakes from longstanding threats like harmful algal blooms, water pollution, invasive species, and coastal erosion. Building on fiscal year 2022 investments is key to protecting the Lakes for future generations.

And finally, I am pleased that the bill advances this committee’s longstanding effort to increase the federal commitment to honor our treaties and trust responsibilities with American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

The $12.6 billion dollar investment in Indian Country will support essential healthcare, education, law enforcement, and other programs. And a new provision will help ensure the sovereignty of Tribal laws.

Unfortunately, while I am supportive of many of the bipartisan components of the bill, I am unable to support it today given serious spending and policy concerns.

The bill provides a nearly $7 billion dollar increase in discretionary spending with most agencies receiving double-digit percent increases. Inflation is at a 40-year high, energy and food costs are on the rise, and Americans across the country are struggling to pay their bills.

Like American households, the federal government must make the tough choices to live within its means. It is imperative that Congress – and this committee in particular – work to rein in federal spending to protect future generations from crippling debt.

Beyond spending, I have serious concerns about the policy provisions included in this bill – specifically the impact on domestic energy production.

The bill fails to recognize the situation the country is now in and reverse the administration’s assault on conventional energy production. It eliminates longstanding, bipartisan provisions and adds new, controversial policy riders that would weaken U.S. energy and mineral security by limiting development of these and other natural resources. 

Given the rising energy costs and unprecedented prices we are seeing at the gas pump, it is now more important than ever that we continue to support an all-of-the-above domestic energy strategy.

New provisions would prevent and disincentivize domestic production, only making us more dependent on others—including our adversaries and others with questionable environmental and human rights policies. Simply put, these provisions undermine the American energy sector and fail to put American industries and businesses first. 

Utilizing all our domestic resources to increase production brings stability to the marketplace and to our energy grid, reduces energy costs, spurs economic growth, and creates good-paying jobs. More than that, it puts America back on the path to energy independence, which is imperative to our national security.

And for our farmers, I wanted to note my concern with language included in the report related to chlorpyrifos. The idea that this important crop protection tool, which is critical to farmers nationwide, has no safe use is categorically false, and I look forward to correcting the scientific record on this issue in conference.

In the fiscal year 2022 conference negotiation just months ago, similar controversial riders and policy provisions were dropped from the final agreement, and the same must be done again before this bill can be signed into law.

I want to reiterate my thanks to Chair Pingree for her leadership on this bill.  I’m confident that as we move through the FY23 process, we will be able to address controversial policy riders, reach a bipartisan agreement on spending, unleash domestic energy, and get America back on track.

Thank you, Madam Chair.  I yield back.