Western Caucus Members Rebuke Passage of Reckless Spending Package

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Washington, June 25, 2019 | Ben Goldey | comments
Members of the Congressional Western Caucus released statements in response to House passage of H.R. 3055, legislation that attempts to fund the Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills for fiscal year 2020
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Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus released statements in response to House passage of H.R. 3055, legislation that attempts to fund the Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills for fiscal year 2020:

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “This reckless spending bill busts budget caps, attacks responsible energy production, prohibits funding for the border wall, and foregoes long-standing Second Amendment protections. Furthermore, this bill fails to include numerous Western Caucus priorities that have been included in the past with strong bipartisan support. This partisan wish list is not worth the paper it is printed on and will never be signed into law. We must get serious about getting our fiscal house in order, growing government and increasing federal spending is not the way to do it.

Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large): “This spending bill is a disaster for Alaska. Last week, the Democrats wanted to prohibit the EPA from scientifically determining whether the Pebble Project should be permitted. This week, they’re trying to shut down ANWR and close what is left of the logging industry in the Tongass. They’ve removed protections for users of small remote incinerators in Alaska and stripped a provision to protect red cedar timber sales. Democrats, most of whom have never been to Alaska, seem to think they know what’s best for my state. This bill is bad for Alaska.”

Chief Regulatory Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05): “H.R. 3055 has several harmful elements, but one of the most concerning items in this bill is the massive funding for federal land acquisition accounts. I introduced an amendment to gut these accounts, which would have saved $385 million taxpayer dollars, preventing unelected bureaucrats from further expanding the federal estate. However, this amendment did not get a vote on the House floor. Regardless of this result, my Republican colleagues and I will continue fighting for western interests, and against Congress’s careless spending habits, which have created a national security crisis for our children and grandchildren.”

Chief Agriculture and Business Officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): “This spending package offered by House Democrats is an irresponsible and unrealistic use of taxpayer dollars. With no budget agreement seemingly in sight, these bills raise spending by $176 billion above current budget caps, which could lead to disastrous cuts to our military down the road. These bills willfully ignore our worsening border crisis by prohibiting funding to build any sort of physical barrier at the southern border. This package also prevents the Administration from recovering funding from the failed California High Speed Rail project – a refund that I have introduced a bill to initiate – despite the fact that this project somehow grows more expensive and less practical by the day. I hope our colleagues in the Senate can offer a far more realistic and bipartisan appropriations package than what we voted on today.”

Rep. James Comer (KY-01): “Beyond the massive amount of money H.R. 3055 will add to the deficit, provisions of this spending package put our national security at risk. It prohibits funding for a border wall or any kind of barrier along our southern border. My fellow Congressmen and women always speak on protecting taxpayers’ dollars, yet H.R. 3055 allows taxpayer funds to pay for lawyers of migrants crossing the border. On that same note, it prohibits the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 census - a question that is not new, has been on the decennial before, and is a standard question on the American Community Survey.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03): “The latest Democrat spending bill is wildly out of touch with the American people’s priorities. The bill busts the budget caps, eliminates longstanding pro-life protections, restricts much-needed border wall construction, includes poison provisions that attack American energy dominance, and even allows tax dollars to be used on lawyers for illegal immigrants. These provisions show the Democrats’ continued push to the left knowing full well the President won’t sign the legislation. I couldn’t support such an irresponsible bill that grows the size of the government and throws fiscal sanity out the window.”

Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04): “This appropriations bill is a shameful attempt by Democrats to push dangerous, partisan policies while failing to address the most critical issues facing our nation. This ‘minibus’ irresponsibly increases spending, fails to adequately address the crisis at our border and threatens national security. Rather than seeking real solutions, our friends on the other side of the aisle have abdicated their responsibility to produce a budget and, instead, continue to promote excessive spending bills that threaten the future prosperity of all Americans. The fiscal insanity in Congress must stop. The American people deserve better.”

Background:

Today, House Democrats passed their second “minibus” appropriations bill, a five-bill package in the form of H.R. 3055, that attempts to fund the Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills for fiscal year 2020.

This five-bill package is void of reality and contains excessive federal spending that busts through the budget caps. The bill contains numerous poison pills and omits important Western Caucus priorities. The bill package totals more than $383.3 billion in discretionary spending, including $13.8 billion for the Interior Department which is $2.4 billion above the president's budget request and $9.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, the second-highest budget in the history of the EPA.

Some poison pills found in the bill include:

· Section 118, a political rider that aims to block responsible energy production in ANWR.
· Section 117, a political rider that blocks offshore oil and gas leasing.
· Section 107, increases fees for OCS drilling rigs.
· Section 108, requires disclosure of sensitive information and waivers in relation to the previous administration’s well control rule. The Obama Administration started these waivers.
· A Grijalva amendment that removes uranium from the critical minerals list.
· A Grijalva amendment that blocks DOI land transfers that would help build the President’s wall.
· A DeFazio amendment that blocks Section 4(b) of President Trump’s Executive Order 13868, which allows LNG to be transported in approved rail tank cars.
· A Lujan amendment that implements a mineral withdrawal around Chaco Canyon.
· A Cunningham amendment that prohibits funds for defense projects that don’t meet certain climate change requirements.
·  A Cunningham amendment that prohibits funding for BOEM permits for oil and gas exploration, including seismic, in the Atlantic Ocean.
· A Cunningham amendment that prohibits funding for NOAA permits for oil and gas exploration, including seismic, in the Atlantic Ocean.
· A Pallone amendment that establishes a moratorium on OCS oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic.
· A Wasserman Schultz amendment that establishes a moratorium on OCS oil and gas leasing around Florida.
· A Carbajal amendment that imposes establishes a moratorium on OCS oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Ocean.
·  A Blumenauer amendment that prohibits active forest management in the Tongass National Forest.
· A Schrier amendment that blocks funding for the Trump Admin to fix the Obama admin’s EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standard rule.
· A Jeffries amendment that bans the sale of plastic water bottles by the National Park Service.
· A Lowenthal amendment that bans the Trump Admin’s rule that replaced the job-killing ONRR rule.
· A Casten amendment that requires USGS to use expensive climate modeling tools not based on science.
· Imposes an expensive carbon capture mandate for all new coal plants.
· An amendment that prohibits importing elephant or lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia or Tanzania.
· An amendment that authorizes hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal land acquisition spending.
· Several other poison pills opposed by the Administration.

Western Caucus priorities omitted that have been previously included: 

· Fails to repeal or blocking the Obama administration’s job-killing WOTUS rule.
· Fails to prohibit funding for regulating lead ammo/tackle.
· Omits long-standing Second Amendment protections previously included on a bipartisan basis.
· Fails to block the Obama administration’s flawed Social Cost of Carbon models.
· Fails to block the Obama Administration’s EPA Methane rule.
· Fails to block the Obama Administration’s job-killing National Ocean Policy.
· Fails to prevent an ESA listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken.
· Fails to delist the Gray wolf.
· Fails to block funding for Obama Administration’s EPA’s manure rule.
· Fails to block funding for Obama Administration’s EPA’s cow methane rule.
· Fails to block funding for prohibiting mining in the Rainy River Watershed.
· Fails to delist the Mexican Gray wolf and allow for responsible state management.
· Fails to prevent an ESA listing of the Greater Sage Grouse.
· Fails to block EPA’s rule on emissions for small remote incinerators in Alaska.
· Fails to block Antiquities designations in certain states with local opposition.

Other key Western Caucus priorities not included:

· Fails to include DOI and USFS proposed legislative package for active forest management.
· Fails to provide funding to support DOI’s reorganization effort.
· Fails to block the Obama Administration’s Endangerment Finding.
· Fails to block preemptive vetoes of important projects by the EPA.
· Fails to protect private water rights from unconstitutional takings.
· Fails to block funds for a new carbon tax.


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