Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Developmentby Representative Michael K. Simpson
Posted on 2014-12-11
SIMPSON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.
It should be noted also, Mr. Speaker, that this is the last time we expect to see you presiding before you retire also. You have done a marvelous job, and thank you for your service to this institution. I hope this vote doesn't go on for 3 hours and 45 minutes, but if there is anybody that can handle that, I am certain you have that experience.
I am pleased that after months of work, the committee has been able to bring this package together before the full House. I would like to thank my ranking member, Ms. Kaptur, for her close collaboration throughout the entire process of putting together the Energy and Water sections of the omnibus.
I would also like to thank the hard work of our Senate counterparts, Senator Feinstein and Senator Alexander, for their hard work in bringing this package together.
Now, I want to be clear: I didn't get everything I wanted in this bill; none of us did. But we have worked hard to ensure that the bill clearly reflects the will of the American people.
The bill makes critical investments and makes important policy changes that we will continue to build on in coming years. For instance, I am pleased with how strongly it invests in our national defense and water infrastructure. Weapons activities receives the largest increase in this bill, $387 million over last year. Within this level is full funding for the critical warheads such as the B-61 and the long-range standoff.
Investment in naval reactor programs increases by $144 million, including the full request for the Ohio class replacement reactor. Funding for the Army Corps of Engineers is modestly increased from last year, including not less than $1.1 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund activities. Last year, we directed no less than $1 billion.
We also include some policy changes critical to supporting our country's economic development in a responsible manner. New this year, we included provisions prohibiting the regulation of certain agricultural activities such as the construction and maintenance of farm ponds or irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act.
This is a major victory for our country's farmers and ranchers who consistently tell many of us that they are concerned about the potential of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers' overreach into their operations.
We continue prohibitions from last year against changes to the definition of fill material under the Clean Water Act and the implementation of the new lightbulb efficiency standards. These are commonsense provisions that protect consumers' choice and responsible commercial operations.
I think every one of us in this body including myself can think of other things that they wanted to see in this package and things they would have liked taken out, but overall, this bill moves the country forward in a balanced way and allows the new Congress to proceed with its most important obligation, that of governing this country.
I want to echo the words of my chairman, Mr. Rogers, how important the staff is in putting these bills together. Most people that don't serve on the committee don't know the time that they put in. They are here on Thanksgiving Day, trying to put together this package so that it will be ready for the floor, and they do incredible work, not only of the subcommittee that I am lucky enough to be the chairman of, but the staff of all the subcommittees, and they do a tremendous job, and we owe them a great deal of gratitude.
Mr. Speaker, this deserves our support.
Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentlelady from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur), the ranking member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.