A picture of Representative Gerald E. Connolly
Gerald C.
Democrat VA 11

About Rep. Gerald
  • Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3442, Debt Management and Fiscal
      Responsibility Act of 2015, and Providing for Consideration of H.R.

    by Representative Gerald E. Connolly

    Posted on 2016-02-10

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    CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from Massachusetts for his leadership.

    I want to say to my friend from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly), whom I respect and admire, this isn't like a simple, homespun, sit around the kitchen table and work this out and be responsible in paying our bills. I wish it were.

    That homespun couple in Pennsylvania or my district in Virginia can't start a war that is unpaid for in Iraq, can't decide to give wealthy people a tax cut that is unpaid for, can't run the U.S. economy into the ground that costs trillions of dollars in additional debt because of policy choices made in this Congress, not by the Secretary of the Treasury.

    It was Republican Vice President Cheney who actually said in the midst of all of that that debts no longer matter.

    So we are glad to see the new-found religion here on the floor of the House with our friends on the other side of the aisle, who are now once again concerned about debt, debt they helped accumulate to an obscene degree.

    I rise, Mr. Speaker, in opposition to not only that bill, but to the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act bill.

    It comes as no surprise to my constituents in Virginia that the most anti-environmental Congress--the House majority is now attempting to tell the National Science Foundation how they ought to do and award Federal research grants based on what Congress deems worthy.

    The House majority has been open about its climate denialism and candid about its outright political agenda against scientific fact. The very scientific community that we should trust to understand and forecast the effects of manmade global climate change is substituted in this bill by the United States Congress, a bunch of politicians.

    This bill is a solution in search of a problem. It threatens the National Science Foundation's gold-standard merit-review process that has resulted in groundbreaking research over the years, including medical, technological, agricultural, and public health advancements.

    Even worse, how are we to explain the majority's decision to exclude climate change, one of the most pressing global challenges we face, as one of the bill's seven national interest criteria? It is not even in there.

    I offered an amendment that would have ensured climate change is deemed in the national interest. The Republican majority would not even allow that amendment to come to this floor for debate.

    The NSF is helping to lead research in global climate change. For example, it was an NSF grant that launched a program in my district at George Mason University that will help television weather forecasters better inform and explain to viewers how climate change will affect us and those communities.

    {time} 1400 In 2013, Mr. Speaker, I visited a place called Ny-Alesund in Svalbard, Norway. This is the northernmost research installation in the planet in the Arctic Circle and a leading research and monitoring station that serves many of our international partners, including Norway, Italy, Japan, China, and the Netherlands.

    I saw firsthand on that visit the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice and rapidly retreating glaciers. The research NSF funds there will have environmental and geopolitical benefits to the U.S., and we should be expanding not retracting on those commitments. I ask: How is it that research is not in the national interest? This destructive bill will have a chilling effect on our research community, stifling ambitious research necessary to a 21st century future.

    Sadly, once again, the Republican majority insists on misinformation and belief over empirical evidence and science.

    I urge rejection of the bill.

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