tv U.S. House of Representatives House Debate on National Parks Funding CSPAN January 11, 2019 3:06pm-3:36pm EST
passed a bill that requires the federal workers who are currently affected by the government shutdown get back pay once the shutdown is over. it's day number 21. that measure now goes to the president for his signature. and the house today passing the fourth appropriations bill of the week, the interior spending bill includes the national park service and e.p.a. here's a look at the debate on that bill from earlier today. m yield myself such time as i may consume. rise today in support of h.r. 266, the fiscal year 2019 interior, environment, and related agencies appropriations bill. today is the 21st day of the trump shutdown and the damage it inflicts on the families and communities across this country continues to grow. more than 800,000 federal workers are without pay, and today will be the first missed paycheck for those families.
many of our civil servants are working without pay and telling them they have to file for unemployment is outrageous and it's wrong. today, democrats are offering this bill that provides critical funds to reopen the department of interior, the environmental protection agency, indian health service, and other important agencies. our national parks, america's crown jewels, are under threat. this administration continues to allow visitors to enter as if everything is normal. our park service does not have the funding to ensure visitors' safety and address the most basic standards of cleanliness and protect park assets. joshua tree national park is experiencing significant damage because there are not enough rangers to stop off-road driving in the park. new tracks are being cut into the sensitive landscape and many of joshua's trees, the precious namesake of this park, have been destroyed. just this past week, the department of interior
announced an illegal plan to forest parks to start redirecting funds from entry fees. now, those fees are designated for capital improvement projects and now they will be used to clean toilets. there is no substitute for the park system's annual operation budget of $2.5 billion. and as i said, lasting damage is being done to our national parks, and their long-term upkeep is being compromised. we must ensure public safety and protect our pristine spaces and that's why i'm calling on the national park service to close all parks until the government reopens. congress needs to pass this bill to fully fund and staff and protect our national parks. passing this bill will allow the forest service to get back to work on critical activities like hazardous fuel management. that work needs to happen now in order to prevent wildfires. the environmental protection
agency's mission to protect human health and the environment, but the trump shutdown has furloughed more than 13,000 employees, stopping inspections at drinking water systems, stopping inspections at hazardous waste management facilities, and stopping inspections at chemical facilities. this places the health of the american people and their communities in jeopardy. the trump shutdown is particularly threatening to the health and safety of our native american brothers and sisters. once again, we have failed to meet our treaty responsibilities to tribal nations. basic services like health clinics, tribal justice services, food assistance for seniors are being put at risk for nearly 1.9 million americans throughout indian country. approximately 54% of the indian health service budget goes to tribal organizations to run their own programs. during the trump shutdown, critical programs in indian
country run by tribal organizations stop. this includes domestic violence prevention initiatives, indian children programs, the suicide prevention program, and alcohol and substance abuse program. native american lifelines is an example of a health care program that is under contract with the indian health service. clinics focus on care for the needy and the elderly, and i am outraged to report that as of today, these remarks that i deliver, well, those clinics have been forced to close. and they will not be able to coordinate care for their patients. like the 80-year-old woman who depends on native american lifeline to help her manage her type 2 diabetes. it's time to reopen the government. the interior bill before us was drafted by the senate, passed overwhelmingly with a bipartisan vote of 92-6. this bill also should be
familiar to everyone as it was part of a six-bill package that passed overwhelmingly on the house floor with bipartisan votes last week. this bill provides $35.9 billion, which is $601 million over fiscal year 2018 enacted. it maintains funding for nearly every agency at or above fiscal 2018 enacted level. including the environmental protection agency. it's important to note, however, this bill does not contain any new partisan riders. now, clearly i would have written things differently, especially with regard to funding for indian country. however, this bill will immediately open up the department of interior and the peaverplet and other agencies and give us a path -- peaverplet and other agencies and give us a -- e.p.a. and other agencies and give us a path forward. republican leadership controlled the floor and they chose not to finish their work
and then we thought there was be a agreement to keep the government open while issues of homeland security were being worked out. senator mcconnell brought the continuing resolution to the floor of the senate, and it passed unanimously, but speaker ryan, along with president trump, decided to shut down the government and congress went home. now nearly 800,000 employees are without a paycheck today, and democrats are doing everything that we can to quickly pass a bipartisan bill to reopen the government. we need to finish last year's work so that we can move forward to serve the american people in 2019. so i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill and, madam speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. calvert: madam speaker, i rise in opposition to the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. calvert: thank you. i rise in opposition to h.r.
266, the democratic proposal for funding the department of interior, environmental protection agency, related agencies and the remainder for fiscal year 2019. this bill is almost entirely a senate product. as such, it ignores the bipartisan priorities of the house and perhaps even worse, it abdicates congressional responsibility under the constitution to keep the executive branch in check. before i get into the details of the bill, however, i want to congratulate my friend and colleague, betty mccollum, for her appointment as the new chair of the house appropriations subcommittee on interior, environment, and related agencies. she's been a tireless advocate for programs under the jurisdiction of this subcommittee, a firm but fair overseer of agency operations, a tough negotiator, and above all, a good friend. she'll be an outstanding chair. i wish her well, and i look forward to working with her in both of our new capacities.
madam speaker, over the past year, ms. mccollum and i worked in collaboration to write a bill representing the needs and priorities of the house. we held nine budget oversight hearings, including four hearings with nearly 80 tribal leaders regarding programs that honor treaty rights promised to our native brothers and sisters. we wrote a bill in some shape or form, roughly 93% of all house member requests, regardless of party, and on top of that, when the house came to the floor, 70 amendments were debated and 50 were adopted. when told to begin negotiating the house-passed bill last year, we defended it against competing priorities in the senate. and we came together on numerous topics to write a report language directive to maintain a check on the executive branch. i'm extremely proud of our work. we are so close to a final product. we shouldn't be throwing it all
away with a bill before us today, a bill that the senate has already said it will not consider. and the president will not sign. let me highlight just a few of the house priorities missing in this product which concern me the most and which are likely to concern our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. first, and foremost, the bill leaves all congressional report language and directives -- these directives are critical for keeping the executive branch in check. these directives are also the conduit through which the concerns of our constituents back home are heard directly by agency officials at the highest levels. all of our colleagues in the house who have worked with their constituents and worked with the appropriations committee over the past year to craft these directives understand the effort that went into them. and the impact they have on people's lives back home. the bill before us today throws that away all that important work. we included language to protect the california water fix from
fritch luss lawsuits -- frivolous lawsuits. by taking up the senate bill i'm prevented even fighting for my constituents, but this isn't about priorities. this is about all of the bipartisan priorities of the house of representatives that are flushed away by rubber stamping the senate bill. the bill provides $12 million less than last year's house passed bill for the u.s. geological surveys national hazards research, earthquake system. $21 million less for the forest service to clear dead and dying trees from our forests in order to prevent more catastrophic wildfires like the kind we experienced in my home state of california. these ounce of prevention programs save lives, save money, and with so many fires, earthquakes, volcanos, other natural disasters in recent years, these programs should be a higher funding priority than they are in this bill. additionally, this bill provides $77 million less than
the house republican bill for e.p.a.'s brownfields, superfund remedial programs. they leverage federal dollars, improve water infrastructure and spur economic development. instead this bill increases funding for e.p.a. regulatory programs in many parts of the country, particularly agricultural states. e.p.a. regulations and additional red tape are a bipartisan concern. even popular e.p.a. grant programs like the diesel admission reduction grants and target air grants were significantly reduced in this bill. the grants are essential to my home state of california where air quality remains one of our biggest concerns. my state and constituents rely on these grant programs to help improve air quality, public health by accelerating the replacement of older engines with new cleaner engines. for our national park service the bill before us today falls
$27 million short of the house-passed level for park operations, reducing the maintenance backlog. the park visitation on the rise, this is no time to cut corners on the budget. this bill also lacks important reforms implementation of the endangered species act, it lacks the funding needed to prevent the sage grouse from being listed. this bill is almost $10 million below last year's bill founding for historic preservation grants, including civil rights grants, and grants to underserved communities. the house felt so strongly about these programs it added $5 million in multiple amendments on the house floor last year. why would we give up all that funding acceding to the senate. last but certainly not least, this bill falls $160 million short of last year's house-passed bill and treaty obligations to american indians. and alaska natives through the
department of interior and the indian health service. early this week "usa today" with the latest news agency to run a front page article on the sad state of the mchealth care in indian country which is funded mostly through the indian health service in this bill. funding for the indian health service in this bill is $135 million below last year's house-passed level. for an indian health system that is also rationing the kind of health care most of us take or granted, every dollar makes a difference in the quality of life of one of our fellow americans. whose ancestors paid in advance with their lives, land to guarantee that the federal government would care for the health of their desendants. properly funding this obligation is not optional. the house heard from nearly 80 tribal leaders and hearings last year about the importance of funding these programs. let's not turn our backs on them now acceding to the senate position. madam speaker, for these
reasons and others i am strongly opposed to this bill, h.r. 266, and i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up to their constituents' priorities, stand for their constituents' priorities and oppose the bill as well. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewomalewoman is recogn. ms. mccollum: thank you, madam speaker. i couldn't agree more with my colleague and the former chair when we were developing the bill that we had a much superior product as we came out of conference committee, but it's time to move forward. speaker ryan did not bring that to the floor. we must move forward and begin our work. our important work on 2020. madam speaker, i yield 2 and a half minutes to the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. lowey, the chair woman of the full appropriations committee. the speaker pro tempore: the the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. lowey: madam speaker, the trump shut down is now in its 21st day. it is outrageous that more than
800,000 federal employees are going without pay. many of them while they are still working. and the american people are being denied vital services. all because of president trump's demands for a wasteful border wall. the bill before us today would reopen the environmental protection agency, department of the interior, and other critical agencies such as the indian health service and the chemical safety and hazard investigation board. the trump shut down has suspended cleanups of hazardous materials, delayed lifesaving rule making to keep toxic chemicals out of american homes. the trump shut down threatens the enduring natural beauty and conservation efforts of our national parks as trash piles up and the safety of visitors is in question. public health and safety should
not be political bargaining trips. house democrats have passed bills to open the government, but the president and the senate republicans continue to obstruct and delay instead of working with us to get the people's business done. the solution to this crisis is simple. pass the bills where we can agree. extend funding for homeland security for a month to allow time to negotiateation onboarder security and immigration policy. i hope that my colleagues across the capitol come to their senses and stop this ridiculous trump shut down. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. calvert: i yield as much time as she may consume to the the gentlewoman from texas, the ranking member of the appropriations committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized. ms. granger: thank you. madam speaker, i rise today in opposition to h.r. 266. unfortunately, moving this bill across the house floor will not
resolve the partial government shutdown as the president said he will not sign this bill into law. it's the job and responsibility of congress to appropriate funds. we must come together to find a solution that will reopen the government and fund border security. we need a a compromise that represents the will of both chambers anti-american people. by considering the senate-passed version of the appropriations bill, we're eliminating house members' involvement in the process. this bill isn't particularly ignores 93% of all house member requests that were included in our bill, including the 50 amendments that were adopted on the floor. this appropriations bill for the interior department fails to include the $12 million that house members provided to u.s. geological survey programs like the earthquake early warning system that saves lives. it also reduces the amount of funds available to clear debt
and dying trees from forest -- dead and dying trees from forest to help end the devastating wildfires we saw this year. we have heard a lot about the national park service during this shut down. this bill reduces fund being for our national parks by $27 million. -- these are just a few of the priorities of the house not included in this bill before us. madam speaker, republicans stand ready and willing to negotiate with our friends on the other side of the aisle on legislation that includes priorities of both parties and both chambers. that's how this legislative body and our system of government is designed to work. i want to thank my colleague from california, mr. calvert, for his efforts today and over the last several months to ensure that the house's voice is heard this this debate. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized.
the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. mccollum: madam speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. lee, a member of the appropriations committee. the speaker pro tempore: the the gentlewoman from california is recognized. ms. lee: thank you very much, madam speaker. let me thank chairwoman mccollum for her leadership on this issue as we try to get the government opened. i rise in strong support of the fiscal 2019 interior appropriations bill which provides $35 billion to partially reopen the government. now, this bill would also reopen our beautiful national parks and the smithsonian museums. the situation in our parks right now is not acceptable. 16,000 park service employees are not working. et me repeat that 16,000 employees. the national park service is losing $400,000 a day from this shut down when uncollected garbage is also piling up. madam speaker, this is
horrible. it's ridiculous. we need this bill to reopen our parks, our museums, and visitor centers right away. we need to pass this bill to keep visitors safe and in the burr low of law enforcement personnel in our national parks. madam speaker, these closings are impacting every kiss trict in our nation. near my own district, for example, in the beautiful bay area, mir woods had to close this week. in addition to wreaking havoc on federal workers' lives, their families, their children, their livelihoods, this trump shut down is also having an effect on tourism and the economy. so i urge he my colleagues to vote yes on this bill and yes to reopening the government. the public deserves this. federal workers deserve this. contractors deserve this. the parks, our museums should be open for visitors to visit.
we need to get this government working again. thank you again, chairwoman betty mccollum. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chairwoman reserves the gentleman is recognized. mr. calvert: i thank the gentlelady. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from alabama, mr. aderholt. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. aderholt: thank you, madam speaker. thank you, ranking member calvert, and thank you, ranking member calvert for your leadership on this bill that we passed back in december. but unfortunately as you know i'm rising, madam speaker, in opposition of h.r. 266. what we have before us today, however, is yet another democratic appropriation bill that fails to reflect the house priorities. this time it ignores 93% of all the house member requests included in the house bill and in the report. i'd like to point out just a a few of the many house member priorities that were addressed
in the house republican interior and environment tpwhail are not addressed in this current bill. compared to the house republican bill, this bill reduces funding for hazardous fuel reduction projects by $21 million. it also reduces funding for operation and maintenance of the national parks -- national park service by $27 million. it does not include any of the endangered species act reforms which are absolutely necessary for the law to work in a practical way. therefore, madam speaker, rather than spending our time debating senate-passed legislation, which fails to reflect any house priorities, i ask that the democrats come to the negotiation -- negotiating table so we can can secure our border, so we can keep america safe, and we can resolve this partial shutdown that we're now entering on its 21st day. i urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and i yield back the balance of my time.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. mccollum: thank you, maryland madam chair. the time to pass the 2019 bill was december of last year. we need to move forward. my priority is to get the government opened, to get it back working for the american people and have the federal employees working so hard and those who are forced to be home to have a paycheck. with that, madam speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from florida, ms. wasserman schultz, who is the chair designee of the va milcon subcommittee of the appropriations committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida is recognized. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you, madam speaker. i thank the gentlewoman for yielding. i rise today to urge my colleagues to support this appropriations bill which provides funding for the department of the interior, the environmental protection agency, and related agencies. this bill would provide vital funding for water infrastructure, state drinking water systems, national parks, and everglades restoration projects. tweef been locket in a nonsensical shut down bus president trump continues to insist on his ineffective
border wall scheme. while the president throws a tantrum people are suffering and our environment is suffering. many of us have seen the pictures of the piles of garbage and our environment cannot withstand this onslaught. they are overflowing in many of our national parks. our national parks are the crown jewels of our nation's natural heritage. in 2017 the national park service had 330 million visits, including more than 10 million in my home state of florida. these visits are not just from americans but people around the world who came to see the natural wonders america has to offer. in 2017, national parks contributed $35.8 billion to the nation's economy and $613 million to florida's economy. and they supported 306,000 jobs nationwide. today many are closed or short staffed and diminished law enforcement presence puts the well-being of visitors and wildlife at risk. this is not the only major consequence of president trump and congressional republicans' efforts to block funding for
the shuttered agencies that would be restored by this legislation. e.p.a. has stopped making inspections of drinking water systems, hazardous waste management sites, and chemical facilities. during the last long shutdown in 2013, e.p.a. stopped inspecter more than 1,200 sites of environmental concern. now more than ever we need the ep taupe provide vigorous guidance. no one knows this more than the rest kents of flint, michigan, whose water is still not safe to drink. and closetory my home, floridians in ocala face the contamination of their water by harmful fire retardants used at the nearby fire college. halting inspections leaves communities like these more vulnerable. these cuts can truly impact the people that we're elected to serve and i urge my colleagues to vote for this bill so that the senate can once again pass it and government can be reopened. with that i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from yields. the gentlewoman from minnesota
reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. calvert: mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentleman from idaho, the former chairman of the committee, mr. simpson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. simpson: i thank my friend from california for yielding and for the job he's done as chairman of this interior subcommittee in the past. let me begin by saying we all want the government to reopen, all on this side, all on that side want the government to reopen. we don't agree with the shutdown. i want strong border security. i know you want strong border security. we disagree how we get there. these can both be accomplished with a little word called compromise. i heard everybody go back to that word. i looked up in the dictionary because i thought i was mistaken what it is. it's a settlement of differences by mutual concessions and agreement reached by adjusting and conflicting claims by reciprocal modification of demands. we can't it a compromise and then go back to our hardened
positions and say i want everything i want and you get nothing you want. this bill is not a compromise. if you would bring up the compromised conference bills between the house and the senate you'd have my support. but that's not what this is. this is the senate bill. we have a conference bill between the house and senate that was prepared to be brought to the floor last year, never made it. bring up that conference report. unfortunately, by adopting just the senate bill we might not even have a house chamber. why have a house chamber if all we're going to do is adopt whatever the senate's decides to do? this bill, as has been mentioned, reduces funding by $160 million from the house bill for indian country. $21 million reduction for hazardous fuels reduction to prevent wildfires. $23 million reduction on sadge greenhouse funding. $27 million reduction from the
house bill for national park funding that is needed to solve the maintenance backlog. $12 million reduction from the house bill for water infrastructure financing act, which is critical to financing community water projects given the enormous backlogs that exists for our water system. the bill also leaves out vital report language directives from the house bill that were carefully crafted to represent house members' priorities, both republican and democrat priorities. they are being totally ignored with this legislation. and in the end, we all know this isn't going anywhere. this is just a game. and i got to tell you, mr. speaker, i'm tired. i'm tired of the finger-pointing, the name-calling, the games we're playing. i know that on the democratic side of the aisle you're getting phone calls by the hundreds if not thousands from your constituents that say don't give into trump, don't
give into any border security wall or fencing or whatever. we're getting the same phone calls on our side saying don't you vote for anything that has trump's border -- that doesn't have trump's border wall in it. as elected representatives we're called upon to lead regardless of the consequences. and i have to say we've all failed. all of us. and for that i am very, very sorry. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from idaho yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentlewoman from minnesota is recognized. ms. mccollum: thank you, mr. chair. so i have a rhetorical question and that would be, if we had been able to bring the continuing resolution to the floor, if we would have been we'll leave this house debate to go to the president at the white house. he's been conving a briefing on border security with state and loca