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Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


ADVANCED FUELS INFRASTRUCTURE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACT

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Chairman, like so many others who have come to the floor today, I rise in support of the underlying bill, H.R. 547. The underlying measure, without question, is one that is worthy of our support.

All of us, many of us in the course of our journeys to come here, gained the confidence of the electorate by talking about alternative energies and alternative fuel sources. I come from Illinois, which ranks second in corn production and is one of the leading producers of ethanol. In my district, I have over 140,000 residents who are directly employed in manufacturing, and they would greatly benefit from having clean fuels, that is, moving products around.

But as I was evaluating and meeting with my staff to talk about the underlying bill, there was a word that kept popping up in the analysis and that was a key word, new, N-E-W.

I know that in the course of my journey to come here, one of the things that I heard consistently throughout the course of the campaigning was that my constituents, Mr. Chairman, wanted us to live within our means. And so the amendment that I have offered is very, very simple. It directs the EPA that $10 million authorized for these three new programs that don't currently exist, created under the bill, would have to come from funds that are already appropriated. It is the simple measure of pay-as-you-go. You see, we don't get it both ways. We don't get to act as if we are fiscally disciplined, and yet at the first opportunity, not act fiscally disciplined.

My dad has a phrase that he communicated to me over and over and over when I was growing up and that was this. He said, ``Life is choices,' and I think we have a choice today to make. This is our first opportunity, with this open rule, to amend a new program that we have seen created in the 110th Congress. We didn't have that opportunity in other bills that have come along. But this is our first opportunity.

A $10 million appropriation, Mr. Chairman, or a $10 million authorization, is comparatively small, if you compare it to the overall EPA budget of $7.7 billion. It is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. But my argument is simple: that we need to show the American taxpayers that they can have confidence in us in these comparatively small programs, so that as we move in and continue through this Congress, as new programs are considered, that they are within the context of fiscal discipline.

Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment today to focus the House's attention on it and to bring the attention of the Nation to it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

It strikes me that everything the gentleman has said is actually consistent with the underlying amendment.

The amendment that is before the House simply says that it needs to make priorities and make those priorities clear. I take the gentleman at face value that the underlying program and the underlying $10 million is worthy of investment. But we don't get to have it both ways, it seems to me.

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