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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 20, 2007)

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Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Chairman, as a former member of the Clean Air Resources Board in California, as I think a lot of people in this town know, one of the premier air pollution agencies in the world, the one thing that we have got to send a message out there is ``do no harm.'' Even though the chairman may think that there isn't a need to send a message, I think we need to say very clearly that climate change is a threat, something we need to address. We have to be willing to make sure we do the right things now.

This amendment is really a way for us to start off right from the get-go that we are not going to allow a mistake to happen that could cause major impacts on climate emissions and that we just didn't care enough to pass this resolution.

I strongly support the amendment of the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Shadegg) because I think we should say right off, our first step at reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to make sure we do not decommission any zero generators from this point forward unless it is part of a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases. So please, here is a motion at least we can stand up and say, we did no harm; we made sure that a mistake wasn't made.

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Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Chairman, the American people have listened to Democrats and Republicans blame each other about budget crises. I became a Member in 1995. I left for 5 years. How things change. The parties change names, but it is the same tactics.

The American people want us working together on the budget. This amendment is a minimal effort of just saying to the American people, look, we recognize that even the best operation and the best budget can still be operated on 99 percent of what was projected. It is a minimalist kind of approach to this. If you can't vote for a 1 percent across-the-board cut, go to your town hall meetings, go into your communities and say, well, I really didn't want to do it because of what it symbolized. The fact is that this is the minimum of what we can do to say, look, we are trying to get back in the discipline of doing the right thing by the American taxpayer.

And if you can't vote for a 1 percent, how can you expect in the long run to be able to control the Federal budget, and that is exactly what the constituency wants us to do.

So I just say dump the Republican and Democrat argument. You get back to the fact that you have a motion that says quite clearly: we will make the effort of a 1 percent reduction across the board. That is a very small, little step towards fiscal responsibility and let's get together, Democrats and Republicans, and do the right thing and support the new Hefley amendment as authored by the gentleman from Georgia. If you can't do that, please don't think you can stand up and carry the mantle of self-righteousness when it comes to budget. We all bear the responsibility. Even those of us who weren't here bear the responsibility of doing the right thing and dumping the jargon about being Democrat or Republican and the other guy is at fault. We all bear that responsibility, and the voters and the taxpayers will blame all of us, regardless of our party affiliation, if we can't even make this minimal stance of a 1 percent across-the-board.

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