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Public Statements

Assuring Quality Care for Veterans Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCALISE. I thank the gentleman from Indiana for yielding.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this bill dealing with professional education, but I just arrived from New Orleans and landed in D.C. a little while ago, and I am angry.

The people back in my State are very angry right now about what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. We have got a crisis right now that is probably the largest environmental disaster in this Nation's history, and we are not getting the adequate response we need from this Federal Government.

Now, our governor for over 2 weeks has been asking for the Federal Government to approve a barrier plan to actually protect our marsh from the oil, and we are not getting an answer from the Federal Government. All we are getting is excuses. We have got letters from the Corps of Engineers and others that are saying they need to do studies, they need to look at the environmental impact. Well, the environmental impact is right there in our marsh. Here is a dead pelican from just the other day.

We have got oil coming up into our marshes in globs, thick globs, every single day, and we don't have one ounce of action from the President. Now, the law is very clear. The Oil Pollution Act says the President shall ensure effective and immediate removal of discharge. Instead, he is just pointing fingers at everybody. We know BP is responsible for this.

Madam Speaker, I understand we are talking about veterans issues, but right now we are talking about the livelihood of the people of the gulf coast whose livelihood is threatened, and all we are asking is the President to fulfill his duties under the law, which he is not doing.

We don't need a finger-pointer-in-chief. We need somebody who is going to step up to the plate and actually follow the law, take charge of this and stop not only the oil from flowing, but let our local leaders do what they said they need to do. And they have gotten no response from the White House. They are not getting the help they need.

The President has paid a lot of lip-service, but we have had oil coming into our marsh every day now for days. It has been going on for a month now, and all we see is ceding of power to BP. We know they are going to pay the cost, but the President under the law is responsible for actually taking charge. We need a quarterback on the field, like the law says the President is supposed to be. He is not supposed to be the commentator in the booth.

So all we are doing is saying we are tired of the excuses, Mr. President. It is time to live up to your obligation under the law. Help us protect our marsh. If you don't have a plan, we do, but you are not letting us implement our plan. Get out of our way and approve our plan. Otherwise, you come up with your own. But this is inexcusable.

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