Today, Congressman Gene Green spoke in front of the Committee on the Budget in a hearing regarding his priorities for the federal budget for fiscal year 2013.
Congressman Green emphasized that Democrats and Republicans must work together to produce a budget that simultaneously helps meet our economic, health care, energy, and social challenges. An abridgment of Congressman Green's remarks is below:
I oppose the President's proposed tax increases on the oil and gas industry. An $85 billion tax hike would suppress our domestic production, stifle job creation, drive up imports of crude oil from nations that are hostile to us, and increase the volatility of the gasoline markets.
The U.S. oil and natural gas industry does not receive tax subsidies. In fact, there is not a single targeted tax credit in the Internal Revenue Code available to the oil and natural gas industry. Instead, the industry is allowed to take deductions to recover the costs of doing business, which has been afforded to all businesses since the beginning of our country's income tax system.
Finally, it's important to note that the average independent production company has only 12 employees -- the definition of a true small business. Repealing these incentives would single-handedly destroy thousands of small businesses across our country.
PORT OF HOUSTON
Another priority in the 29th District is the Port of Houston. Our Port is the largest petrochemical port in the country and moves the second largest amount of cargo in the country. The commerce that occurs at our port is critical to our nation's energy and chemical sectors and to our country's ability to trade and move goods throughout our country.
The number one issue that the Port faces is maintenance dredging that keeps the Houston Ship Channel at a depth and width that allows barges to access the Port. Due to silting, only 0.4% of the channel is dredged to its proper depth. Studies have shown that the direct economic impact of losing 1 foot of draft is $373 million due to lost business opportunities. If the dredging crisis at the Port continues to worsen, this cost will quickly escalate so we must continue to fund port maintenance and increase it if possible.
Once again, I am frustrated with the Administration's handling of manned space flight. The President's Budget funds the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) programs but it is far under the authorized level and current year levels. They moved that money to commercial ventures which do not have the track record of our team at NASA, especially the folks at Houston's Johnson Space Center.
We cannot cut the knees out from under NASA-led human space flight. Without the investments in SLS and MPCV, I am afraid our country will not be equipped to continue to be the world leader in science, technology, and space flight.
Congress agrees and spoke very clearly to the importance of manned space flight programs in the 2010 authorization bill and again in appropriations language. I request that the SLS and MPCV programs be funded, at the very least, at their current year levels. If not, I fear in 5 years we may be sitting in this room without any programs to fund.