I thank the Chairman for yielding, and I congratulate him on completing the FY13 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill. Mr. Frelinghuysen, Mr. Visclosky and staff on both sides have worked tirelessly to bring this important legislation before the subcommittee today.
Unquestionably the fiscal situation confronting our nation is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security. The unsustainable trajectory of federal spending in the last three years has left us in a precarious situation. With our debt-to-GDP ratio at a startling 100%, it is becoming even more abundantly clear that we cannot spend our way out of our continuing economic woes.
The Appropriations Committee has been front and center in restoring austerity, transparency and thoughtfulness to the discretionary portion of our federal expenditures. Indeed, last year was an historic one for this committee; we cut spending by $95 billion while completing two fiscal years' worth of work. I am proud that my colleagues on the Committee are continuing our commitment to report responsible bills under regular order -- starting today with this markup.
The programs and projects funded in the Energy & Water bill touch every community in our nation, and they are undeniably critical to our safety and economic competitiveness. This bill appropriates roughly $32.1 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and a host of independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This is $965 million below the President's FY13 budget request. I applaud the Subcommittee for rightly prioritizing funding: on national defense programs in DOE so vital to public safety, on Corps construction projects that will have an immediate impact on job creation and commerce, and on initiatives to reduce the escalating energy and gas costs that are putting pressure on family budgets around the country. These priorities are balanced by cutting spending in areas that have seen massive increases or where the private sector can pick up the tab, and those accounts with large unspent balances.
It is a testament to the diligence of this subcommittee and the Chairman that this bill supports funding for programs and projects of vital importance to our nation while acknowledging the difficult fiscal situation confronting our nation. We continue to strive to uphold our commitment to the American people to reduce the size and scope of government through this process. I urge that the subcommittee promptly report this bill to the full Committee.