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Public Statements

Freedom to Fish Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

S. 982, the Freedom to Fish Act, would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from restricting public access in the vicinity of the 10 dams on the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee. This bill, this legislation, was introduced in the Senate by the leader, Senator McConnell, and also by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and our own in-House version authored by our colleague, Ed Whitfield from Kentucky.

The bill provides for a 2-year moratorium to give the public, the two States, and the Corps of Engineers more time to carefully review conditions at these facilities, and to deal with the immediate threat to fishing, tourism, and the economy.

I applaud our leadership for bringing this legislation to the floor today. This is an excellent example of Congress exercising our constitutional authority to oversee Federal agencies. Far too often, the executive branch and the Federal bureaucracy operate without input and guidance from Congress. My colleagues on the floor of this House every day criticize rules, regulations, and actions by unelected bureaucrats that hurt our districts, our constituents, and our economy. Congress has the right, the constitutional duty, to oversee Federal agencies and provide them with clear guidance and direction.

As chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, problems with the Army Corps of Engineers are frequently brought to my attention by my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats. I am pleased to work whenever possible to address these issues with clear guidance from Congress.

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Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, in closing, once again, I just want to applaud our leadership for bringing this legislation to the floor today. As I said earlier, this is an excellent opportunity, excellent example for Congress to exercise our constitutional authority over these Federal agencies.

With that, I would urge all my colleagues to join in supporting this important legislation, S. 982, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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