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Public Statements

Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended.

I rise to offer this motion to ensure that our strategic reserve of helium gas does not fall into the hands of those who wish to harm the United States or target our allies abroad. Helium is a crucial component of manufacturing and research processes here in the United States. The consistent availability of helium to United States companies and research institutions is, therefore, essential to our global competitiveness as well as our national security.

NASA is one of the largest consumers of helium gas in the United States, utilizing helium for a number of crucial national security priorities. For example, the deployment of critical communications satellites, which is made possible by helium, helps to support our global information network and must remain a strategic U.S. asset. Helium has been utilized to purge explosive rocket fuel from intercontinental ballistic missiles and continues to be a strategic resource for any nation looking to build an advanced missile program. Helium is also utilized in cooling nuclear reactors.

This motion seeks to manage this national resource in a safe and responsible way by ``banning exports to hostile nations that seek nuclear weapons or missile technology.'' Helium can be used in the missile technology utilized by Iran, Syria, and North Korea, putting millions of lives at risk in the Middle East, on the Korean Peninsula, and possibly around the world.

Over the last several months, we have seen escalating belligerence from North Korea, Iran, and Syria, including missile tests, the acceleration of nuclear programs and, most recently, the apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against its own citizens.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the House must adopt this language to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place to deny those rogue states access to our national helium reserve for their nefarious purposes.

I know we can all agree that the threats emanating from these countries are serious and that our enemies seek access to technology and resources to harm the United States and our allies. Our helium reserve is an asset we must secure from their reach.

The actions of these regimes continue to invoke national condemnation. This body has repeatedly acted to sanction these regimes for their reprehensible behavior. This motion is simply one more step to provide safeguards against the threat posed by these countries.

We must deny the export of helium from the strategic reserve to specifically the nations of Iran, North Korea, and Syria, and allow the President the authority to deny exports to businesses or entities that could potentially divert helium to these governments.

We have seen an increasing number of provocations from North Korea, Iran, and Syria. These incidents have directly targeted the United States, threatened the existence of Israel, and endangered the lives of countless civilians in Syria.

It is our responsibility to ensure that our national assets, including our strategic helium reserve, are guarded from being used against us. This motion to recommit would help in achieving that goal. The motion provides a meaningful and necessary safeguard against potential use of the strategic helium reserve and helps to support our national security.

Again, this is the final amendment to the bill, which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended.

I urge all Members to support this commonsense language.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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