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Public Statements

New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from Florida is recognized.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We all agree that the United States can be a leader on a number of global and environmental issues and we seek to find innovative ways to address these challenges.

This bill is not the answer. It is merely a compilation of regulation, increased funding, and the creation of additional layers of bureaucracy.

Title II of this bill, the Foreign Affairs title, sets up a new office structure at the State Department to focus on climate change, but it ignores the fact that we already have an office in the Department's Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science that deals with these very issues. The bill is silent on how many new personnel will be needed for this new office and at what cost.

This legislation also seeks to ignore the current efforts in the existence of the senior climate negotiator and special representative by creating a new duplicative decision. Title II, section C, of this bill proposes a new, federally supported organization entitled the International Clean Energy Foundation, which would duplicate the grant-making work of the State Department, USAID, and the United Nations.

The bill authorizes $100 million over 5 years for this Foundation and essentially guarantees that the Foundation will exist forever.

In fact, following passage by the Foreign Affairs Committee of a bill which became title II of H.R. 3221, we received an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office which says that just the Foreign Affairs title of the bill would cost $772 million over the years 2008 to 2012. That is $772 million over 5 years.

A few short months ago, we had a debate in the House on the Intelligence authorization bill, which contained a provision mandating that the intelligence community use its resources to develop a National Intelligence Estimate on the issue of global warming. We thought that the majority would wait to receive an assessment of the nature and extent of the problem, as well as a range of factors contributing to the problem before having the House vote on this bill. But this was not to be.

As public servants, our overarching responsibility should be to do no harm. This legislation, I agree, runs contrary to that principle.

We all share a desire to do more to exert U.S. leadership in the environmental realm. We must be careful not to fool ourselves into believing that throwing money at the problem and adding layers of bureaucracy are truly effective ways of addressing this issue.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the bill, and I reserve the balance of our time.


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