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Public Statements

Directing Committees to Review Regulations from Federal Agencies

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. I thank my colleague for yielding me time.

Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us is simple. It instructs the committees to do the job they already do--conduct oversight of the laws passed by Congress.

I believe clarity of purpose is an important component to successfully tackling the challenges we face as a Nation. So, while I have no objection to this resolution, I question why we need to spend 9 1/2 hours debating what we should all unanimously agree on. Spending this much time on this resolution is like making sure we finish chewing our gum before we start walking--when just a few months ago we were doing both at the same time.

Take the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for example. This legislation was passed as an unprecedented response to the most severe economic crisis our Nation has faced since the Great Depression. We knew that there was a lot of taxpayer money involved in this legislation. That's why we included reporting requirements for the recipients, and that's why we included diligent committee oversight. Because of these measures, I know that approximately $1.5 billion was allocated to Hawaii. Since 2009, this money has helped to save or create 13,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Hawaii.

I also know that Hawaii received approximately $156 million for highway and water infrastructure improvements. These funds are helping to build Hawaii's infrastructure for the future right now.

For example, when completed, the Waimea Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project on the island of Kauai will double the capacity of the existing plant. It will allow the county to take advantage of photovoltaic systems that will minimize the facility's carbon footprint. The expanded capacity will also reduce the county's reliance on potable water for irrigation, water that they need for other purposes besides irrigation. Altogether, this investment will allow for expanded development in the area, which will lead to more new businesses and, importantly, more new jobs.

Mr. Speaker, we need to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time again. As the Recovery Act demonstrates, when we do, we can make a positive difference in the lives of our constituents, create jobs, and address the challenges we face together.


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