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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, the Bishop amendment strikes environmental mitigation funding that has no place in this bill. This is a Homeland Security bill. We spend this money to protect the homeland and secure our borders. These are some of the most important responsibilities we have as a Congress under our Constitution.

But this money won't go to border security. This money will go to pay off Federal agencies just so the Border Patrol can access public lands.

Our Border Patrol is locked out of huge swaths of public lands along our border unless they fork over tax dollars for environmental mitigation. So we, the Congress, under the auspices of border security, are spending the people's hard-earned money on a slush fund for land managers.

Just to name a few examples, agencies have demanded this money to monitor bats, to monitor pronghorn antelope--my State of Wyoming has three times more antelope than people--and in one case, to protect the endangered ocelot, which hasn't even been seen in the area for 20 years.

This is madness. If you want to protect the species and ecosystems along the border, then secure the border. Rampant border crossings across wilderness do more damage than our Border Patrol ever could.

We need to eliminate restrictions on the Border Patrol's access to Federal land, not enable them. If you want to stop this extortion of border security dollars, vote for the Bishop amendment. This puts money toward air and marine interdiction.

And if you want environmental mitigation, put it in the Interior bill where it belongs, and where Congress can keep track of where the money goes, and where land managers have to justify it.

Let our Border Patrol do its job. Vote for the Bishop amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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