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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4402, National Strategic and Critical Materials Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman.

Frankly, I would say to my good friend on the other side of the aisle that there probably could be, in many instances, common ground about the exporting of mineral exploration. Many of us would look to this as a positive strategy for creating jobs.

I think it is important to say to my friends that, in fact, this bill is not even coming to the floor of the House today. It is not even going to be debated today. So that is one fracture, if we talk about creating jobs.

But another fracture is, of course, that we are substituting this legislation--that might, if it was bipartisan, be able to move forward on creating jobs--for wasting time and casting votes and debating on the Affordable Care Act, an act that has already proven that it has saved lives, provided coverage for small businesses; exempted businesses under 50 persons, allowing them to have insurance; closed the doughnut hole on the prescription drug benefit; and saved billions of dollars.

Here in this legislation, of course, one of the challenges that I have is that even though one would call this a bureaucracy, in actuality it is expediting and overlooking the National Environmental Policy Act, and therefore expediting necessary environmental review. It is being called an ``infrastructure project'' for purposes of the executive order entitled Improving Performance of Federal Permitting that was designed to reduce permitting time. But more importantly, there are environmental impacts that should be considered.

There is no opposition to creating jobs. There is no opposition to the value of our minerals. But I do believe there is opposition to expediting the process and excluding an environmental review and, more importantly, limiting this debate--that might create jobs, might have opportunities for more amendments, might have more time on the floor--by what we're going to do today, which is frivolity, again, for those of us who believe that we can come together in a bipartisan way to work on the underlying premise of the Affordable Care Act of saving lives, expanding opportunities, and adhering to the Supreme Court's decision that this is the right law of the land that works for all people.

I'd ask my colleagues on the underlying rule to oppose it, and maybe we can get down to the work of the people of the United States of America.


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