Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Speaker, the Great Lakes are our Nation's greatest natural resource. They are the source of 95 percent of our surface freshwater and are directly connected to 1.5 million jobs.
Though efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes have made great strides over the past several decades, many challenges remain. Invasive species, pollution, and habitat loss in the Great Lakes have a negative effect on recreation and tourism, as well as on the general economy.
I was pleased to sign a bipartisan letter along with other Members of the House to request at least $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the President's fiscal year 2014 budget.
Mr. Speaker, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been invaluable in efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. I strongly encourage the President and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that it is fully funded going forward.