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Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CARDENAS. I thank the gentlewoman for giving me the opportunity to speak on this matter.

H.R. 678 could easily be a bipartisan, noncontroversial bill. But Republicans insist on including an unnecessary provision to waive environmental review. It sets the wrong precedent. Nearly 100 days have passed since the 113th Congress has been sworn in, and not one bill has been brought to the floor that would have a measurable effect of reinvigorating our manufacturing sector. In fact, quite the opposite has happened.

Democrats have announced the Make It In America initiative to focus on four areas to help our economy grow. In order to strengthen the economy, this Congress must: adopt and pursue a comprehensive manufacturing strategy; promote the export of U.S. goods; encourage innovation; and train a 21st century workforce. In addition to these four core components, we must work together to address the equally important task of getting our small business owners access to capital they so desperately need. Without capital, our businesses are stagnant, cannot invest in their own growth, and will not hire that unemployed person who has been searching for a job for months.

We must do more to get the financial institutions back to lending in this country. Now it's up to Republicans and Democrats to work together to enact and pass Make It In America legislation and help secure America as the world leader when it comes to job creation and when it comes to innovation. When it comes to hydropower, it's very important for us to understand yes, we need more hydropower, yes, we need innovation, yes, we need to make sure the small and large hydropower actually moves forward. But doing it at the expense of the environment by waiving environmental review is just not the right way to do it.

Many people in these Chambers speak constantly of making sure that we don't put things on the backs of our children and our grandchildren. Every time we waive environmental review, every time that we don't do things carefully, we move in a direction where it takes sometimes a year or 2 or 3 to go in the wrong direction, it takes decades for us to correct those environmental problems.

So environmental review should be part of the process and, yes, it should be streamlined and, yes, we need to make sure that we do things in a fashion that does put people back to work, but we have to do it carefully and responsibly.


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