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Haaland Testifies Before Committee, Demurs on Long-Term Solutions


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2021 -

Today, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Debra Haaland testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources regarding the Biden administration's Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"It was wonderful to welcome my friend and former colleague, Secretary Haaland, to the committee this morning. I believe we have many shared priorities we can advance, yet the Biden administration's proposed budget falls far short of these goals. I asked Secretary Haaland about several of these concerns, like the environmental crisis on our southern border and the expansive 30x30 initiative, but she was unable to define this administration's strategy and how they plan to solve these systemic issues. Each of my Republican committee colleagues faced the same response. It's deeply concerning that nearly six months into the Biden administration, we still have questions on the future of thousands of American energy jobs, the western drought crisis, historic wildfires, skyrocketing gas prices, national monument uncertainty and much more, not to mention the numerous outstanding committee requests for information from DOI that remain unanswered. I'd hoped Secretary Haaland would clarify these issues; unfortunately, that was not the case."

Background

Republican members of the Natural Resources Committee have advanced shared priorities of access, conservation, innovation and transparency during the 117th Congress. In contrast, the Biden administration’s budget falls far short of all these goals and fails to deliver economic or environmental benefits for the American people. 

In the words of President Joe Biden, "Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value." However, the Biden administration released its budget more than three months behind schedule and without a long-term strategy regarding its priorities. The lack of urgency to produce an actual budget is particularly concerning as America recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. federal deficit was $3.1 trillion in FY20, or roughly 15 percent of the gross domestic product. These are unprecedented levels of debt and the administration’s budget includes no serious plan to correct our nation’s fiscal course or strengthen the U.S. economy.

DOI’s FY22 budget requests $27.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $585 million (2.2 percent) over FY21 enacted levels.

Severe drought, catastrophic wildfires, crumbling infrastructure, the border crisis and rising energy and mineral competition from hostile foreign nations are all pressing challenges facing America. Instead of developing a comprehensive strategy to tackle any of these issues, the budget relies heavily on catchphrases and throwing money at the problem with no actual solutions. 

 

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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