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Westerman Slams Democrats Over Sham Budget Process

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 28, 2021 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) testified before the House Committee on Rules on H.R. 5376, congressional Democrats' revised budget reconciliation package. Westerman's full remarks, as prepared:

"Thank you, Chair McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and members of the committee.

"As we speak, hundreds of cargo ships are idling off the California coastline, threatening underwater energy infrastructure and slowing our supply chain to a snail’s pace. The president and this Democrat majority continue ignoring the humanitarian, environmental and national security crisis at our southern border. Deadly wildfires have ravaged millions of acres across the western United States, destroying and threatening numerous homes, businesses and other critical infrastructure. President Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal highlighted the incompetence of Democrat leadership, leaving American citizens stranded at the mercy of the Taliban. People going to their local grocery store are finding that every basic household good keeps increasing in price, and for thousands of low-income families, these soaring costs can mean the difference between turning the lights on or eating three meals a day.

"But what are we talking about today? This ridiculous, partisan wish list filled with slush funds and payouts to radical environmental groups, all at the expense of the hardworking American taxpayer. The Natural Resources Committee title’s nearly $19.8 billion price tag alone dwarfs the budgets of 20 U.S. states and saddles future generations with insurmountable debt. Notably the bill doesn’t contain any meaningful, bipartisan reforms designed to strengthen our economy, get Americans back to work or revitalize our infrastructure.

"It spends $500 million dollars to resurrect a nearly 100-year-old make-work program first implemented by FDR, creating a new bureaucracy to compete against American businesses at a time when help wanted signs remain in the windows of thousands of private businesses nationwide. Did Democrats even look at what was going on in our country when FDR created the CCC? Unemployment was 25 percent, with only 55 percent of Americans in the workforce. Inflation was negative, not ballooning out of control like today.

"During a season of historic drought in the West, this bill thumbs its nose at water storage solutions and proven drought-relief projects. What does that mean for Americans? Sticker shock at the grocery store and higher food costs across the board. Meanwhile farmers will still face the same issues year after year, since the bill contains zero – ZERO – long-term drought solutions.

"This proposal attacks safe and reliable American energy production, declaring all-out war against the domestic energy industry. It already takes decades for drilling and mining projects to get through the permitting process. Now, by raising royalty rates through the roof, Democrats are trying to drive the final nail in the coffin of domestic oil and gas, forcing our own companies to take their business overseas, exporting American wealth and jobs, and making OPEC great again. And that clean, green energy President Biden and congressional Democrats keep saying is just around the corner? How’s that going to work when you’re actively shutting down every domestic hardrock mineral mine in sight? As Democrats force us into the willing arms of the Chinese Communist Party to acquire minerals for everything from cellphones to electric vehicles, America’s treasure trove of natural resources will remain buried underground. You have Democrats’ short-sightedness to thank for that. This same short-sightedness will shut down a copper mine that could supply 25 percent of all U.S. copper demands for the next 50 years, a mine that’s 7,000 feet below the surface of the Arizona desert. Give us a break!

"Let me put it plainly: while Speaker Pelosi plays fast and loose with billions of taxpayer dollars, while progressive members hold congressional procedures hostage until their radical demands are met, and while we hold sham 'hearings'like this one on a bill we just received an hour ago, our constituents back home are making sacrifices in order to fill up their cars with gas or put dinner on the table. Democrats in this body and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have only themselves and their wild spending sprees to blame. Does Speaker Pelosi even know yet that you cut her $200 million Presidio Park payout?

"It’s no wonder Americans think Congress is broken. It is. Hearings with no notice and a slapdash bill, like this one, are the perfect example. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

"I urge Speaker Pelosi to stop wasting our time ramming a ridiculous bill through the House when we just received bill text this afternoon. I urge President Biden to finally acknowledge any number of the crises facing our country and do something about them. I urge you, Chair McGovern, to set party politics aside and work with both sides of the aisle to reach bipartisan consensus.

"Enough is enough. Americans deserve better than political infighting. Our children deserve better than inheriting trillions upon trillions of dollars of debt. It’s time for House Democrats to slam the brakes on their unfettered spending and come to the table to implement real, bipartisan reform."

Watch Westerman's remarks here.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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