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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

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In what has become a tradition, H.R. 2157 uses emergency disaster relief as an excuse for loading up billions of dollars of non-disaster relief spending that normally would raise serious questions.
This measure is deceptively titled the "Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019.” It does no such thing.
This is a massive document encompassing 147 individual bills, including mine on establishing a permanent fund for medical clinics in our National Parks. It reduces total federal land ownership at a time we can’t take care of the land we currently hold, shares considerably more LWCF money with states which have proven better land stewards, and relaxes public use restrictions on 168,000 acres of federal land. I am greatly concerned about adding 1.3 million acres of federal land to wilderness designation which greatly restricts public access, but more than half of this amount is in exchange for opening up other federal lands to greater recreation and economic development and has the support of the local governments most directly affected. I am also concerned over permanent reauthorization of the LWCF without reforming it to assure that maintenance needs are met before we acquire new lands. However, it does provide for 40 percent revenue sharing with state governments.
This bill would invalidate the President’s action to invoke the National Emergencies Act regarding the security of our nation’s southern border. The President has invoked an authority dating back to 1976 that allows him, by making such a declaration, to reprogram unobligated military construction funds to address the emergency. It has been invoked 58 times since then, including for such declared “emergencies” as civil unrest in Burma and Sierra Leone. There are 31 such emergencies currently in effect. In this case, the designation allows the President to access funds to build a wall to secure our own country’s porous southern border. Whether Congress should have given the President such a broad grant of authority is a separate matter. But as long as he has it, he has the responsibility to use it to defend our nation’s southern border and uphold our immigration laws.

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