April 2, 2019 Speeches
The subcommittee meets today to consider “The State of Western Water Infrastructure and Innovation.” Central to this discussion is a simple question: which is better: abundance or shortage? The answer is so self-evident, it seems like a trick question.
March 28, 2019 Speeches
The Subcommittee meets today to consider the Colorado Drought Contingency Plan, agreed to by all of the states that draw from the Colorado River Basin. The dams on the Colorado have been the foundation of the prosperity of the Western states that rely on them to store water from wet years to assure abundance in dry ones. Forty million people and 5 ½ million acres of productive farmland now depend on the water stored behind these dams and 4,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity their turbines generate.
For 43 years, the President of the United States has had the statutory authority granted by Congress to declare a national emergency and to re-program unobligated military construction funds to meet that emergency. Fifty-eight times, previous presidents have invoked this authority to address such matters as civil unrest in Sierra Leone and Burma...
March 12, 2019 Speeches
For many years, our nations’ water policy was one of abundance and our nation’s lands policy was one of sustainable, scientific management. These policies served the betterment of both humanity and nature.
March 6, 2019 Speeches
Consent of the governed is the cornerstone of our democracy. In America, the people are the sovereign and they govern through the votes they cast. At the very core of this process is fair and free elections. EVERY citizen should be free to express themselves freely and to vote, and NO citizen should be muzzled or have their legitimate vote cancelled out by a fraudulent one. By definition, ONE side is always disappointed with the outcome, which is why it’s essential that BOTH sides are confident they were treated fairly.
H.R. 8 is brought to us by the same organizations and politicians who have made no secret of their intention ultimately to strip law-abiding citizens of their right to defend themselves. They know they can’t do it outright, so they do it through cynical measures like this, which weave a web of laws so intricate that sooner or later everyone can be caught up in them. This law affects not only a transfer of ownership – it affects ANY transfer of a weapon for ANY period of time.
February 26, 2019 Vote Notes on Legislation
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.
February 26, 2019 Vote Notes on Legislation
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.
According to the EPA, since 1901, global precipitation has increased at an average rate of roughly a tenth of an inch per decade, while precipitation in the contiguous 48 states has increased at a rate of nearly 2/10ths of an inch per decade. Globally, annual rainfall alone produces roughly 50,000 gallons of freshwater every day for every man, woman and child on this planet. The problem is that this abundance of freshwater is unevenly distributed over time and space. Throughout the 20th Century, it was the policy of this government to guarantee abundant water for all the people and regions of our country. We built reservoirs to transfer water from wet years to dry years and we built canals to transfer water from wet regions to dry ones. By doing so, we made the deserts bloom, protected our communities from floods and droughts and opened up vast tracts of land to support a prosperous population made possible by water abundance. Sadly, these policies were reversed over the last 45 years...
February 14, 2019 Vote Notes on Legislation
Our country faces two dangers that have proven fatal to other countries: the collapse of our borders and the collapse of our finances. This bill doesn’t solve our border crisis and it makes our fiscal woes worse. It provides only $1.375 billion of the $5.7 billion necessary to complete the border wall at a time when 60,000 foreign nationals are illegally crossing into our country every month. Further, it hamstrings the use of this money with restrictions on the type of wall that can be constructed, confines it geographically, orders massive breaks in coverage and subjects it to local delays. Worse, it places new restrictions on law enforcement in trying to enforce our existing immigration law. Furthermore, the President has statutory authority to re-reprogram more than $13 billion in military construction funds for border wall construction without such restrictions. With or without this bill, he will still need to invoke this authority. While the measure doesn’t solve the border crisis, it irresponsibly increases overall spending at a time when revenues are essentially flat, moving us closer to a trillion-dollar annual deficit which economists warn is risking a debt spiral and ultimately a sovereign debt crisis. Countries that can’t defend their borders or that bankrupt themselves aren’t around very long. This bill fails to defend our borders and brings us closer to catastrophic fiscal insolvency.