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Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 27, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Yoho for organizing this Special Order hour.

You know, this is one of the reasons I ran for Congress. The abuse of power and executive overreach coming from the White House right now is completely unacceptable.

Like many of my colleagues here tonight, I am a firm believer in the Constitution. I believe it is the duty of the President to faithfully execute the law, not to willfully ignore it for political gain.

A President cannot implement legislation through Executive orders or agency rulemaking. Yet, we have witnessed this administration launch attacks against the Second Amendment, impose burdensome regulations through the EPA and other agencies, and enact many policies without the support of Congress or the American people.

I have spoken to a wide array of my constituents throughout the northern half of Michigan in the time I have been here in Congress. They are constantly telling me about some new regulation that some Federal agency is coming up with that doesn't seem to do anything as far as promoting welfare or improving the environment, but it is simply making it more difficult for businesses to remain open. It is really affecting their ability to hire people.

In my district, one of the big complaints we have had is the EPA attempting to limit the ability to have a wood stove. Well, it gets pretty cold in northern Michigan in the winter, and people save money by cutting their own wood and burning it in their homes. Then the EPA comes out saying that we can't have wood stoves that don't meet this criterion, and it doesn't make any sense for people in my district.

Furthermore, the EPA's waters of the U.S. proposal to regulate ditches to manmade ponds doesn't do one thing to truly protect our water resources. Instead, it overloads small farmers, loggers, and other businesses with needless red tape and compliance costs.

There is a reason that our Founding Fathers created separate, but equal, branches of government. The executive branch and agencies like the EPA are charged with carrying out the intent of Congress. We have made incredible strides in cleaning up our Nation's air and water.

However, what happens when these giant bureaucracies start to feel themselves becoming relevant? Unelected bureaucrats began writing onerous legislation to justify their own existence, and they do this with absolutely no regard for the practical effect that these regulations have on local families and businesses.

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Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, I agree with the gentleman from Florida.

In my district, although it has been several years, the EPA shut down the construction of a brand-new coal plant. Okay? This coal plant would have been the purest coal-fired power plant in the country.

It ran with new technology, and there is no reason for it being shut down. This plant would not even produce any CO2. That CO2 was being captured by the coal plant and used by industry to create other products.

So this administration has taken on a proposal and used the EPA not to make our environment better, but to have a war on coal. I mean, the EPA and the President doesn't talk about making our atmosphere and our environment cleaner. It talks about a war on coal.

That is just the wrong attitude to have, and it really needs to be directed by Congress. It is unbelievable what we have gone through. It can cause economic damage to this country. Right now we are competing with the Chinese who don't have any significant pollution controls on their power plants, and we have invested billions as Americans, each one of us, by paying for more expensive power to really clean up our atmosphere.

How are the Chinese doing that?

Now that we have basically cleaned up our atmosphere, they want to impose even higher and higher standards that actually are causing our business to go down and steel production is going over there where they are polluting even worse.

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Mr. BENISHEK. Will the gentleman yield?

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Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, the things we are talking about here today really are examples of the Federal Government getting involved in things that they don't have the right to do. I think a lot of it comes from these bureaucrats that are just writing regulations that really you can't comply with, and that is basically the reason that these coal-fired power plants are going out of existence.

Most of these problems have been eliminated by the work that we have done on improving our environment, and I applaud that America has made the investment before any other country in making that happen, but to regulate us to the point that businesses are going overseas and polluting the planet worse because of our policies, because if we did the stuff here, we would do it cleaner.

The University of Michigan has had an environmental research station in northern Michigan in my district for the last 60, 70 years. The scientists at the University of Michigan tell me that most of the mercury that falls from the sky in Michigan comes from China and India, that we have essentially eliminated mercury as a problem in the environment from our industry here. But because we are not dealing with that problem of the Indians and the Chinese doing that, we are ignoring that and actually giving them the ability--by not having to comply with a lot of these rules, the ability to pollute the planet worse than we would if we were doing those things here.

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Mr. BENISHEK. Sure.

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Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Yoho for putting on this Special Order hour. I am very happy to be able to participate in it. I think that we really need to be sure the American people are aware of what is going on and that they make their decisions when they go to the polls based on this information. So thank you very much.

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