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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I am grateful for the time to address the House.
Isn't it outstanding, Madam Speaker, to see the people's House open, once again, to the public, have the public in our galleries, and see the Capitol open to our families.
That is a big change after the years of the pandemic and our Chamber being closed from the citizens and families who send us here to Washington. So that is a great way to have seen this House under Republican majority leadership open the week.
As we close this first week under Republican leadership back in the majority on this House floor, it is also good to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle put a premium on talking about bipartisanship.
I particularly like my friend from Ohio (Mr. Landsman) and Mr. Sorensen of Illinois, two new freshman Members on the House floor for the first time this week as fully sworn Members of Congress talking about their priorities as newly elected Democrats and seeking bipartisanship on this side of the aisle.
This week the House has taken two important steps regarding our strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP, and, Madam Speaker, those steps on this House floor were overwhelmingly bipartisan.
First, we created a Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the CCP, which is our vision of an integrated, open, and free world where people can celebrate their religion, people can travel, and people can trade. That strategic competition presses the Western values of Europe and the United States with the more narrow and authoritarian view of the Chinese Communist Party.
Secondly, we prevented oil being released from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and that being sold to Communist China. Today over 320 Members of this body agreed with that by voting ``yes'' on H.R. 22.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve has played an important role in U.S. energy and national security policy for four decades. It was created in response to the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s which resulted in the tripling of oil prices at the time.
Since that time, the SPR has remained a backstop for the United States in case of oil supply disruption.
Madam Speaker, those on the other side of the aisle talked about America becoming the largest exporting nation in the world and that somehow that is a bad thing and that we freed our ability to export oil and gas outside the U.S., as if that were a bad thing. It is not.
They are two completely different issues. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is there for an emergency affecting the United States, our citizens, our households, our industry, principally in case of a Gulf hurricane or a disruption in a pipeline, or in some other aspect of oil and gas disruption from war or an accident somewhere in the world. It is not meant to be supplying oil, per se, to everybody besides the United States.
Just over the last year, President Biden has released 180 million barrels of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, bringing it down to a 1985 level, a four-decade low. This is not smart economic policy or energy policy in this country.
In fact, Madam Speaker, over 1 million barrels went to a Chinese- affiliated company. At the same time, China is reportedly holding its own crude oil reserves of 900 million barrels.
Anyone with realistic knowledge and expectations in and around the debate about climate change or energy policy knows that this administration's energy policies have hurt American families and put our economy at risk while at the same time weakening the globe's interest in fighting climate change.
President Biden's failed policies to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline, deny permits, discourage new drilling, discourage new pipeline construction, and, through his bank and securities environmental, social, and governance policies, so-called ESG policies, that, too, has discouraged badly needed capital investment to go to our energy industry and has weakened American global leadership and our strategic benefit, as referenced by my friends on the other side of the aisle, of energy independence. President Biden has weakened our energy independence.
Instead, the Biden administration has doubled down, even tripled down, on these bad policies that have not only raised costs on every American but do nothing in the long run to impact climate.
While President Biden's nanny-state regulators this week considered outlawing your gas stove in your home or in your kitchen or your restaurant, Republicans on this House floor began their first step at unleashing an all-of-the-above energy strategy.
We have to let that sink in, that a Federal regulator actually considered a serious policy proposal of banning you from having a gas stove in your home or in your restaurant. I mean, everyone in America was shaking their heads this week with the preposterous nature of that new idea from the Biden administration.
Republicans believe in an all-of-the-above strategy, which benefits America and benefits the globe, and we must continue to invest in energy development in order to make it through a full global transition.
First, we have to keep investing in natural gas. We have natural gas fields across our Nation from the West Coast to the East Coast, in the heart of Pennsylvania, and, of course, in the heart of New York State, where New York State's Democratic leadership refuses to let that be brought online, let that be developed, benefiting the New York tax base, New York workers, and New York consumers.
That gas field just in Pennsylvania and New York alone, Madam Speaker, some believe it is larger and more lucrative than the largest gas field that we know of in Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Yet, we will never see a pipeline from Pennsylvania to East Coast ports under this administration and possibly under any other future Democratic leadership.
If the war in Ukraine showed Europe and the world anything-- anything--it is that Russia cannot be trusted any longer, if they were ever, to be a reliable source to Europe for their energy consumption needs.
The United States stands ready to export more liquefied natural gas to Europe, but the pipelines and other infrastructure don't fully exist in this country in order to have that impact to help our allies and partners in Europe and Asia in the short run. We need to make that investment.
Second, I have a solution for Democrats that should meet all of their objectives for world energy reliance and consistent with their climate objectives. It is clean; it is renewable; and we can export it to developing nations: nuclear energy.
International financial institutions, like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, will not, or are very reluctant, to finance any nuclear power expansion in Europe, yet the countries of Central Europe are demanding it. They want that energy diversity. They want an all-of-the-above energy strategy.
Yet, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in which the United States is a shareholder, turns a blind eye to clean, renewable, dependable nuclear energy. The EBRD insists on financing green energy projects to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars yet ignores this commonsense, all-of-the-above strategy.
Today's reactor designs are not the plants of yesteryear. They are not the plants of lore at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania or Chernobyl. They are safe and reliable.
For many, the top concern has been what we do with nuclear waste. Research in recent years has significantly advanced, and today, we have the ability to recycle nuclear waste components to produce even more abundant energy. Nuclear power plants in France have the ability to do this, but we don't currently do it here in the U.S.
Recently, I visited Entergy's Nuclear One facility in Russellville, Arkansas, and saw the nuclear waste byproducts that could be repurposed for future energy needs.
Further, I learned that the process to lengthen the life of an existing nuclear plant here in the United States, much less build a new one, is an immense tangle of regulatory red tape that takes years to navigate and millions of dollars of out-of-pocket fees. We in Congress can do a better job streamlining that kind of review.
When America leads in research and development, that knowledge and the resulting benefits are exported around the world. We can only export that success if we have the successful policies in place to spur that development.
We cannot expect the developing nations in Africa, Southeast Asia, or here in the Western Hemisphere to power their growing cities and their growing-in-wealth populations by wind and solar alone principally because the issues with storage deficiencies and production of energy from renewables efficiencies that remain, while improving, in the years ahead. Solely depending on that is unrealistic.
When America does not have the will to export this kind of R&D, those countries will turn to bad economic actors like China and Russia.
Energy policy is a long-term investment in the needs of not only our future but around the globe. Our globe needs 100 million barrels equivalent per day to power our homes and our economies.
As more and more countries develop and their people grow in wealth and prosperity, their energy needs will rise, Madam Speaker, not shrink.
We cannot wait and have nothing to offer, and we certainly don't want to impose California's energy policies on the world and expect a good outcome. We should be investing in all of our energy options.
That is why House Republicans in the weeks ahead, just as we started out here in our first week, will be bringing policies to this House floor to unleash an all-of-an-above energy strategy--oil, natural gas, nuclear, and, of course, renewables like wind and solar. They all play a part.
The mistakes of our policies today under this President mean we don't have the energy capacity and dependability that we need not only today but tomorrow. This unleashing policy by House Republicans not only puts America first, but it puts families across the globe first--first in opportunity, first in food and fuel security, and first in prosperity. Appreciating the Public Service of Anushree Jumde
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize Anushree Jumde, a cherished member of my district staff.
Recently, Anushree joined Attorney General Tim Griffin's team as the director of the Office of Community Relations.
Anushree, who is lovingly known around our district as A.J., came to Arkansas from India at age 11. She is a proud alum of the University of Central Arkansas, where she graduated in 2011, and she earned her graduate degree at the Bush School at Texas A&M.
A.J.'s public service began shortly thereafter, when she joined my predecessor, then-Representative Tim Griffin, in the office representing the Second Congressional District. She served as an intern and later as the district representative while working for Tim.
When I was elected to Congress in 2014 and took the oath in 2015, A.J. joined my team as a district representative and later became my trusted district director.
Anushree deeply cares for all the constituents in my district, and now in her role for the Attorney General, she deeply cares for all the citizens of Arkansas. If someone needed a passport with 5 hours' notice or help with a visa, she worked tirelessly to make that happen for central Arkansans.
Throughout my time in Congress, Anushree has continuously been dedicated to serving the people of central Arkansas.
I thank Anushree for her decade of service, and I look forward to the work that she will continue to do for our great State. Highlighting the Mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to highlight the mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.
For 30 years, the commission has led in community outreach and education. The commission is ably led by its executive director, DuShun Scarbrough.
A division of the Arkansas Department of Education, the MLK Jr. Commission seeks to promote and preserve the life and legacy of Dr. King throughout the Natural State.
The commission's outreach projects of promoting education and appreciation for history and encouragement of our youth to engage in positive leadership development and roles within their communities has been outstanding.
I am proud to have been involved with the commission over the years and watch it evolve into one of the most active in our entire country. The work of our commission has been praised by Dr. King's daughter, Dr. Bernice King.
On the upcoming Martin Luther King Day, I am honored to celebrate the milestone of the commission's 30th anniversary and look forward to continuing to watch its impact on our youth and our communities for years to come. Commemorating the Life of Hank Browne
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I come to the House floor today to commemorate the life of a good friend and great leader in our State, Hank Browne, who passed away last month at the age of 82.
Mr. Browne was born in Oklahoma before moving to Arkansas in his youth, where he graduated from high school in Perryville in 1956. After 4 years of service in the Navy, he received a management degree from Little Rock University, now the UA Little Rock.
In 1975, Hank Browne founded Freight Sales Furniture in North Little Rock, which is now known around the region, Arkansas and beyond, as Hank's Fine Furniture.
In addition to leading and expanding Hank's for over two decades, Mr. Browne was an active member of our community. A passionate outdoorsman and conservationist, Hank was a valued and dedicated member of the board of directors at the Nature Conservancy in Arkansas.
The impact of Hank Browne on our community will not be forgotten, and I thank him for his years of philanthropy in our State and business leadership. My prayers are with his wife, Cathy, and his children.
Recognizing Nicholas Covington, Logan Simon, and Wade Simon
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize three welding students from St. Joseph's High School in Conway, Arkansas.
Last month, Nicholas Covington, Logan Simon, and Wade Simon were selected out of 150 welding students to represent the Conway Area Career Center in SkillsUSA, a State competition held in Hot Springs.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry leaders working together across the country to make sure that we have a fully skilled workforce.
The winning team at the statewide competition will receive full scholarships to the welding program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton and could have the opportunity to participate in both national and world welding competitions.
I congratulate these students for their accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing the results from the SkillsUSA competition. Congratulating Mary Smith
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mary Smith for her two decades of service to the people of Conway.
Last month, Mayor Bart Castleberry of Conway and the Conway City Council recognized Ms. Smith's 19 years as an alderwoman.
Ms. Smith's compassion, insight, and wisdom were greatly appreciated by those around her. She is a beloved member of the Conway community.
I wish her all the best in her next endeavors, and I thank Mary for her years of service to the city of Conway. Recognizing the Museum of Discovery
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Museum of Discovery for winning the 2022 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Resilience.
This award, presented by the Association of Science and Technology Centers, recognizes organizations that have overcome significant and specific adversarial impacts on their museums, yet were able to use that hardship to promote their mission and actually grow their potential. This award is touted as the science museum equivalent of an Oscar.
The Little Rock-based Museum of Discovery and their exceptional staff received this award for how they rebounded from a 6-month facility closure due to flooding caused from a burst pipe in the terrible winter storm in February 2021.
The museum used this time to repair and extend their virtual operating capabilities, build on what they had started during the COVID-19 pandemic, and through this tactical shift, they were able to deliver an immersive and deeply educational virtual experience to thousands during this period of repair.
I am proud to honor the Museum of Discovery for their dedication and hard work after a disaster that made them stronger and better for all that they educate in science and technology. Congratulating Paul Browning
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Mr. HILL. Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Paul Browning, the assistant fire chief of the city of Morrilton, Arkansas.
Paul recently announced his retirement after 3 decades of service with the Morrilton department.
Just before his departure, Paul was given the opportunity to present the department's newest captain with his captain's badge. The recipient? His son, Joseph Browning, who had been with the department 15 years.
Paul presented Joseph with his original captain's badge as a token of his promotion.
Madam Speaker, I congratulate Joseph on his promotion and congratulate Paul on his retirement. I thank them both for their dedication and service to the community of Morrilton.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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