Rahall Statement on House Passage of Continuing Resolution


Date: Feb. 19, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement following the House passage of the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution, which funds the government through September 30, 2011:

"I must cast my vote against this continuing resolution, but I do so recognizing that there are some positive items in the bill that I strongly support.

"For example, I support the language in the bill to prohibit funding for EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, and the amendment adopted to prohibit the EPA from revoking previously approved permits through 404(c) process. I support the language to prohibit implementation of the excessive IRS 1099 reporting requirements on small businesses included in the health care bill. I have cosponsored legislation to advance all of these initiatives.

"I like that this legislation has the Congress taking a firmer control of the regulatory reins at the executive agencies, especially the EPA. In addition to limiting greenhouse gas regulations, amendments were adopted, which I supported, to limit improper EPA guidance documents and to ensure more reasonable regulations related to the Stream Protection Rule being drafted by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

"Also, the bill prohibits funding for the White House officials that coordinate health care and climate control policies across the Federal government, the so-called White House czars. We need to ensure that the statutory heads of agencies, whose actions are supposed to be open to public comment and review, are the ones making policy, and not some anonymous White House aide.

"We must tighten our budgetary belt, but I cannot vote against so many programs that are vital to the long-term economy of southern West Virginia.

"This Continuing Resolution would cut tens of millions of dollars from clean coal research, which is critical to the long-term coal economy in southern West Virginia. It sends a terrible message to cut this funding when other nations are investing deeply in coal technologies and in the promise that coal can be an affordable, abundant, and clean energy source for the future.

"It would cut funding for road and highway construction and improvement, and for water and sanitation infrastructure across the board. That will result in layoffs and job losses, both in the private- and public-sectors.

"It would cut funding for basic services, such as staffing and maintaining Social Security offices in the state that help seniors and workers with retirement and disability benefits. These funding cuts could result in Social Security offices closing in southern West Virginia, something we are already fighting against.

"It would cut funding for border security and fencing technology along the southwest border, another vital government service that serves to stem the flow of illegal immigration. It even cuts funding for food safety, like the inspectors who monitor slaughter houses so that unsafe meat does not make its way onto the supermarket shelves.

"Pell grants, community health centers, Community Development Block Grants -- all would see significant cuts under this bill, scaling back efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and communities, to make college more affordable, and to expand access to affordable health care.

"In a $4 trillion budget, I refuse to believe that we have exhausted all other budget-saving options, and that the only thing left to reduce the deficit is to close Social Security offices and to reduce food inspections. There are $1 trillion in tax expenditures and special interest tax breaks given away each year. Certainly we can fund savings somewhere else before we cut back on the essentials.

"We must trim the budget but we must do so responsibly, ensuring that programs needed by seniors -- many of whom are on small, fixed incomes -- are not used to finance deficit spending in other parts of the budget. These budget deficits must not be used as an excuse to raid the Social Security program or to cut back on basic services that West Virginians rightly expect from their government.

"The only way out of the deficit ditch is through a stronger economy. While tightening our federal budgetary belt, we must find ways to make investments in more modern, safer roads and bridges and water systems, in education and research and development, and to protect those programs that strengthen our economy and help to ensure a brighter future for our children.

"At the end of the day, balancing the budget will require looking at both the spending and revenue sides of budget, cutting special interest tax breaks and combing defense and nondefense programs for savings. That, plus an improving economy that can generate new revenues and reduce emergency spending, should put us into a better position to judge longer term deficit projections. We need not jump off the cliff yet as some seem ready to do."