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In Support Of Quigley Amendment (#520) To H.R. 1

Rep. Mike Quigley

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today with an amendment that would, quite simply, allow the President to continue to consult an Advisor on Energy and Climate Change.

Section 1535 of this bill, which forbids the President from hiring such an advisor, wouldn't save taxpayers a penny.

Section 1535, which my amendment would strike, is a misguided attempt to tell the President who he can and cannot consult.

Mr. Speaker, I ask you, would any member of this body allow us to deny them counsel on energy and climate issues?

This is NOT a rhetorical question--every member of this body that employs a staffer on energy or climate issues should carefully consider whether they would deny the President that same counsel.

Whether or not you agree with the President on energy and climate issues, I would ask you--is it appropriate to silence those with whom you disagree?

I would also remind my colleagues that Section 1535 of this bill, which my amendment would strike, does not save taxpayers any money at all--not even a penny.

All it does is deny the President the ability to consult with a certain type of advisor.

Section 1535 is an unprecedented intrusion into the President's ability to retain and consult advisors on issues of national importance.

And energy and climate change are issues of national importance.

In light of recent catastrophes like the BP oil spill, ongoing efforts to prevent the EPA from doing its job, and rising rates of mortality and morbidity due to unhealthy air, land, and water--it is more important than ever that we support increased resources for the President and the Administration to do their job of keeping us, and our environment, safe and healthy.

I've stood on this House floor many times, some of them in recent days, and talked about decreasing wasteful government spending.

I've written whitepaper reports, both in Congress and while a Cook County Commissioner, detailing the importance of streamlining and reinventing government.

But, the crux of those arguments is predicated on the fact that I believe that what the government does matters--that government's mission matters.

What we do here today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, matters.

But this CR, which combines ideologically driven cuts with pretend cuts, like Section 1535, is not the answer.

Taking a sledgehammer to non-defense discretionary spending is not the answer.

We've got to talk about what programs are working and support them at the same time we cut the ones that don't work.

We're facing a climate crisis--a climate crisis that has become political and polarizing, pushing leaders into opposite corners of this debate.

But the facts aren't a debate if they're based on science.

And science says that for decades and centuries to come we're going to be dealing with rising temperatures, acidic oceans, extinct species, and skyrocketing healthcare costs due to dirty air.

In these trying times, we're trying to tell the President of the United States he doesn't have the right to counsel on energy and climate change?

With all due respect, Section 1535 is an unserious attempt to achieve some measure of fiscal responsibility.

But the truth is, it hacks away at the constitutional separation of powers and doesn't save taxpayers any money at all.

How we address energy and climate change issues will matter for our children, and our children's children.

We must not hamstring our ability to do so.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

Title IV of Senate Resolution 4, agreed to by the Senate on February 4, 1977, calls for establishment of a system for a computerized schedule of all meetings and hearings of Senate committees, subcommittees, joint committees, and committees of conference. This title requires all such committees to notify the Office of the Senate Daily Digest--designated by the Rules Committee--of the time, place, and purpose of the meetings, when scheduled, and any cancellations or changes in the meetings as they occur.

As an additional procedure along with the computerization of this information, the Office of the Senate Daily Digest will prepare this information for printing in the Extensions of Remarks section of the Congressional Record on Monday and Wednesday of each week.

Meetings scheduled for Thursday, February 17, 2011 may be found in the Daily Digest of today's Record.

Armed Services To hold hearings to examine U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command in review of the Defense Authorization request for fiscal year 2012 and the Future Years Defense Program; with the possibility of a closed session in SVC-217 following the open session.