Amendments to House Interior Appropriations Bill Could Reduce Spending, Save Jobs

H.R. 5538, the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act, commendably reduces bureaucratic overreach in a number of important areas. Most notably, the bill would prohibit implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) costly Clean Power Plan and other regulations for new power plants, as well as the draconian “Waters of the U.S.” rule. Still, Representatives have an opportunity to improve this legislation by supporting amendments that further preserve jobs and reduce spending.

To that end, NTU urges all Representatives to vote “Yes” on the following amendments:

  • #20 (#53): Palmer (R-AL) & #128 (#151) Grothman (R-WI): These amendments would eliminate funding for duplicative Diesel Emission Reduction Grants, saving taxpayers $100 million. A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report noted that there are 14 federal programs aimed at reducing diesel emissions, many of which overlap one another, with some grantees receiving funds from more than one program for the same goals.

  • #23 (#164) Sanford (R-SC): This amendment would save taxpayers almost $5 million in unnecessary spending on non-essential services, of which the District of Columbia is the sole beneficiary.

  • #43 (#18): Blackburn (R-TN): This amendment would reduce spending in the underlying bill by 1 percent. During a time of record debt and looming funding crises, it is important that legislators take every opportunity now to demonstrate both the willingness and ability to rein in spending.

  • #55 (#9) Duffy (R-WI): This amendment would prevent the implementation, administration, or enforcement of new major regulations with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, reducing the enormous drag overregulation imposes on our faltering economy.

  • #64 (#156) King (R-IA): This amendment would prohibit funding from being used to implement, administer, or enforce prevailing wage requirements under the Davis-Bacon Act, saving considerable sums on many federal projects.

  • #83 (#161) Price, Tom (R-GA): This amendment would prohibit the Administration from using any funds in the underlying bill to implement any new major rules.

  • #88 (#139) Westmoreland (R-GA), Collins (R-GA), & Smith, Jason (R-MO): This amendment would restrict the payment of legal fees under a lawsuit settlement arising under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act or the Endangered Species Act. This would stop the “sue and settle” practice, which is often used to impose regulations without going through the normal rulemaking process.

  • #120 (#66) Weber (R-TX): This amendment would require that the EPA consider the impact of its actions on American jobs, as required by the Clean Air Act.

Roll call votes on the above amendments to H.R. 5538 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.