Visclosky Statement on FY 2013 Six Month Continuing Resolution
Congressman Visclosky delivered the following remarks from the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, September 13, 2012, regarding the Fiscal Year 2013 Six-Month Continuing Resolution (CR):
Mr. Speaker – I rise today to express my great appreciation for the tireless efforts Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks have expended in the 112th Congress and this fiscal year. They, the other committee members, and the Committee staff have applied their expertise and put in tremendous amounts on energy and effort in their attempt to return the appropriations process to regular order. Additionally, with regard to the six month continuing resolution that we are considering today, they worked together in a bipartisan manner and crafted a bill that is free of divisive policy matters. Further, I appreciate that we are considering the CR early in September and not on the precipice of a government shutdown.
However, I am abjectly disappointed that the Congress is once again going to fail in one of its most fundamental responsibilities. We are all elected by our constituents to make discrete decisions on federal programs, not quibble over anomalies in a stopgap spending measure. By being unable and unwilling to pass individually negotiated appropriations bills, we are doing a great disservice to the taxpayer by not providing the guidance necessary for federal programs to operate effectively.
As the Ranking Member of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, I would like to highlight the National Nuclear Security Administration as an example of where this CR does not provide the necessary oversight for good government. The agency is plagued by dramatic cost increases on nearly every major task under its jurisdiction. The poster child for this inability to accurately estimate costs is the Life Extension Program for the B-61 bomb, the price tag for which has gone from $4 billion to as much as $10 billion. More worrisome, is the recent news that a cadre of senior citizens breached the security zone of what is supposed to be a highly secure facility. Given the nature of the CR, Congress is unable to meaningfully weigh in on these important issues such as these.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my disappointment that an anomaly for the United States Enrichment Corporation is included in the CR. The government has subsidized this company for far too long already, and I am at a loss to explain why we continue to throw good money after bad. The national security arguments for this program are inconsistent and unpersuasive. While USEC may have a pressing need for a bailout, there is no immediate defense requirement. Given the importance of our nuclear deterrent, we should evaluate the totality of the requirement and the options for achieving it, not rush to the first option available.
In closing, while I will support this CR because it is timely and bipartisan, we need to break the habit of perpetually kicking every hard decision and deadline down the road. Again, I commend the Chairman and Ranking Member for their efforts and yield back my time.