Amendment Text: H.Amdt.1360 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (06/27/2012)

This Amendment appears on page H4142 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H4135-H4151]
  TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2013

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Nugent). Pursuant to House Resolution 
697 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of 
the Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration 
of the bill, H.R. 5972.
  Will the gentleman from Florida (Mr. West) kindly take the chair.

                              {time}  2017


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 5972) making appropriations for the Departments of 
Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies 
for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes, 
with Mr. West (Acting Chair) in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, 
amendment No. 11 printed in the Congressional Record offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock) had been disposed of and the 
bill had been read through page 150, line 9.


                  Amendment Offered by Mrs. Blackburn

  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  Each amount made available by this Act (other 
     than an amount required to be made available by a provision 
     of law) is hereby reduced by 1 percent.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Tennessee is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. I want to begin by thanking the committee for its 
extraordinarily hard work in identifying ways to cut spending.
  All of us hear from our constituents. They want us to reduce what the 
Federal Government spends, to be wise and proper stewards of the 
Federal taxpayer dollar. All too often, they look at Washington and 
they see a monument to waste of the American taxpayer dollar.
  Mr. Chairman, for the legislation that is in front of us, the fiscal 
year 2013 proposed funding level is $51.6 billion, which is $1.9 
billion below the President's request. I think it is admirable that we 
have saved nearly $2 billion below the President's request. However, we 
know that there is much more work that can be done, that should be 
done, that must be done. Therefore, my 1 percent across-the-board 
spending reduction amendment will save taxpayers an additional $516 
million.

                              {time}  2020

  That is $516 million that our children and our grandchildren will not 
have to pay back with interest.
  I'm fully aware of the strong opposition that many appropriators have 
for these across-the-board spending cuts. When I've offered these cuts, 
I have been told that ``the cuts of this magnitude, quite honestly, go 
too deep.'' I've also heard that these 1 percent spending reductions 
would be ``very damaging to our national security and to things that 
are important to life and property.''
  However, the taxpayers are demanding that the bureaucracy do what 
they are doing and save a penny on a dollar. Our Governors are quite 
active in this arena. Of course, we have heard from former Governor 
Mitt Romney, Governor Chris Christie, Governor Rick Perry, Governor 
Mitch Daniels, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Governor Chris Gregoire, just 
to name a few of our State executives. In the chairman's home State of 
Iowa, former Democratic Governor Chet Culver issued a 10 percent 
across-the-board spending reduction.
  These across-the-board spending cuts are used around our country in a 
bipartisan fashion, and the reason they are is because they work. They 
work. This is how you get results, by actually cutting into the 
baseline and reducing the outlays of government. They are effective 
because they cut spending within each agency and force each agency to 
do a review and find the waste and find ways to preserve those precious 
dollars that are coming from the taxpayers.
  Admiral Mullen made the statement that ``the greatest risk to our 
Nation's security is our Nation's debt.'' Mr. Chairman, we all know 
that. The American people know this. They have grown ill and fatigued 
with what they see as waste of their money here in Washington because 
this government never satisfies its appetite for the taxpayers' dollar. 
Because of that, because they think they can go to the well and ask for 
more, because they think they can go to the presses and print those 
dollars, they don't do the hard work of prioritizing. That is what 
we're to do here in this House.
  In that spirit of forcing the actions of prioritizing, forcing the 
actions of the bureaucracy, having to save one penny on a dollar so 
that our children and grandchildren are not paying that back with 
interest, that is the reason that I bring these amendments. It's 
important because right now we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar 
that we spend. We cannot afford this. It is incumbent upon us to make 
certain that we do the hard work, that we cut a little more, that we 
make the demands on the bureaucracy that our constituents are making on 
their businesses and on their family budgets. It is time for us to save 
just a penny on a dollar, make the cut, do it for our children and 
future generations.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose this amendment.

[[Page H4136]]

  This amendment indiscriminately cuts programs in transportation and 
housing without any thought to the relevant merits of the programs 
contained in this bill. For instance, they would result in fewer air 
traffic controllers, fewer pipeline safety inspectors that ensure that 
accidents do not occur, fewer vouchers for homeless veterans. It would 
reduce salaries and expense accounts for all the departments. In some 
of the agencies, salaries and expenses are almost everything in the 
agency. You would do the same thing for all the capital accounts, the 
construction accounts, since this is basically an infrastructure bill 
that has a lot of capital expenditures. All of this would be done 
across the board.
  More generally, investments in our transportation and housing 
infrastructure will be reduced and the associated jobs will be lost. 
From the amendment itself, there will be public jobs lost. Also, there 
will be jobs lost because of the loss in infrastructure, which is 
important to this country and very critical.
  I want to point out that the sponsor of this legislation is again 
reneging on her word. She voted for last summer's Budget Control Act 
that set this year's spending limits. The Ryan budget broke that 
agreement and lowered spending levels. The sponsor's amendment breaks 
the agreement again by reducing discretionary funding even further.
  I strongly urge Members to oppose this amendment, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word, please.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I commend the gentlewoman from Tennessee 
for her persistence and for all of her work as far as trying to get a 
handle on the spending.

  I would just like to make a couple of points.
  She mentioned that we're $2 billion below the President's request. 
We're actually almost $4 billion below last year's spending in this 
bill. We have the largest decrease, percentage-wise, of any of the 
appropriation bills. We have worked very hard to craft a bill that 
actually enacted those types of spending cuts but also funded the high-
priority items that are in this bill. It's with reluctance I oppose her 
amendment.
  I will just say that we're within the 302(b) allocations that were in 
the Ryan budget. That was really the debate then as to what funding 
levels to be at.
  There are some very important infrastructure issues that would be 
harmed by this when we look at the highway trust fund funding that 
would be cut. Of course, that would also include transit programs, 
veterans homeless vouchers. We have done everything we could to try to 
have a balanced bill that actually created priorities after having many 
hearings and working through this bill on a line-by-line basis. I'm not 
sure that an across-the-board cut that cuts everything arbitrarily is 
the way to go.
  Certainly, we're all very concerned about the budget, but with 
reluctance, I oppose this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I am glad to yield some time to the gentlelady.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the chairman for yielding, and as I said at 
the beginning, I applaud the committee for the good work they have 
done.
  I think when you're broke, though, that what we have to do is say now 
is the time to make further cuts. And to the ranking member, it's not 
indiscriminate. This is the way our Governors have found to arrive at 
balancing a budget. It's looking at every agency and saying get in 
there, do the heavy lift and find this. The result we want is to 
preserve the foundation of this great Nation for our children and 
grandchildren.
  Are you saying that salaries and expenses are more important than the 
future of these children who are going to have to pay this debt back 
with interest, $16 trillion worth of debt and growing, and you've got 
to pay it back?

                              {time}  2030

  My two grandchildren, my children, is it fair to look at them and 
say, You're going to spend over half of what you earn? I know that it 
is tough.
  As the gentleman inferred, I'm at it again. Yes, you're right, Mr. 
Chairman. I am at it again. And let me tell you something. I am going 
to be at it again and again and again, just as I have every single year 
that I have been a Member of this House because preserving the firm 
financial footing of this Nation is work, coming at it again and again 
and again until we get the job done.
  It has worked for our cities. It has worked for our counties. It has 
worked for our States. It will work for this Nation that is so richly 
blessed. It means that we have to have titanium backbones to get the 
job done.
  I thank the chairman for yielding.
  Mr. LATHAM. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Tennessee 
will be postponed.


               Amendment No. 13 Offered by Mr. McClintock

  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available under this Act 
     may be used for the Third Street Light Rail Phase 2 Central 
     Subway project in San Francisco, California.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, this amendment forbids further Federal 
expenditures for the Central Subway project in San Francisco. This 
project is a 1.7-mile subway that is estimated to cost $1.6 billion. 
And these cost estimates continue to rise. In fact, its baseline budget 
has more than doubled in 9 years and shows no sign of slowing. The 
current estimate brings the cost to nearly $1 billion per mile. That's 
about five times the cost per lane-mile of Boston's scandalous Big Dig.
  Now, it was supposed to link local light rail and bus lines with 
CalTrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit, but it's so badly designed that it 
bypasses 25 of the 30 light-rail and bus lines that it crosses. To add 
insult to insanity, it dismantles the seamless light rail to BART 
connection currently available to passengers at Market Street, 
requiring them, instead, to walk nearly a quarter mile to make the new 
connection. Experts estimate it will cost commuters between 5 and 10 
minutes of additional commuting time on every segment of the route.
  The Wall Street Journal calls it ``a case study in government 
incompetence and wasted taxpayer money.'' And they're not alone. The 
civil grand jury in San Francisco has vigorously recommended the 
project be scrapped, warning that maintenance costs alone could 
ultimately bankrupt San Francisco's Muni. The former chairman of the 
San Francisco Transportation Agency has called it ``one of the 
costliest mistakes in the city's history.'' Even the sponsors estimate 
that it will increase ridership by less than 1 percent, and there is 
vigorous debate that this project is far too optimistic.
  I think Margaret Okuzumi, the executive director of the Bay Rail 
Alliance, put it best when she said:

       Too many times, we've seen money for public transit used to 
     primarily benefit people who would profit financially, while 
     making transit less convenient for actual transit riders. 
     Voters approve money for public transit because they want 
     transit to be more convenient and available. It would be 
     tragic if billions of dollars were spent on something that 
     made Muni more time consuming, costly, and unable to sustain 
     its overall transit service.

  Mr. Chairman, this administration is attempting to put Federal 
taxpayers--that's our constituents--on the hook for nearly $1 billion 
of the cost of this folly through the New Starts program. That's more 
than 60 percent of the entire project. We have already squandered $123 
million on it that we don't have. This amendment forbids another

[[Page H4137]]

dime of our constituents' money being wasted on this boondoggle.
  Now, Mr. Chairman, you may be wondering, well, why should your 
constituents pay nearly $1 billion for a purely local transportation 
project in San Francisco that is opposed by a broad bipartisan 
coalition of San Franciscans, including the Sierra Club, Save Muni--
which is a grassroots organization of Muni riders--the Coalition of San 
Francisco Neighborhoods, and three of the four local newspapers serving 
San Francisco. Why, indeed. Excuse me, I don't have an answer to that 
question.
  But those who vote against this amendment had better have one when 
their constituents ask what in the world were you thinking.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, from the looks of it, the gentleman from 
California has quite a fight going on with the Sierra Club, with three 
of the four major newspapers--I don't know which ones they are exactly. 
I didn't know there were four major newspapers in San Francisco. Most 
places these days, if they have one, they're doing very well--and with 
the State legislature in California as well.
  I strongly oppose this amendment. And, frankly, I am disappointed by 
what it represents. This project, I think, is a perfect--well, maybe 
not perfect--is a very good example of the types of infrastructure 
projects our major urban areas need to remain economically strong, 
provide job creation now, and critical access to jobs in the future.
  Six of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in this country--those with 
a population over 1 million--exist in the State of California. 
California also happens to have five additional ones which have 500,000 
to 1 million in population. Seven of those 11 are growing by more than 
25 percent per year. And these are exactly the sort of places--all of 
them--they are places that need investment, continued investment, and 
continued assistance from the Federal Government.
  They are putting a major amount of money into our authorization 
plans, which we extend and are still under extension. And I think most 
people here hope and understand that we need to have a reauthorization 
sometime within the next few days, probably, and that the program in 
California is one that is fully authorized and ready to go.
  Population density in the area that is involved in this particular 
program is over 50,000 people per square mile. Ultimately, the project 
will tie together one of the fastest-growing sections of San Francisco 
with one of the densest neighborhoods in the Nation and will provide 
key regional connections with other transit systems, including commuter 
rail and future high-speed rail programs.
  The project has been thoroughly reviewed by the FTA and the State of 
California. Local authorities determined that it was of high value. In 
addition, the chairman included $100 million in the underlying bill as 
an acknowledgement that this project is moving and will improve 
transportation and create construction jobs in the Bay Area. The Bay 
Area needs construction jobs as well as we need construction jobs in 
every part of this Nation in order to have a robust economy.
  I have a press release, which arrived today, just to add to the game. 
The California Transportation Commission unanimously approved the 
commitment of $61 million in State high-speed rail connectivity funds 
for the Central Subway Project, this very project, this very day.

                              {time}  2040

  I also have here with me the editorial from the San Francisco 
Examiner--I'm not sure whether that's one of your major newspapers in 
the area or not--in support of this program.
  I understand that the sponsor might not support public 
transportation, but when he singles out one project of many that 
received a high rating, it's hard not to wonder if his opposition is 
not based on some kind of internal politics and not on sound policy.
  I oppose this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

                   [From the Examiner, June 14, 2012]

            Central Subway Needs Money To Fulfill Potential

       It is time for everyone to get onboard with the Central 
     Subway project--the largest Muni project in recent years.
       This week, the excavation of nearly a full block in San 
     Francisco began as construction workers started ripping up 
     the streets around Fourth and Bryant. The project is for a 
     launch box,'' the staging ground for next year, when two 
     massive hole-boring machines will ultimately serve as the 
     tunnel for the new Central Subway line.
       If you believe the naysayers, this tunneling is the 
     beginning of a train to nowhere or a multimillion-dollar 
     project that utterly lacks funding and will result in a train 
     line without riders.
       None of this is true.
       The Central Subway is the second phase of the T-Third 
     Street route, a 5.1-mile light-rail line that has done much 
     good by connecting downtown with the southeastern 
     neighborhoods of The City. The entire project germinated from 
     the Embarcadero Freeway teardown after the 1989 Loma Prieta 
     earthquake. The compromise for not rebuilding the freeway was 
     to plan for this new transit line.
       The Central Subway project will extend the T-Third Street 
     line 1.7 miles through the South of Market neighborhood, with 
     stops at Moscone Center and Union Square, and end in 
     Chinatown. The project will tie together one of the fastest-
     growing sections of The City with one of the densest 
     neighborhoods in the nation. The ridership projections for 
     the project, which opponents say are too low to justify the 
     81.6 billion cost, are for the small section of line itself. 
     The opponents point to one number--35,000 riders in 2020. But 
     the true ridership number is for the entire T-Third Street 
     line, which is projected to be about 65,000 by 2030.
       It is true that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation 
     Agency is moving ahead with this project without full federal 
     funding. The work has been going on for some time, such as 
     the moving of utilities that are in the way of tunneling. In 
     these days of tight federal funding, when the present 
     Congress is in the hands of tea party ideologues who want to 
     kill public works projects that aren't car-oriented, the only 
     way to prove a project is worthy of federal funding is having 
     it shovel ready--or in this case, bore-ready.
       But since the SFMTA has done so much to prove it is fully 
     invested in this project, we are confident that the subway 
     line is going to be fully financed. The Federal Transit 
     Administration is expected to provide the final $942 million 
     by the end of the month. This funding will be enough to 
     complete the tunnel bore.
       The SFMTA does not exactly have a proactive reputation. But 
     in this case, it should be applauded for continuing to push 
     ahead with a major construction project, even if the last bit 
     of money is not quite yet secured. This money has been 
     crawling through the pipeline for years.
       The Central Subway line will be a major asset to San 
     Francisco, and local and federal officials need to present a 
     united front to finalize the funding as soon as possible.

  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Cravaack

  Mr. CRAVAACK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used by the Secretary of Transportation to research or 
     implement a distance-based fee system, commonly referred to 
     as Vehicle Miles Traveled, that would levy a fee on a vehicle 
     user based on the distance traveled.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CRAVAACK. I rise today in support of my amendment, which would 
prohibit the utilization of funds by the Secretary of Transportation to 
research or implement a distance-based fee system, commonly referred to 
as vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, that would levy a fee on a surface 
transportation vehicle user based on the distance traveled.
  Mr. Chair, it is no secret that our current highway trust fund system 
is going bankrupt. The Federal gas tax designed to support this fund 
finds itself increasingly unable to pay for better roads, bridges, and 
rail due to several factors:

[[Page H4138]]

  People are driving less due to a weak economy and high gas prices;
  The creation of more fuel-efficient cars allows people to fill up 
less frequently at the pump;
  And let's not forget about how Congress has been raiding the gas tax 
proceeds for decades to fund alternative transportation activities that 
in no way help maintain and improve roads and bridges we drive, such as 
building bike paths and planting flowers.
  There is an important need to come up with new, better ideas on how 
to appropriately fund our highway trust fund system. However, I am here 
to tell you today that the concept of using a vehicle miles traveled 
fee system is not one of those better ideas.
  Requiring people to pay for the miles they travel each year is not 
acceptable on a number of levels:
  A VMT tax would be expensive to implement because every car would 
need to be fitted with a device that both records the miles driven and 
transmits the information to a government database. This complicated 
system would cost millions of dollars to install these devices in new 
vehicles, and it would cost many millions more if older vehicles and 
motorcycles are expected to be retrofitted with these devices;
  The cost required to administer this taxation is expensive and 
inefficient, especially compared to the Federal gas tax, which provides 
an inexpensive form of taxation that is collected directly from 
refineries and importers;
  Further, the requirement of an electronic mileage-tracking device to 
be installed in all cars also poses a significant privacy concern and a 
severe threat to our private information should one of these systems be 
hacked or corrupted. The potential for privacy abuse is a hazard 
waiting to happen. Government databases have already been compromised 
in the past, and this government system would be no exception;
  Finally, the VMT tax would impose a ``regressive tax'' that would hit 
constituents in rural districts like Minnesota's Eighth Congressional 
District, the district that I represent, harder than any others. My 
constituents often have to drive many miles more than urban 
counterparts to perform the same daily tasks, like going to work, 
grocery shopping, dropping the kids off at school, and making 
deliveries for their small businesses. My constituents are already 
struggling to make ends meet with the current gas prices. Penalizing 
them for nothing more than living in a rural area will put them over 
the edge.
  In sum, the VMT tax would produce a strongly negative reaction from 
the public--and for good reason. Americans don't like paying for the 
gas tax, and they are sure going to be even more unhappy about having 
to deal with an administrative and privacy nightmare that VMT promises. 
Therefore, I urge my colleagues to join me in support of my amendment, 
which would prevent the Secretary of Transportation from using funds to 
research or implement this harmful fee.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I would like to join with the gentleman here in support 
of this amendment. I would like to make a couple of points.
  If you represent a rural district, this is an enormous issue. 
Oftentimes, on average, jobs will pay less in urban areas to begin 
with. On average, a lot of these folks have to drive long distances to 
work. We've got people in my district today that drive 50 and 60 miles 
one way to their job every day, and this would be an enormous hardship 
on these folks.
  I would also add that the Secretary of Transportation and the 
administration, 2 years ago when we were trying to get a highway bill 
done, the administration took this off the table. They said, We're not 
going to do this. And so I don't see why the Secretary would need to do 
research or any kind of means of implementation if, in fact, they so 
strongly oppose this type of taxation.
  So for several different reasons, I commend this gentleman on this 
amendment and rise in its support.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. I oppose this amendment strongly, but not because I like a 
VMT, particularly, and not that I do not understand that in rural areas 
this can be very burdensome. However, we have to have additional 
revenue. The reason our infrastructure is in decline is simple: We're 
simply not raising enough revenue.
  We haven't decided how to raise revenue to fund our infrastructure 
needs. Yet we have report after report from the American Society of 
Civil Engineers with an infrastructure report card that gives us a D, 
estimating that more than $2 trillion in investment is needed in our 
system, a gap of at least $27 billion each year, from the DOT's own 
most recent conditions and performance report. There is a $27 billion 
per year gap just to maintain the current system of highways and 
bridges in a state of good repair.

                              {time}  2050

  The gas tax has not been raised since 1993. The total amount of 
revenue that was raised 10 years ago is only a couple of billion 
dollars lower than it is now 10-11 years later. We know that the 
vehicles that are being produced now, correctly, and we must do this, 
are more efficient than they were earlier and so gasoline tax doesn't 
bring in as much money. That's fine, but you still have to have the 
revenue to build a transportation infrastructure program that is going 
to be good that will keep the economy of the country strong. Every good 
and every product of this country has to move along an efficient 
transportation system covering all of our modes of transportation and 
has to be kept up, in good repair.
  And for the major population growth which continues at 10 percent 
every decade with all these major metropolitan areas going up and up 
and up in population, you have to have a lot of new infrastructure 
built and you have to maintain the old infrastructure in the older 
communities or everybody is going to be behind. Even the rural areas, 
even though many of them, and in the gentleman's poor part of the 
country, there are States where more than half, several States, at 
least 10 States that have more than half of all of their counties 
losing population. But to allow the infrastructure, the highway system 
to fall apart in those places, means you doom those areas to an 
economic future which is going to be very bleak, indeed.
  So the amendment, it's unfortunate because we are probably going to 
have to use different kinds of money-raising mechanisms in different 
parts of the country. This one makes it not possible for the 
administration to even think about using the vehicle miles tax even in 
the urban, major urban areas of the country.
  In any case, I oppose the amendment. I know quite well what the 
result of my opposition is going to be, but I think ultimately, we 
somehow have to gain the courage and the will to raise the revenue that 
is necessary in order to keep our economy strong.
  The transportation system in its totality represents close to 25 
percent of the whole economy in this country. You cannot have a viable, 
robust economy with the jobs that we need if we do not figure out how 
to do what's needed in all parts of the country. So I oppose the 
amendment.
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
  Mr. LATHAM. And I appreciate what the gentleman, my good friend from 
Massachusetts, is talking about. I think you clearly remember the 
testimony from Secretary LaHood before the subcommittee.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last 
word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I yield to Chairman Latham.
  Mr. LATHAM. I thank the gentleman very much. I just want to talk 
about the subject that the gentleman from Massachusetts brought up.
  The Secretary of Transportation came before the subcommittee. We were 
talking about the difficulty we

[[Page H4139]]

were having as far as trying to write an appropriation bill with no new 
authorization. The Secretary on several different occasions said he 
would not entertain and they would strongly oppose both an increase in 
the gas tax and vehicle miles driven, and I'm sure that the gentleman 
from Massachusetts remembers that testimony very clearly.
  I would just suggest that maybe someone should talk to the 
administration about finding sources for funding because the Secretary 
has taken every possibility off of the table to fund a new highway 
bill. And now we're apparently looking at a reauthorization that's 
finding other unique ways of funding rather than user fees or gas tax 
or miles driven or registration fees, whatever, they have taken off the 
table. So I would suggest the gentleman from Massachusetts would maybe 
visit with Mr. LaHood at the Transportation Department.
  Mr. OLVER. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I yield to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts.
  Mr. OLVER. I would like to continue this conversation for another 
moment or two, and that will save me time rather than having to figure 
out how to get my own time, Mr. Chairman. Somewhere along the way, it 
will come back to me. But in the midst of the discussion, I'm not 
likely to come up with it very easily.
  In any case, I recognize exactly what the chairman of the committee 
is saying. It will be interesting to see what the authorizers come up 
with. I hope you had some ideas as to what they are going to do because 
the position that I am taking of the need for the infrastructure 
development in this country, both state of good repair, just repairing 
it, keeping it going, and then the additional infrastructure that is 
needed because of growth of populations, that is there and we must 
solve the problem. And it's not just the executive's problem, it's not 
just our problem, it's a problem for all of us, and this takes one 
piece, one possible piece out of the mix that could be part of the mix, 
simply takes it off the table, and that I object to. As somebody that 
is not going to be here next year when you may have to come up with a 
solution, I object to that being taken off the table. I oppose the 
amendment.
  Mr. CRAVAACK. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I yield to the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. CRAVAACK. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Sir, I can give you my commitment that I believe in a robust 
transportation system within the United States. We need it for economy 
and commerce, we understand that. But definitely, the VMT is a toxic 
part of this puzzle that we just can't use. I look forward to finding 
other alternatives to be able to fund the robust transportation system 
that I believe the United States needs. I thank the gentleman very much 
for his comments.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. 
Chairman.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. I will be brief. I wish the gentleman from Minnesota great 
luck in solving this one. I am so happy for the people on that side of 
the aisle who must be just ecstatic--ecstatic--that they have a 
President who will take all of these things off the table. But what are 
you going to do when you have to have jobs and a robust economy in this 
largest economy in the world?
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to my chairman.
  Mr. LATHAM. You will remember also, during the hearings with the 
Secretary, I asked that very question of the Secretary. You're taking 
gas tax, vehicle miles traveled off the table, let's find a way to do 
this.
  He said: Well, we need to sit down at the table and discuss this.
  I said: Mr. Secretary, you're at a table. I'll be glad to come around 
and sit with you, and we'll discuss it. You come up with some ideas. 
And he came up with zero ideas, if you'll remember that.
  Mr. OLVER. Reclaiming my time, at my age, I can't remember what 
happened several days ago, and that is quite some time ago. But, you 
know, it will slowly come back. Eventually, it slowly comes back.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Cravaack).
  The amendment was agreed to.

                              {time}  2100


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Cravaack

  Mr. CRAVAACK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used in furtherance of the implementation of the European 
     Union greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme for aviation 
     activities established by European Union Directive 2008/101/
     EC.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Minnesota is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CRAVAACK. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this 
bipartisan amendment.
  This amendment is a simple one. It prohibits the use of taxpayer 
funds in furtherance of the implementation of the European Union's 
Emissions Trading Scheme.
  Starting in January, the European Union began to unilaterally apply 
the Emissions Trading Scheme, ETS, to civil aviation operators landing 
or departing from one of the EU member states.
  Under the Emissions Trading Scheme, EU member states will require 
international carriers and operators to pay emission allowances--and in 
some cases penalties--for carbon emissions resulting from their 
operations. The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme will apply to the entire 
length of the flight, including those flights outside the European 
airspace.
  For instance, for a flight leaving Los Angeles for London, taxes 
would be levied not only for the portion of the flight over the United 
Kingdom, but also for portions of the flight over the United States and 
international waters.
  Despite serious legal issues and objections by a majority of the 
international community, including the United States, India, Russia, 
China, and the International Civil Aviation Organization, the EU is 
pressing ahead with its plans. Russia, China, and India are taking very 
clear actions in opposition of EU's emission scheme. China and India 
have directed their air carriers not to comply with the EU's ETS 
requirements. China has delayed Airbus orders, India is threatening in-
kind retaliation, and Russia is threatening to deny airspace access to 
European air carriers.
  The European Union's unilateral application of the Emissions Trading 
Scheme onto U.S. operators without the consent of the United States 
Government raises significant legal concerns under international law, 
including violations of the Chicago Convention and the U.S.-EU Air 
Transport Agreement.
  The Emissions Trading Scheme will actually harm efforts to reduce 
global aviation emissions. By taking money away from the airline 
industry that would otherwise be invested in NextGen technologies and 
the purchase of new aircraft--two proven methods for improving 
environmental performance--the EU is siphoning scarce money to be used 
as each member state sees fit.
  A better approach to address aviation's impact on global emissions is 
to work with the international civil aviation community through the 
U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, to establish 
consensus-driven initiatives to reduce emissions. However, because the 
EU has made no effort to delay or retract the illegal Emissions Trading 
Scheme, this amendment is necessary to ensure that American taxpayer 
dollars will not be used to further the Europeans' unilateral and 
questionable scheme.
  Last October, the House passed H.R. 2954, which directs the Secretary 
of Transportation to prohibit U.S. carriers from participating in the 
Europeans' illegal scheme. A companion bill has been introduced in the 
Senate. It is my hope that the Senate will move

[[Page H4140]]

quickly towards its passage. That legislation, along with this 
amendment to the Transportation appropriations for fiscal year 2013, 
will send a very strong message to our European friends that an illegal 
and unilateral action to address aviation emissions is not the proper 
course of action to deal with this issue. This must be a consensus-
driven solution, not an international mandate.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I thank the distinguished gentleman, the Chairman, for 
the time, and let me just rise in strong support of this amendment.
  This, I think, is one of the most outrageous, offensive taxes that 
I've ever heard of. The idea of taxing U.S. travelers from any point in 
the United States just because they're traveling to a destination in 
Europe is simply outrageous. It's going to be devastating to U.S. 
carriers, and it's something that we have got to put a stop to.
  Like the gentleman talked about the international community's strong 
opposition, I think on a bipartisan basis everyone is opposed to this. 
It is, again, a far overreach. It is something that is unnecessary. It 
is simply wrong.
  I really appreciate the gentleman's work on this to have this 
amendment brought forward as at least a first step in stopping this 
very, very, I think, egregious new tax.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, the European Union has implemented an 
emissions trading regimen as a means of reducing greenhouse gas 
emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels. They are not succeeding very 
much. They are putting in a fairly hard effort to do that, but the 
greenhouse gas emissions continue to go up. The CO
2
 
percentage in the atmosphere is now, in the year 2012, about 50 percent 
higher than it has been at any time in the last 500,000 years and going 
up, continuing to go up. But we're not going to settle climate change 
issues tonight.
  I understand that this amendment will be adopted, but the effort is 
going to have to eventually go on to deal with our climate change.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PETRI. Mr. Chair, I am pleased to support this amendment which 
would simply prohibit the use of any of the funds provided in the bill 
from being used to further the implementation of the illegal European 
Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
  The EU ETS has been a source of great concern of the Aviation 
Subcommittee, this House, the Administration, and the aviation 
community. The U.S. is joined in its opposition to the EU ETS by 
countries around the world.
  Under the ETS, EU Member States will require international air 
carriers to pay emissions allowances, and perhaps penalties, for carbon 
emissions. A major objection is that the Emissions Scheme will apply to 
the entire length of the flight--including flight outside the European 
airspace.
  The EU has no jurisdiction over airspace outside its boundaries and 
no legal basis to impose this Scheme on our air carriers. The 
unilateral application of ETS to our carriers in this way without our 
consent is a violation of international law--including the Chicago 
Convention and the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.
  There are other more productive ways to address the issue of carbon 
emissions, and the U.S. stands ready to work with our world partners 
through the International Civil Aviation Organization to do so--that is 
how you resolve global aviation issues.
  Last year, this House passed H.R. 2954 which would direct the 
Secretary of Transportation to prohibit U.S. carriers from 
participating in this illegal Scheme. The Senate Commerce Committee 
held a hearing recently on a companion bill that has been introduced in 
the Senate.
  This amendment is in line with the actions that the House has taken 
previously and reiterates the message that we will not stand for this 
unilateral, illegal scheme to be perpetrated against our carriers.
  I urge Members to take a stand against this power grab and support 
this amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Cravaack).
  The amendment was agreed to.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Price of Georgia

  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the amounts made available by this Act 
     may be used by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
     Administration to require the placement of line markers under 
     section 195.410(a)(1) of title 49, Code of Federal 
     Regulations, other than at public road crossings and railroad 
     crossings.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, we've all heard about many 
regulations that come from this town that seem to be ridiculous; 
sometimes they're innocuous, sometimes they're even humorous. These are 
regulations oftentimes that don't help anybody at all. Sometimes, 
however, they harm real people's lives and their homes and their 
businesses.
  Last year, Mr. Chairman, along a half-mile stretch of Remington Road 
in Chamblee, Georgia, Plantation and Colonial Pipelines, under a 
requirement from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, 
was forced to place 17 new hazard markers on the front lawns of homes--
in a subdivision. That brought the total number of hazard markers to 
47-47 within a half-mile stretch, a half-mile stretch of road in a 
residential subdivision where there's no new construction and the 
pipeline has been there for decades. You talk about ridiculous.
  The regulation states:

       Markers must be located at each public road crossing, at 
     each railroad crossing, and in sufficient number along the 
     remainder of each buried line so that its location is 
     accurately known.

  Now, though this particular regulation hasn't changed for many years, 
its interpretation clearly has. So, last month, my office sent a letter 
to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration for 
clarification, and in response they said:

       While the regulations specify the minimum requirements for 
     line markers, they do not specify a maximum number of line 
     markers. A pipeline operator is allowed to exceed the minimum 
     regulatory requirements.

  Well, Mr. Chairman, they certainly have exceeded the minimum number 
of markers. Look at this front lawn here, five or six markers in the 
front lawn of a residential area. Now, clearly this is absurd. I'm 
certain there are other communities across this great country that are 
similarly affected by an overzealous regulator. This doesn't help a 
soul, but what it does is likely depress property values at a very 
challenging time for homeowners. So let's put some common sense back in 
government.
  This amendment that I have offered today is designed to stop the 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration from broadly 
interpreting these regulations in the future by ensuring that no funds 
from the bill shall be used to require the placement of line markers 
other than at public road crossings and railroad crossings.
  Now, we have struggled to find the right avenue to address this 
issue, and hopefully we will be able to get the attention of these 
wonderful folks and bring some sense to all of this. And though not 
possible to have this amendment brought to conclusion on this 
legislation, I do know that the chairman is as interested as I am in 
ending the overbearing regulatory scheme that seems to have overtaken 
every single department in this town.

                              {time}  2110

  If the chairman would be desirous, I would be happy to yield to him 
for a comment.
  Mr. LATHAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Obviously, we all want pipeline safety. That is the number one issue, 
but what you're talking about here is truly beyond the pale as far as 
any kind of common sense. We've got to find a balance, like you've 
talked about. The overreach that we're seeing in so many areas of the 
Federal Government causes things like this that are just simply 
nonsensical.
  I appreciate the gentleman for bringing the issue forward and would 
want to work with him in the future to find a resolution to your 
concerns.

[[Page H4141]]

  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. I thank the chairman, and I appreciate that.
  Again, this is simply ridiculous. If that's your front lawn, Mr. 
Chairman, that's the last place that you want to see those signs in 
your neighborhood and in your residential area.
  So I appreciate the opportunity to bring this amendment. I ask 
unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
  There was no objection.


                  Amendment No. 8 Offered by Mr. Posey

  Mr. POSEY. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used for the international highway technology scanning 
     program, a program within the international highway 
     transportation outreach program under section 506 of title 
     23, United States Code.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. POSEY. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is very simple. It prohibits 
taxpayer dollars from being used for the Department of Transportation's 
International Highway Technology Scanning Program. According to the 
Department of Transportation, this program enables the Department's 
officials to access innovative technologies and practices in other 
countries that could significantly improve our Nation's highways.
  I, and most taxpayers, really don't have any problem with that. If 
someone else has a good idea, we can and we should learn from that. But 
most taxpayers were outraged when ABC News and Citizens Against 
Government Waste highlighted that this program was bankrolling globe-
trotting junkets across the world.
  One such trip featured a 17-day ordeal to Australia, Sweden, the 
Netherlands, and Great Britain to look at billboards, all the while, 
racking up taxpayer bills at five-star hotels and restaurants. Among 
the important research conducted by the team was a trip to Scotland to 
evaluate ``road furniture along rural roads.'' And in the Netherlands 
they took a serious look at ``examples of outdoor advertising.''
  When the Federal Government is up to its neck in debt, such 
expenditures truly are an abuse of the taxpayers. As a result, Citizens 
Against Government Waste was able to apply enough pressure to the 
agency to suspend the $1.2 million annual program. We're not really 
sure what ``suspend'' means, if it's for a day, a week, or a month.
  ABC News reported that upwards of $12 million has been spent on the 
program since the year 2000. I see the suspension of the program by 
Transportation Secretary LaHood as a really good start, but there is 
still no guarantee that such waste will not resume, as nothing in law 
would prevent the program from being resurrected in the future. This 
amendment, very simply, will ensure that the program will not come back 
to life during the fiscal year 2013.
  Mr. Chairman, Washington is approaching another trillion-plus 
deficit. We simply cannot afford five-star junkets.
  I urge support of the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I rise in support of this amendment.
  I appreciate very much the gentleman from Florida bringing this issue 
to the attention of the House and, again, very strongly support his 
proposal to do away with this wasteful spending.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Posey).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to a 
possible attempt for a Member to bring forward an amendment which would 
prohibit any funds in H.R. 5972 from being used towards the California 
High-Speed Rail Project.
  As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure and a cochair of the California High-Speed Rail 
Congressional Caucus, this project is a priority of my State and the 
voters who agreed to move our State into the 21st century and to be 
able to be competitive globally.
  Our Nation's ability to move goods and people is essential to develop 
and maintain a strong economy, and this project is critical to meeting 
the State's growing transportation needs. In fact, traffic congestion 
in California is increasing by 10 percent each year, and it's estimated 
that the State's airports will reach capacity by 2030. As California's 
population continues to boom, we must invest in alternative systems 
that will remedy this constant congestion and will help to protect the 
health and environment of local communities.
  Now, as a member of the Transportation Committee, I happened to have 
the opportunity to participate with Chairman Mica when we went to the 
Central Valley to talk about the possibility of moving forward on high-
speed rail. And admittedly, there were some concerns that were brought 
forward, but there were far more supporters who wanted to see high-
speed rail move forward than those who were opposed.
  And again, I want to stress that the voters in California took it 
upon themselves to tax themselves as an independent State body, to tax 
themselves to move forward on high-speed rail. So who are we, or the 
Federal Government, to prohibit providing funds that might match to 
enable that project to move forward?
  Also, given the inherent speed limitations in the Northeast corridor, 
it seems to me that it would be ill-advised to deny California--and 
this country, more importantly--the efficient transportation options 
that many of us so richly need, especially knowing that California is 
one of the most traveled areas in this country.
  As a result, even the earliest investments would be helpful before 
this project is completed. Now is the time to make smart and long-
sighted investments for alternatives to congested highways and, 
simultaneously, to create jobs.
  Mr. Chairman, we have before us an opportunity to support American 
workers for today by putting America on the road to recovery while, 
more importantly, developing a world-class rail system that we could 
compete with our competitors like China. Proper funding for the 
California High-Speed Rail project is a necessity for the success of 
California and the success of the United States.
  I yield back the balance of my time.


             Amendment Offered by Mr. Griffith of Virginia

  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used for any new grant under the livable communities 
     program of the Department of Transportation or the 
     sustainable communities program of the Department of Housing 
     and Urban Development or to implement any transfer of funds 
     for any such new grant.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, today I rise to offer an 
amendment that would prohibit the Department of Transportation and the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development from issuing any new 
livable or sustainable community grants. While the Appropriations 
Committee did not include any new funds for these grants, my amendment 
goes a step further to ensure that neither the Department of 
Transportation nor the Housing Secretary can attempt to transfer any of 
their Department's discretionary funding.
  In 2009, under the direction of President Obama, EPA, Department of 
Transportation, and HUD began the Partnership for Sustainable 
Communities, a joint venture to provide millions of dollars to local 
communities to entice them to buy into the President's sustainable 
development agenda.
  Over 2010 and 2011, DOT and HUD awarded approximately $96 million in

[[Page H4142]]

grant funding for sustainable and livable community initiatives; 
however, these programs were never authorized by Congress. In fact, the 
Financial Services Committee, who has authority over HUD programs, said 
that the:

       Sustainable Communities Initiative, which has yet to be 
     authorized by the Committee, should not be funded at the 
     expense of other critical affordable housing programs.

  This opinion of the sustainable communities program by the Financial 
Services Committee, was bipartisan and unanimous.
  Last year, thankfully, no new funding was provided for sustainable 
community grants, but the conference committee reminded the Secretary 
that these efforts were eligible activities under other programs, 
meaning funding for the sustainable community grants could have been 
obtained by shifting funding. This amendment would prevent that 
shifting.
  I do not believe the Federal Government should be enticing our local 
and State governments with this money to get them to buy into the 
President's sustainable development agenda that cedes some local or 
State authority to Federal or international bureaucracies and governing 
boards.

                              {time}  2120

  I commend the Appropriations Committee for not giving any new funds 
to these unauthorized grants. This amendment makes it clear that these 
activities should not be continued at DOT or at HUD under any 
circumstances.
  As Robert Frost wrote, ``Good fences make good neighbors.''
  This amendment will put up a fence to prevent shifting funding to a 
program this Congress has not approved, and it sends a message that our 
various States and local communities should be in control of their 
housing, transportation and zoning policies.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I rise in strong support of this amendment.
  Let me just say that this has been a subject of great discussion with 
the ranking member and me over time. I hope the people of the House 
understand and the American people understand what an outright waste of 
money these projects have oftentimes become.
  Everybody here is talking about our needing more money for 
infrastructure, transportation; let's get the trust fund built up; 
we're trying to find new ways of funding. I hope everyone understands 
that, 2 years ago, before we got control of this committee, they took 
$150 million out of the highway trust fund to pay for sustainability 
projects and grants.
  That's rather interesting.
  When it's an unauthorized program, no one even has a definition of 
what a ``sustainable community'' is. There is no definition of where 
this money could go. This is $150 million, and people talk about all 
their projects at home--of their highways in disrepair, of the bridges 
falling down--and we're spending $150 million out of that trust fund 
for things that aren't even defined and that are not authorized.
  Mr. Chairman, it is outrageous.
  I just spoke with the Secretary of HUD a few weeks ago on this issue 
because I have zeroed it out in this bill. There is no money for 
sustainable communities, whatever that is. Do you know the example the 
Secretary gave me of a good project? It would be to take millions of 
dollars from the Federal Government and give it to the area in North 
Dakota where they're having the expansion of the oil boom.
  The State of North Dakota has billions of dollars in surplus. It has 
more money than it knows what to do with. Yet the Secretary says we 
should take sustainable community dollars from the Federal Government, 
of which we're borrowing 40 cents on the dollar from China, and give it 
to North Dakota to find out where it should put up its buildings in the 
oil boom area. I'm sorry, but I think they can afford to do that 
themselves.
  So I would very strongly support the gentleman's amendment. Again, 
this is money that is coming out of the trust fund. Everybody here 
talks about roads in disrepair, bridges falling down, all that we need 
to do in the way of help for infrastructure, for jobs--and we're giving 
it to places like North Dakota. I'm sorry, but this is a waste of 
money, ill-defined, unauthorized. I very strongly support the 
gentleman's amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Again, I understand my very limited position here on this 
one, but I do rise in opposition to the amendment.
  I am a strong supporter of the Sustainable Communities Program, and I 
am disappointed that there is no funding in this bill for sustainable 
communities. I have heard complaints that the Sustainable Communities 
Program isn't authorized. Well, neither is the CDBG program authorized, 
yet we include funding for that program in the bill and have for many 
years. It has not been individually authorized in quite some period of 
time.
  The program actually has some good purposes. It integrates Federal, 
State and local investment activity in housing, land use, economic and 
workforce development, and transportation. At a time when we're under 
budget constraints, it's fairly important, if not critical, that the 
support for regional and local planning is available to help localities 
invest limited resources strategically in order to achieve the greatest 
short- and long-term benefits for citizens.
  In the first 2 years, which is the 2 years that the program has been 
used--and it is a pilot program, basically, a demonstration program--it 
has been used in both urban and rural areas and in areas that are a 
little more than a city or a metropolitan area or that are a small 
group of counties up to a broader group that might cross State lines, 
where there are interests across those State lines and where the people 
have wanted to do it.
  It was always one purely of applications from groups of people at the 
local level as well as from organizations at the local and regional 
levels that would put forward proposals to do that kind of integration 
and joint planning with the Federal Government, the State governments, 
and the local governments as to how they wanted to see their areas 
grow.
  So I think it is an activity that we ought to have some opportunity 
for, but I know that that's not going to happen tonight. I simply 
regret that that is the way things are. I do oppose the amendment, but 
know that it will be adopted.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Griffith).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Flores

  Mr. FLORES. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), add the 
     following new section:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enforce section 526 of the Energy Independence and 
     Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140; 42 U.S.C. 17142).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. FLORES. I rise to offer an amendment which addresses another 
misguided and restrictive Federal regulation.
  Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act prevents 
Federal agencies from entering into contracts for the procurement of 
fuels unless their life cycles of greenhouse gas emissions are less 
than or equal to emissions from an equivalent conventional fuel 
produced from conventional petroleum sources. In summary, my amendment 
would stop the government from enforcing this ban on all Federal 
agencies funded by the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 
appropriations bill.
  The initial purpose of section 526 was to stop the Defense 
Department's plans to buy and develop coal-based and/or coal-to-liquids 
jet fuel. This restriction was based on the opinion of some 
environmentalists that coal-based jet fuel might produce more 
greenhouse gas emissions than traditional petroleum-derived fuels.
  Unfortunately, the ban on the fuel choices of section 526 has been 
expanded to include all Federal agencies,

[[Page H4143]]

not just the Defense Department. This is why I am offering this 
amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 
appropriations bill.
  Federal agencies should not be burdened with wasting their time in 
studying fuel restrictions when there is a simple fix. That fix is to 
not restrict our fuel choices based on extreme environmental views, bad 
policies and misguided regulations like those in section 526. Placing 
limits on Federal agencies' fuel choices is an unacceptable precedent 
to set in regard to America's energy independence and our national 
security.
  Mr. Chairman, section 526 restrictions make our Nation more dependent 
on Middle Eastern oil. Stopping the impact of section 526 will help us 
to promote American energy, to improve the American economy, and to 
create American jobs. In addition, we must ensure that our military has 
adequate fuel resources so that it can rely on domestic and more stable 
sources of fuel.
  With the increasing competition for energy and fuel resources and 
with the continued volatility and instability in the Middle East, it is 
now more important than ever for our country to become more energy 
independent and to develop and produce all of our domestic energy 
resources.

                              {time}  2130

  Mr. Chairman, in some circles there is a misconception that my 
amendment somehow prevents the Federal Government and our military from 
being able to procure and use alternative fuels such as biofuels. Mr. 
Chairman, this viewpoint is categorically false. All my amendment does 
is allow the Federal purchasers of fuels, particularly our military, to 
be able to acquire the fuels that best and most efficiently meet their 
needs.
  I offered a similar amendment to the CJS appropriations bill, and it 
passed with bipartisan support. My identical amendments to the three 
other FY13 appropriations bills also passed by voice vote. My friend, 
Mr. Conaway, also had language added to the Defense authorization bill 
to exempt the Defense Department from this burdensome regulation.
  Let's summarize the problems with section 526. Number one, it 
increases our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Number two, it hurts our 
military readiness, our national security, and our energy security. 
Number three, it also prevents the potential increased uses of some 
sources of safe, clean, and efficient American oil and gas. Number 
four, it hurts American jobs and the American economy. And five, last 
but not least, it costs our taxpayers more of their hard-earned 
dollars.
  My amendment fixes these problems, and I urge my colleagues to 
support the passage of this commonsense amendment.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I thank the gentleman, and I rise in support of this 
amendment.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Flores).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Burgess

  Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used by the Secretary of Transportation to authorize a 
     person--
       (1) to operate an unmanned aircraft system in the national 
     airspace system for the purpose, in whole or in part, of 
     using the unmanned aircraft system as a weapon or to deliver 
     a weapon against a person or property; or
       (2) to manufacture, sell, or distribute an unmanned 
     aircraft system, or a component thereof, for use in the 
     national airspace system as a weapon or to deliver a weapon 
     against a person or property.

  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa reserves a point of order.
  The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Chairman, there has been a lot of discussion about 
the use of unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to as drones, in United 
States airspace, and rightfully so.
  Beginning with the FAA reauthorization bill which passed this House 
earlier in the year, the expansion of the use of unmanned aerial 
vehicles in the continental United States was expanded. Arguably, this 
was a useful expansion because we have vast areas of our border which 
are difficult to monitor. Sometimes there are search and rescue 
occurrences that happen in rough terrain where an unmanned aerial 
vehicle may be indispensable. But since that time, there has been a 
growing body of people who have been concerned about the effect of 
allowing these unmanned aerial vehicles the ability to surveil 
citizens. There has also been talk about the EPA using it to monitor 
herd size and the grazing habits of farmers. These are questions that 
are going to need to be answered. But in recent weeks, I have become 
aware of some discussion that in certain police jurisdictions they were 
talking about an army of unmanned aerial vehicles to assist in law 
enforcement.
  Maybe that's something that's worthwhile to consider, but I can't 
help but feel that a step taken that far is something that this body 
should consider. While I appreciate the subcommittee chairman's concern 
about legislating on an appropriations bill, we're in new territory. 
We're in uncharted territory, and this amendment is a first-aid 
maneuver. It is to place a bandage, if you will, on a growing problem 
to see if we can't stop and have the discussion before the Secretary 
spends money authorizing the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles.
  No one disputes in war zones and in battle space the use of an 
unmanned aerial vehicle. An armed unmanned aerial vehicle is incredibly 
useful. No one argues the utility of these unmanned aircraft in that 
situation. All I would say is that before we allow that to be occurring 
in our backyards, on our highways and byways, we need to consider the 
effects of that. Are we, in fact, ensuring the constitutional rights of 
the people who not just are being surveilled, but who may be being 
controlled by the armaments that would be present in these weaponized 
vehicles?
  My amendment would prevent the Secretary of Transportation, the head 
of the FAA, from approving any application to use an unmanned aircraft 
in the United States airspace for the purpose of arming or weaponizing 
that aircraft. It does not affect the surveillance question. So 
surveillance drone applications certainly, if they are authorized, may 
go forward. Nor does it affect weaponized drones that are operating 
outside the United States airspace.
  The amendment that I offer today is preemptive. As to my knowledge, 
no actual applications have been filed with the FAA to use armed drones 
in U.S. airspace. But I believe it is necessary, as there has been some 
discussion in the public media about the ability to arm unmanned aerial 
vehicles. I personally believe this is a road down which we should not 
travel. It is the old argument of sacrificing safety for security, and 
ultimately achieving neither objective.
  I think this is an amendment that would be well advised by this body 
to consider this evening. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it 
if it is allowed to stand, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I continue on my reservation, and I move to 
strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I want to thank the gentleman. Unfortunately, for 
consistency, we're going to have to pursue the point of order.
  This issue has been brought to my attention. I've expressed concerns 
myself as to how information is used. Certainly, we want to make sure 
that we're very careful as far as privacy issues in this country, the 
way that these things may be used for purposes that no one quite 
understands or intended to have happen.
  While I share your concerns, for consistency reasons here, I must 
insist on my point of order.
  I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts, the ranking member.

[[Page H4144]]

  Mr. OLVER. I will be very brief.
  I serve on the Homeland Security Subcommittee for Appropriations, and 
I don't think that the Homeland Security authorizers have done anything 
along these lines, and that's where it really ought to be dealt with, I 
would think.
  So I will agree with what you're doing.
  Mr. BURGESS. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. LATHAM. I would be more than happy to yield to the gentleman from 
Texas.
  Mr. BURGESS. Here is the problem.
  It was a simple line in the FAA reauthorization bill. We were all 
happy when we reauthorized the FAA. It hadn't been done in some 26 
attempts--``the dog ate my homework,'' we got IOUs and extensions on 
the FAA. But then here was this very simple language allowing for the 
expansion of unmanned aerial vehicles in the national airspace. None of 
us really thought that was much of a problem, but our constituents are 
bringing it back to us. They are concerned about privacy, and they're 
concerned about Federal agencies surveilling normal activities of 
commerce in which people may be engaged. But then we have gone one step 
further.
  If these drones are weaponized, you can--if you've been surveilled 
unfairly, you can go to court and perhaps seek a remedy. But if a 
bullet is fired from one of these platforms, you don't have any remedy 
if you're the recipient of that bullet.
  All I'm asking is that we take all due care and caution, and exercise 
all due care and caution. We are entering a Brave New World here, and 
it is incumbent upon every one of us to be certain we do so with all 
care and caution before we proceed.
  I appreciate the gentleman allowing me to express my thoughts on this 
amendment. I wish it could stand. I wish we could vote on it this 
evening. I understand for consistency why he is insisting on his point 
of order. But we're going to have to revisit this.
  H.R. 5950 is standalone legislation that would prohibit this 
activity. I encourage Members of Congress to look into cosponsoring 
that.

                              {time}  2140

  Mr. LATHAM. Reclaiming my time, let me just say, in the authorization 
of the FAA, their specific role was air traffic concerns that they may 
have safety concerns, collisions with other aircraft. I agree with the 
gentleman, it should probably be a Homeland Security issue. I also 
serve on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations. It has 
not been brought up in that.
  I do share your concerns. But unfortunately, I must insist on my 
point of order.


                             Point of Order

  Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the 
amendment because it proposes to change existing law and constitutes 
legislation in an appropriation bill and, therefore, violates clause 2 
of rule XXI.
  The rule states in pertinent part: ``An amendment to a general 
appropriation bill shall not be in order if changing existing law.'' 
The amendment imposes additional duties and requires a new 
determination.
  I ask for a ruling of the Chair.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does any Member wish to be heard on the point of 
order?
  If not, the Chair is prepared to rule.
  The Chair finds that this amendment includes language requiring a new 
determination regarding the end use of certain aircraft systems and 
their components. The amendment, therefore, constitutes legislation in 
violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.
  The point of order is sustained, and the amendment is not in order.


             Amendment No. 7 Offered by Mr. Turner of Ohio

  Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to establish, issue, implement, administer, or 
     enforce any prohibition or restriction on the establishment 
     or effectiveness of any occupancy preference for veterans in 
     supportive housing for the elderly that (1) is provided 
     assistance by the Department of Housing and Urban 
     Development, and (2)(A) is or would be located on property of 
     the Department of Veterans Affairs, or (B) is subject to an 
     enhanced use lease with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. TURNER of Ohio. Mr. Chairman, we must ensure that the men and 
women who bravely served our country have access to affordable housing. 
My amendment seeks to make sure that conflicting government regulations 
do not pose an impediment to achieving this important goal.
  Currently, the VA requires a veteran's preference for housing built 
on VA property. However, HUD requires that HUD-assisted projects 
contain no preferences. These conflicting rules and regulations make it 
nearly impossible to help low-income senior veterans access affordable 
housing on VA property with HUD assistance.
  My amendment prohibits HUD from using funds to enforce the 
restriction against a veteran's preference for housing projects built 
on a VA campus or that use a VA-enhanced use lease. The language is 
identical to an amendment that I authored which the House unanimously 
approved twice and was included in H.R. 3288, the Fiscal Year 2010 
Consolidated Appropriations Act.
  As a result, in my southwest Ohio community, St. Mary Development 
Corporation is currently building housing for senior veterans on the 
campus of the Dayton VA, which will help provide veterans close access 
to the services they need.
  Mr. Chairman, this project can be a model in that it can be used 
across the country to help homeless veterans, provide low-income 
housing for veterans, and respond to the needs of seniors in the 
community. I urge all my colleagues to support this important 
amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I would just like to lend my support for this amendment. 
It's something where clarification needs to be done, and the rules need 
to work for veterans for these processes. This has been one of the 
hang-ups for veterans being able to get into assisted living or houses. 
And any backlog that there has been has been basically a bureaucratic 
backlog, rather than a funding issue in the past. So it's a good 
amendment, and I would urge its passage.
  Mr. OLVER. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Very briefly, I would just like to congratulate the 
gentleman from Ohio for being watchful of this sort of thing. This is 
the sort of thing that, it seems to me, ought to be really very 
logical. And I have supported it in the past, as he has already 
referenced. So I'm happy to see that it's working in your community.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Turner).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Garrett

  Mr. GARRETT. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. _. None of the funds made available in this Act shall 
     be used to promulgate, issue, establish, implement, 
     administer, finalize, or enforce the proposed rule issued by 
     the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and published 
     in the Federal Register on September 16, 2011 (76 F.R. 70921; 
     relating to Implementation of the Fair Housing Act's 
     Discriminatory Effects Standard).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. GARRETT. Mr. Chair, I rise today to offer an amendment that 
attempts to restore some sanity, fairness, and certainty to mortgage 
and insurance companies. My amendment would undo harmful economic 
actions taken by the administration that will, if carried out, continue 
to weaken credit availability and job creation.
  You see, earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development proposed a rule to establish

[[Page H4145]]

regulatory standards regarding the use of the legal theory known as 
``disparate impact.'' Disparate impact liability allows for plaintiffs 
and government agencies to bring suit charging discriminatory practices 
based solely on statistics. If statistics indicate, for instance, that 
disparity exists between the number of loans made in a specific area to 
a certain preferred minority class versus the number of preferred 
minorities that live in that area, a lender could be charged with 
discriminatory practices, even if there was no intent whatsoever.
  Now, we all agree that discrimination is terrible and that when there 
is intent, we must prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. But 
under the example I laid out, the lender could even have specific anti-
discriminatory practices in his company in place, but still be found 
liable under this legal theory. You see, accurate risk identification 
and classification is essential to the lending and insurance business, 
but the HUD rule ignores that.
  Risk-based lending and insurance underwriting and pricing that 
unintentionally results in a statistically disparate outcome, that is 
not discrimination.
  The proposed HUD rule would create a presumption of discriminatory 
disparate impact that could basically undermine the basic purposes of 
risk-based pricing, which ensures persons with different risk 
characteristics have to make payments commensurate with the risk they 
pose. So protected-class characteristics, including race, are actually 
prohibited from consideration in this assessment. State law already 
prohibits insurers from recording race, for example. But this HUD rule 
requiring race consideration would be impossible, then, under State 
law.
  Looking specifically at homeowners insurance, commonly considered 
factors--including applicant's claim history, construction materials, 
the presence or absence of a security system, and the distance from a 
firehouse--could be barred if they were found to result in creating a 
statistical disparity for a class defined by race, ethnicity, or 
gender.
  You see, all 50 States have anti-discrimination provisions in their 
housing insurance regulations already, and there is no claim that these 
regulations have been insufficient. So the process that HUD proposes 
for the disparate impact rule is, therefore, unworkable and 
economically impractical.
  The process HUD proposes for defending against a charge of unlawful 
discrimination based upon disparate impact would then require a 
defendant to prove a ridiculously high standard, that the challenged 
practice is necessary to its very survival, and that its business would 
basically collapse if it didn't do it.
  You see, the process HUD proposes would find the defendant company 
liable if a court could find another practice that is simply less 
discriminatory, not, instead, a reasonable, economical, practical, 
workable, state-authorized, or known practice. Simply, all they have to 
come up with is another practice.

                              {time}  2150

  Extending disparate impact analysis to facially-neutral practices 
exceeds HUD's authority under the FHA and it is contrary to law. 
Extending disparate impact analysis to facially-neutral practices 
therefore is arbitrary and it is capricious. Therefore, the application 
of this HUD rule on the insurance industry should be precluded, and it 
should preclude it also because of McCarran-Ferguson. Recognizing 
disparate impact analysis under the FHA exceeds HUD's authority under 
the FHA and therefore is contrary to law.
  The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge on this. I 
think it was just last year. Unfortunately, you may know that that case 
was withdrawn. Why? Because of pressure from this administration. The 
administration rightly, I believe, was concerned that the Court would 
strike down the whole theory as being unconstitutional.
  Now recently a new case had been submitted to the Supreme Court for 
consideration on the very same issue. I hope the Court takes that case 
up soon. The Justice Department knows it has a weak case, and I do not 
believe that this administration should try to front-run the Supreme 
Court and attempt to push through this failed legal theory.
  My amendment would prohibit HUD from finalizing this rule that harms 
credit availability and job creation. It is supported by the Mortgage 
Bankers Association, the National Association of Mutual Insurance 
Companies, along with a couple other institutions as well--the American 
Insurance Association and the Property Casualty Insurance Association 
of America.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. The issue here seems to be--and I don't know this very 
well. The issue seems to be that there have been cases where 
discrimination has occurred, and it has been adjudicated as having 
occurred when there was no intent to do so in the first place.
  In a recent HUD action, this impact was used to protect the rights of 
women who were evicted because they were victims of domestic violence. 
Well, there was no intent to discriminate against the victims of the 
domestic violence, but that's what it was that has been adjudicated in 
this particular case.
  Cases of this sort have been brought before 11, I think, of the 13 
appeals courts at this point, and the rule which HUD has put forward, 
the so-called disparate impact rule, comes out of their understanding 
of the cases before the appeals courts where discrimination was 
determined legally in the appeals courts to have occurred.
  So the idea that the gentleman is putting forward of prohibiting the 
finalization of the disparate impact rule which rises out of these 
cases before the appeals court seems to me to be exactly the opposite 
thing that should be done. Unless you get to a point where the appeals 
court gets to a higher court, which I guess the higher court is the 
Supreme Court of the United States, and they overturn the positions 
that have been taken by these several appeals courts in rather similar 
cases, then HUD is doing exactly what they need to do.
  So I must rise in opposition to this. All of the people in the 
authorizing side of this are saying--at least on my side of the 
authorization process, which means the ranking member of the 
authorizing committee here--is opposed to this amendment. Mr. Frank, 
the ranking member of the Housing Subcommittee, also opposes, I think, 
for roughly the reason that I have articulated here. So the gentleman 
is trying to stop the process.
  Mr. GARRETT. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLIVER. I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.
  Mr. GARRETT. And that's just my point. I'm not trying to stop any 
process. What I'm trying to do is prevent this administration from 
doing an end-run on the process.
  You set up the record almost completely straight. There were court 
cases on this. It was going to the Supreme Court. It was about to go to 
the Supreme Court and be heard, and then this administration put 
pressure on the city that was involved in it to stop it, and they 
withdrew the case. We would have had the decision by the Supreme Court 
in that matter, but the administration basically said no, because they 
wanted to go ahead with their actions here without interference of the 
Supreme Court.
  Fortunately, though, there is now another case that's been filed, and 
it's from my home State of New Jersey. This will give us all exactly 
what we need, just what you were saying: lower court, and now it's 
being appealed up to the Supreme Court.
  Mr. OLVER. Reclaiming my time, we have no idea whether the Supreme 
Court will take this case. In the meantime, until such time it is taken 
and they do it, and we can't assume that, then the actions of HUD are 
proper in reaching a disparate impact rule that adheres to the findings 
in the several appeals courts. My staff tells me it is 11 of the 
appeals courts have reached similar decisions which are adhered to by 
the HUD impact rule proposed.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognize for 5 minutes.

[[Page H4146]]

  Mr. LATHAM. Let me just stand up in support of the amendment. I think 
it's a good amendment. Insurance companies are not able to determine 
risk, and that oftentimes means much greater cost.
  I think it's a good amendment going forward, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Cassidy

  Mr. CASSIDY. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used by the Secretary of Transportation to make any 
     transfer under the last proviso under the heading 
     ``Department of Transportation--Office of the Secretary--
     Payments to Air Carriers''.

  Mr. CASSIDY. As that reading suggests, this amendment addresses 
accountability for the Essential Air Service.
  Earlier this year, the House and Senate agreed upon an FAA 
authorization after a fairly contentious debate. Chief among the issues 
which were resolved was a dispute over the Essential Air Service 
program, which provides Federal subsidies for airlines which provide 
flights to rural or otherwise remote airports.
  While the work done by Chairman Mica and his colleagues adds several 
important reforms to the EAS program, a number of issues have since 
surfaced. Tonight, I'm offering an amendment to hopefully resolve one 
of those.
  As currently written, the T-HUD bill funds the Essential Air Service 
program through a $114 million appropriation from the Airway Trust Fund 
and via what are called overflight fees, which are charged by the FAA 
to foreign aircraft using American airspace and navigation assets. In 
2011, as a result of an annual increase of 17 percent to the overflight 
fee, the Department of Transportation estimated that the fee would 
bring in around $69 million in revenue for fiscal year 2013, which, 
when paired with the annual appropriation from the Airway Trust Fund, 
would provide all the money needed to operate the EAS program.

                              {time}  2200

  DOT, however, was wrong about their original $69 million projection. 
According to the President's budget and report language in this bill, 
the projected revenues from the overflight fees are actually $100 
million. That means that when you combine $114 million appropriated in 
this bill plus the $100 million in revenues from the overflight fees, 
the EAS program has $214 million.
  Now, you could ask, Is this adequate to fund the program? It 
certainly should be. In fiscal year 2011, before the plan began to 
start scaling back the program, expenditures were around $195 million. 
Put differently, as we've scaled back the program, we have actually 
increased funding by about $19 million. Only in Washington would that 
be a scale. I shouldn't laugh.
  But that's not the only source of funding that the bill provides. It 
also allows the Secretary of Transportation, at his discretion, to 
provide more funds in case the $214 million in revenue does not cover 
all obligations. How is this possible? Through the authorizing language 
tacked onto the end of the EAS section at the bottom of page 7:

       Provided further: That if the funds under this heading are 
     insufficient to meet the costs of the essential air service 
     program in the current fiscal year, the Secretary shall 
     transfer such sums as may be necessary to carry out the 
     essential air service program from any available amounts 
     appropriated to or directly administered by the Office of the 
     Secretary for such fiscal year.

  Let me repeat: ``such sums as may be necessary to carry out the 
essential air service program.''
  In other words, this is a blank check for the Secretary to redirect 
to EAS if they overrun their $214 million allowance.
  I have introduced this amendment to correct this issue and enforce 
the fiscal discipline that I think even the strongest proponents of the 
program hope to see. The amendment preserves the EAS program, but 
forces it to live within its mean and prioritize spending to where it 
is most necessary and cost effective.
  My amendment nullifies the Secretary's authorization language from 
the bill and allows the FAA to spend only the money appropriated to it 
through both the Airways Trust Fund and the overflight fees.
  Some may oppose this and point out that the section in question does 
not deal with any new spending or funding, only with allowing the 
Secretary to direct unobligated balances. However, this perpetuates the 
``use it or lose it'' mentality in the Federal Government. It should be 
a principle that agencies ask for and receive only the funds they 
absolutely need for their programs and that any unnecessary overpaid 
funds be returned unspent to the taxpayers. Empowering the Secretary to 
use unspent money on more EAS flights is a step in the wrong direction.
  Under the bill as written, there will be no impetus for FAA to 
prioritize funds or substantially cut back on unnecessary flights if 
too much is spent. Any gaps in funding can simply be filled in by the 
Secretary at his discretion without congressional approval.
  I voted last night for the McClintock amendment to phase out the EAS 
program, but I respect the decision of the House and the Members who 
voted to keep it in place. The program is going to stay; my amendment 
doesn't change that. However, just because someone voted not to 
eliminate the program does not mean they cannot vote to impose 
reasonable rules and limits. Simply put, spending $214 million for EAS 
is enough. Please keep it from going any higher and preserve the 
congressional power of the purse.
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CASSIDY. I yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
  Mr. LATHAM. We are pleased to accept the amendment.
  Mr. CASSIDY. I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I'm happy to congratulate the gentleman from 
Louisiana for his solution, but I have to admit that I cannot identify 
what the problem is that this solution solves.
  This language that you are excluding has been in the legislation for 
years, before I think I was--the earliest time I was in the ranking 
membership of the Transportation Subcommittee, and that of course was 
several years before I chaired the Transportation Subcommittee. I think 
it has been in the language all that time and never come up. So there 
has been no problem that we solved where it has never been used. That 
flexibility has never been used to transfer money from some place in 
order to put money into the EAS program.
  So, yes, you have a solution, but I don't know what the problem is.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. It may be that in practice it has not resulted in a 
problem. It certainly is a loophole that evades the congressional power 
of the purse.
  Now, if in some way we could look into the future and know it was 
never going to be an issue, you're right, it would not be an issue. On 
the other hand, without that kind of prescience, it seems to be the 
better part of valor to reclaim our power.
  Mr. OLVER. In any case, I don't object to the amendment, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Cassidy).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Chabot

  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to design, construct, or operate a fixed guideway 
     project located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 
minutes.

[[Page H4147]]

  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, this Nation cannot continue spending money 
it doesn't have. It is imperative that Congress end the borrow-and-
spend mentality that created our staggering national debt and that we 
put our Nation on a sustainable path to a balanced budget. Now, more 
than ever, we need to be pragmatic in our approach to transportation, 
ensuring that every dollar spent represents a long-term investment that 
will improve the flow of commerce and create American jobs.
  My amendment this evening is about priorities. The city of Cincinnati 
has been in the planning process of constructing a streetcar for years 
now. The primary funding for this project came in the form of an urban 
circulator grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in the 
amount of $25 million. Earlier this year, city of Cincinnati officials 
came to my office looking for even more funds for the Cincinnati 
streetcar project. The total cost is expected to be well over $120 
million for a 4-mile loop connecting only two Cincinnati neighborhoods 
with little-to-no positive impact on traffic congestion, freight, or 
our aging infrastructure. Far from a necessity, the Cincinnati 
streetcar is a luxury project that our Nation and our region simply 
cannot afford.
  Imprudent and irresponsible spending of taxpayer dollars on 
discretionary projects like this must stop. For too long, taxpayers 
have been footing the bill for frivolous projects that reap little to 
no benefit. Much like the ``bridge to nowhere,'' this ``streetcar to 
nowhere'' is yet another instance of wasteful government spending.
  My amendment simply says, no more--no more funding for this streetcar 
in my own district. Unlike the Cincinnati streetcar, however, there are 
a number of other infrastructure projects that are of high priority and 
far more worthy of Federal infrastructure investment. In particular, 
there are two ready-to-begin projects that would have a direct impact 
on Cincinnati's economy and create permanent jobs, and those are 
replacing the Brent Spence Bridge and completing the I-71 Martin Luther 
King interchange.
  The Brent Spence Bridge carries two major interstate highways that 
connect Ohio and Kentucky and serves as a major thoroughfare not just 
for Cincinnatians, but for the entire Midwest region, and in fact the 
Nation at large. Furthermore, this bridge rests on one of the busiest 
freight routes in North America and is estimated to carry 4 percent of 
the Nation's gross domestic product annually.
  The Federal Highway Administration has declared the Brent Spence 
Bridge functionally obsolete, indicating that the current state of the 
bridge does not meet today's standards. Currently, this bridge carries 
170,000 vehicles on average per day, which is more than double the 
80,000 it was designed to carry. Replacing the bridge would save an 
estimated $748 million in congestion costs annually, savings that would 
grow in real dollars to $1.3 billion annually by 2030.
  The other worthy project I mentioned, the Martin Luther King 
interchange plan, has long been on the minds of businesses and citizens 
in our region, so much so that stakeholders have their own money in 
this plan. Unlike the streetcar to nowhere, the completion of this 
much-needed project would have a direct impact on one of Cincinnati's 
most important economic hubs. The Martin Luther King interchange would 
free up traffic congestion around the University of Cincinnati, 
Children's Hospital, and the uptown region of Cincinnati.

                              {time}  2210

  This proposed interchange would directly impact 60,000 people who 
work in the area and allow far greater highway access, generating an 
additional 2,000-plus permanent jobs.
  We need to focus our limited resources on projects that are 
practical, impactful, and that will deliver results. Those of us in 
Congress must make responsible choices and invest in projects on their 
merits and nothing else. We owe it to the American people to invest 
only in those projects that will produce real results, keep us 
competitive, and, most importantly, create American jobs.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Does any Member rise in opposition to the 
amendment?
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio 
(Mr. Chabot).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to share my concerns over the 
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recent regulatory 
guidance on the ``oilfield exception'' to the agency's ``Hours of 
Service'' requirements for drivers.
  Under the Administration's regulations, specially trained drivers of 
specially constructed vehicles used to service oil wells do not have to 
count waiting time at the well site toward their hours of service 
limit. The new regulatory guidance, however, provides that drivers of 
support vehicles, such as those used to transport materials and 
supplies, used directly in the delivery of oil and gas services do not 
qualify for that same exception. The administration issued this 
guidance without prior comment, making it effective immediately and 
requesting comments after the fact.
  Support drivers generally work under the exact same conditions as 
drivers of specially constructed vehicles, including the same periods 
of idleness while their vehicles are in use at the well site. Many 
drivers operate specially constructed vehicles one day and other 
support vehicles the next.
  The new guidance creates a different standard for these exact same 
drivers. When operating a support vehicle, the driver's waiting time 
counts toward his or her hours of service limit, but when operating a 
specially constructed vehicle, that idle time does not count.
  This double standard will create needless confusion among drivers and 
dispatchers who will now need to juggle competing rules for drivers 
depending on the vehicles they're driving on a particular day. In 
addition, while not applying the waiting time exception to drivers of 
support vehicles means that it will require more trucks and drivers to 
be dispatched while others are out of service, increasing truck 
traffic, especially on rural roads.
  Many of our rural roads, particularly in the most active producing 
areas such as the Marcellus and the Bakken shale, are already 
struggling under the burden of heavy truck traffic. Adding more heavy 
vehicles to the roads will not enhance safety no matter how rested the 
drivers might otherwise be.
  When I dealt with this issue with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration in 2006, I thought we had reached an understanding of 
the industry's oilfield equipment vehicle operations and safety 
protocols. Unfortunately, the agency's new interpretation undoes this 
careful compromise.
  It is important for the administration to document why it is pursuing 
this new interpretation and provide that data--if it actually has any--
that it is using to support this change. I believe that, at a minimum, 
the agency should not put this revised guidance into effect until after 
the public has had a chance to comment and for the agency to consider 
those comments. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should 
not implement the new administrative interpretation until it provides 
adequate and complete justification for the changes that it's seeking 
to make.
  Mr. Chairman, I call this regulatory overreach to the attention of 
the requisite committee so that, while they're doing their oversight of 
this agency, they can review this interpretation and perhaps add their 
influence to undoing this overreach.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Lankford

  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used for the salary of any officer or employee of the 
     Federal Highway Administration to implement, administer, or 
     enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.) 
     or Executive Order No. 13186 of January 10, 2001, with 
     respect to, or to determine any action of the Administration 
     to have a significant impact under section 102(C) of the 
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(C))

[[Page H4148]]

     based on the effect of such action on, the cliff swallow or 
     barn swallow (as listed in section 10.13(c)(1) of title 50, 
     Code of Federal Regulations).

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oklahoma is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Chairman, this may seem like a very simple, 
straightforward amendment, but we do have an issue in construction.
  In the summer all across America, the cliff swallow and the barn 
swallow, which is a very common migratory bird--this is not an 
endangered species; it's not even a threatened species; it is a common 
migratory bird in almost every State in America--they travel back and 
forth, move around, and they love to nest around man-made objects.
  The law states now, currently, that you can't touch a bridge or any 
kind of construction if that barn swallow or cliff swallow is present 
there. So during the prime construction time, from early June through 
September, you can't do construction on many bridges, or construction 
companies have to hire people to go out and stand around the 
construction site to wave off the birds to keep them from nesting there 
to be able to fight this off during the earliest part of the season. 
There are numerous cases of this.
  In my own State of Oklahoma, let me just give you one example of 
that.
  In Ellis County, State Highway 46, they were painting a bridge. Just 
painting it; no construction, no anything else. The total project was 
estimated to cost $185,000. Because in the process of going out to 
check and verify they found a barn swallow there, they had to halt that 
until after September to come back and paint it. It increased the price 
of the project $27,000 to set up, realize it's there, tear down, come 
back, and do it all over again--a 15 percent increase for a painting 
job.
  Now, I say this to say this is not an issue that is going to shape 
the future of America, but this is one of those issues that does 
increase the cost of construction over a bird that is not endangered, 
that is not threatened, that is incredibly common.
  Should we honor wildlife? Absolutely. But this dramatically drives up 
the cost and decreases the amount of construction that we can do in 
America during prime construction season. I would just suggest that we 
take just these two species and set them out just for transportation 
purposes here.
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. LANKFORD. I yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
  Mr. LATHAM. I understand the gentleman's concern, and I'm prepared to 
accept the amendment.
  Mr. LANKFORD. With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. This is a peculiar amendment, it seems to me.
  The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is administered by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior, so there's no 
enforcement power in the Department of Transportation. Are there 
agreements by which the DOT and the Department of the Interior are 
bound?
  Mr. LANKFORD. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Yes. Actually, in 2001, the President did Executive 
Order 13586. That executive order extended that out to all agencies 
dealing with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So it does extend this out 
to the Department of Transportation as well, as well as all their 
agencies.
  Now, if they're going to prosecute, obviously it's going to be the 
Department of Justice, and the rules are going to be promulgated out of 
Fish and Wildlife, but all agencies are affected by it based on the 
executive order from 2001. So we're just trying to take this for 
transportation only because it is such an issue for much of the 
transportation across the entire country.
  Mr. OLVER. And this was an executive order promulgated by President 
Clinton or by President Bush?
  Mr. LANKFORD. By President Clinton at the very end, in early January 
of 2001--January 10, actually.
  Mr. OLVER. Well, I don't know how this amendment is going to solve 
the problem that you have exactly, but the chairman has agreed to adopt 
it. So I will state an objection because I really don't understand how 
this is going to solve your problem, but I will not go beyond that.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  2220

  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lankford).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  The Acting CHAIR. The amendment is agreed to.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, you have hit the gavel.
  I would like to ask unanimous consent to call for a recorded vote on 
that.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts was on his feet. 
The request is timely and does not require unanimous consent.
  Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Oklahoma will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 9 Offered by Mr. Denham

  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used for high-speed rail in the State of California or for 
     the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Chairman, this is a very simple amendment. It just 
basically says, at the end of this bill none of the funds may be used 
for high-speed rail in California.
  California has a project that was supposed to cost $33 billion. The 
voters in California voted for bonds of $9.9 billion. The Federal 
Government was supposed to come up with $10 billion, and a private 
company was supposed to come up with $10 billion. The problem is there 
is no private investor for the $10 billion; the Federal Government is 
broke with $16 trillion worth of debt and can't come up with $10 
billion; and the State of California can no longer float the bond 
because their credit rating is so bad.
  To compound the matter, it's no longer a $33 million project. It 
ballooned to $68 billion, then on up to $98 billion. And when talking 
to Secretary LaHood, he said there's no end in sight, that this is a 
project that could continue to change as we move forward. In fact, 
that's what we're actually seeing in California, an initiative that 
bounces back and forth, $10 billion here or $10 billion there.
  So again, this amendment is very simple. It just says none of these 
funds can be used for high-speed rail.
  In California we've got highways that are falling apart, bridges that 
are falling apart. We need to make sure that our gas tax dollars get 
used for their intended purpose of actually improving our roads and 
highways.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, there are no funds made available in this 
Act for high-speed rail. None. And so, since this is a 1-year bill, I 
don't think this amendment does very much.
  The gentleman from California has a problem with a process that has 
been going on now for at least a decade in the development of a high-
speed rail process program, and the people of California have spoken on 
this by referendum. They have passed the bond bill by referendum. I 
think bond bills usually take an extraordinary vote, two-thirds vote or 
something like that. Am I correct?
  Would the gentleman from California confirm that it was a two-thirds 
vote by which the referendum was passed?
  I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. DENHAM. Sir, you are correct. And now the voters are two-thirds 
against the bill by several different polls.

[[Page H4149]]

  Mr. OLVER. Well, that can be established if they actually have a 
referendum that repeals what they have done. But there has been--as we 
know, California has received about $4 billion of moneys from the 
Federal Government from earlier funds in earlier bills which have 
already been obligated or are about to be obligated. And actions on 
this bill would not have anything to do with the obligation of those 
funds, would not be in effect at any time that could affect the 
obligation of those funds because they have to be obligated before the 
end of this fiscal year, where this bill is certainly not going to be 
in place in before the end of the fiscal year. But there are processes 
also going on. Unfortunately, we have, at the moment, no one here who 
is really knowledgeable precisely about what it is that's going on in 
California.
  But let me just comment here that the proposal for the starting use 
of these funds has been controversial. There are people who say, well, 
why are we building this in the Central Valley of California? Because 
the first intended construction of the project has been in the 
Bakersfield to Fresno corridor, and then if it is extended it is then 
likely to be extended to the Modesto metropolitan area, or the 
Stockton--and/or, I think it is at Modesto that there is a bifurcation. 
The one link of it going then to Stockton and to Sacramento, and the 
other going to San Jose and San Francisco. And in either case, you have 
to start somewhere.
  When we started to build the interstate highway system, we didn't 
start in the center of the cities, which would have been very 
complicated. We started in building those legs of the interstate 
highway system where it was easy to build them. And that is possible. 
The right of way, I think, has already been acquired by the California 
DOT to build the high-speed rail system in that first corridor, in the 
Bakersfield-Fresno and maybe on to Modesto, as I have understood the 
developments in the last few weeks as they go on.
  So the gentleman's problem is, it seems to me, with what's already 
been agreed to by California and what is already going forward, moneys 
that have, some of them been obligated and in place to go, and some of 
them yet to be obligated, but about to be obligated.
  Mr. DENHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from California.
  Mr. DENHAM. No dispute here on whether or not this bill has any 
mention of high-speed rail. I would agree. There is no mention of it. 
And I won't even dispute here tonight whether the President wants to 
spend more on high-speed rail or whether the Governor wants to spend 
more money on high-speed rail. That is a different debate.
  The Acting CHAIR (Ms. Foxx). The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. OLVER. Madam Chair, I will then move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. I think I'm doing the correct thing there. And I'll yield, 
again, for the continuation of what the gentleman from California is 
saying.
  Mr. DENHAM. Thank you sir. Thank you for yielding.
  I would agree that the President can come up with more money if he 
feels that he wants to transfer more stimulus dollars, or we may have 
another vote, depending on another allocation or appropriation that may 
want to spend money on high-speed rail.
  This amendment says that our gas tax dollars will go back to 
California to be used for our highways and roads. That's all this 
amendment does. That's all I intend to do is to make sure that the 
Governor of California does not take money out of the block grant from 
the Federal Government that goes into the STF fund to use it for other 
things such as high-speed rail. The Governor has to use the money where 
this Federal Government intends it to be used, very simple.
  Mr. OLVER. Reclaiming my time, the language of the amendment, as I 
have it before me, says none of the funds made available by this Act 
may be used for high-speed rail in the State of California, or for the 
California High-Speed Rail Authority.
  Mr. DENHAM. Correct.

                              {time}  2230

  Mr. OLVER. How does that guarantee that California's gas tax moneys 
will not be used for high-speed rail?
  Mr. DENHAM. As Congress, if in this bill we stipulate that none of 
the funds can be used for high-speed rail, then none of the funds can 
be used for high-speed rail. I mean, it's a very simple mandate for the 
Governor: Use the money where it was intended to be used but not for 
high-speed rail. The language is very simple. That's why we wrote it as 
one sentence: that none of the funds may be used for high-speed rail.
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from Iowa.
  Mr. LATHAM. Is it your impression that what the gentleman is saying 
is that they can't take highway trust fund money and put it into high-
speed rail and that they can't take transit dollars and put it into 
high-speed rail?
  It would be my understanding, since there is no money in the bill for 
high-speed rail, that he is talking about other pots of money that 
would go to California and about just trying to wall that off from 
being used. That's my understanding. Maybe the gentleman has a 
different interpretation.
  Mr. OLVER. At this point, I really don't know whether your 
understanding is anywhere close to mine. I think this is an amendment 
deserving of opposition, so I am opposing the amendment. I think this 
amendment should not be adopted, and you can do as you wish.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Denham).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. DENHAM. Madam Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Landry

  Mr. LANDRY. Madam Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to promulgate or implement any regulations that would 
     mandate global positioning system (GPS) tracking, electronic 
     on-board recording devices, or event data recorders in 
     passenger or commercial motor vehicles.

  Mr. LATHAM. Madam Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
  The gentleman from Louisiana is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. LANDRY. I am honored to join my distinguished colleagues, Ranking 
Member Rahall, Mr. Huizenga, Mr. Tom Graves, and Ms. Herrera Beutler, 
on this amendment.
  Our bipartisan amendment prohibits any funds under this act to be 
used to implement any administration mandate for global positioning 
systems, electronic onboard recorders, or event data recording devices 
on both passenger and commercial vehicles.
  Madam Chairman, the Department of Transportation has become obsessed 
with electronically monitoring vehicle movements. Right now, the DOT is 
working on a mandate which would require that every car have a device 
which is very similar to an airplane's black box. Additionally, they 
are working on another mandate which would require that trucks carry an 
electronic onboard recorder. Even the name sounds scary. These devices 
would record and transmit data when the truck is in use.
  This regulation is so costly that even President Obama has singled it 
out as a regulation which needs more study. He did so because it is 
estimated that the mandate will cost the trucking industry at least $1 
billion to implement.
  Madam Chairman, the truckers in my district cannot afford this cost. 
I know some companies like these devices. That's great. They can put 
them in their trucks voluntarily. However, just because a few companies 
like the devices, we should not mandate that everyone use them. For 
this reason, I

[[Page H4150]]

hope the House will adopt this commonsense amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LATHAM. I withdraw my reservation of the point of order, and I 
move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The reservation is withdrawn.
  The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. I appreciate very much the gentleman's concern on this 
amendment. I think his timing is, maybe, unfortunate. This is a major 
issue in the reauthorization bill that, hopefully, is going to be filed 
tonight. This issue will be dealt with. It truly is an authorizing 
issue that should not be on this bill.
  So, while I may share some concerns with the gentleman, I certainly 
don't think it's appropriate on this bill, especially at this moment 
when the highway bill is being filed and when, hopefully, this issue 
will be resolved in that bill.
  With that and with some reservation, I urge a ``no'' vote on this 
amendment, unfortunately.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. OLVER. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. OLVER. I think that what the chairman has said is probably about 
as good as it gets.
  What we have now is a slightly amended version of the proposal. My 
understanding is that the major long-distance trucking companies are 
against this language and that most of the safety advocates are against 
this language but that there are other trucking interests that favor 
this language or that are happy with this language. So you have a real 
controversy among people.
  Of the long-distance truckers and safety advocates, I would generally 
think that that is something we should worry about; but as the chairman 
has said, this is an issue that really ought to be in the hands of the 
authorizers and worked out by the authorizers. That may or may not be 
dealt with in the authorization legislation, but in any case, the 
limitation on funds is effective only for this 1-year appropriations 
bill.
  Mr. LANDRY. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. OLVER. I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana.
  Mr. LANDRY. I have heard from some of my colleagues and outside 
groups, and they would argue that this is not the time to have this 
debate.
  But if not now, when? When will we publicly debate the issue? We are 
waiting on a conference report of which we know not what's in it. So 
this is the time. I would argue that this is the time for us to have 
that debate.
  To be clear, just because a few big companies in this country want 
these types of devices, what about the small business owners out there 
that everyone on both sides of the aisle continually come to this mic 
and propose that they support when our actions of opposing this 
amendment would say to the big corporations, ``I'm with you,'' and to 
the little guys, ``I'm not''?
  Mr. OLVER. In reclaiming my time, maybe the gentleman understands and 
I simply do not.
  Who is about to promulgate regulations in this area of mandating 
global positioning systems, electronic onboard recording devices and so 
forth? Where is the action to do that? Where is the problem here?
  Mr. LANDRY. In the Department of Transportation, is my understanding.

                              {time}  2240

  Mr. OLVER. My very competent staff tells me that we have been 
requiring this in the Mexican trucking controversy over the past few 
years.
  We've been fighting over that one back and forth for years and years 
now, and I can't remember whether there was or wasn't that sort of 
thing there. I don't remember it having come up before at any point.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Landry).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. OLVER. Madam Chairwoman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Louisiana 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Scalise

  Mr. SCALISE. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __. None of the funds made available under this Act 
     may be used to implement any rule or regulation that 
     expressly prohibits an owner or landlord of housing from 
     using a criminal conviction to deny housing to an applicant 
     for such housing.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Louisiana is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. SCALISE. Madam Chair, this amendment is very limited and 
straightforward to deal with a problem that we've started getting a lot 
of calls from Realtors in our district, as I'm sure many of my 
colleagues across the country are receiving, as well as property owners 
who own apartment units and other types of housing that are rented out.
  The Department of Housing and Urban Development has recently come out 
with a rule called the ``disparity impact rule,'' and it's not a final 
rule that has been issued yet. We're just trying to make a narrow 
clarification that would allow property owners to be able to check and 
make sure that if somebody has a criminal conviction that that person 
could be prevented from moving into an apartment complex, for example, 
where you've got single mothers with young children.
  Every single day in this country, property owners use background 
checks to check on criminal records of people that are applying for 
housing. This has nothing to do with violations of the Fair Housing 
Act. It's just a basic common practice that property owners use every 
day to make sure that somebody that's looking to move into housing 
doesn't have a criminal record. Some property owners can look at that, 
and some property owners can choose not to be concerned about that. But 
many millions of property owners across the country do look at whether 
or not somebody has got a criminal conviction in determining whether or 
not they will rent them housing. It's not only to protect the property 
owner who has in many cases hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not 
millions of dollars, invested in that property, but also to protect the 
other residents who are renting property at that apartment.
  So this new rule that's come out jeopardizes the ability of those 
property owners to look and make sure that somebody doesn't have a 
criminal conviction on their record. What this amendment would do would 
just ensure that if the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
goes forward with this rule, that the rule won't prevent somebody from 
using a tool that has been in the hands of property owners for 
generations just to make sure that somebody doesn't have a criminal 
conviction when they're moving into this housing unit that they own.
  Again, I will use the example of a sex offender. There are sex 
offenders in most States, including my State of Louisiana. There are 
strict requirements of what somebody has to comply with if they're a 
convicted sex offender. They have to register, and they have to do a 
lot of other things. But if somebody doesn't comply with that law--and 
there are always cases we find of people who don't comply with that 
law--you don't know if when you're renting property to somebody whether 
or not they are a sex offender. But if you choose to do that background 
check and see if they've got that criminal conviction on their record, 
then you can say: Wait a minute, you're not coming into my apartment 
complex and jeopardizing the safety of those young children that 
already rent from me because we're going to make sure that if you've 
got that background check that shows that you're a sex offender, you're 
going to be denied.
  Yet this new rule jeopardizes their ability to carry out what is a 
basic enforcement mechanism that property owners all across the country 
use every day to protect their properties. We just want to make sure 
that as it relates to

[[Page H4151]]

criminal convictions, that property owners can continue to look at that 
and make sure that that is something that they're not going to be found 
in violation of a law if they use that mechanism.
  This is a simple amendment. I would urge its adoption, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                Amendment Offered by Ms. Herrera Beutler

  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Madam Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to build flood protection walls for Interstate 5 
     between mile posts 72-82 in Lewis County, Washington.

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Washington is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Madam Chairman, the reason I bring this 
amendment to the desk is because there are families, there are 
businesses, moms and dads in Lewis County on I-5 that have experienced 
devastating flooding. In fact, at one of my meetings back there, I met 
a wonderful older woman who has lived in that county for decades, and 
she said to me, Honey, when it starts to rain outside, I get terrified. 
I don't know if I should put all my valuables in the attic and I should 
leave the house. That's because in 2007, Madam Chairman, this county 
experienced devastating flooding. And every time it rains, the 
residents wonder if this is going to be the next catastrophic flood 
that they lose their businesses, lose their homes, and that devastates 
families.
  Our State legislature and locals in the community in Lewis County 
have been seeking a basin-wide solution to flood protection. The Army 
Corps of Engineers has spent decades studying this issue, and the time 
of the study is over. We also need a solution that isn't going to wall 
off the twin cities in Lewis County by erecting an 11-mile levee that 
basically turns those cities into a bathtub.
  With this amendment, I was seeking to prohibit that bathtub effect, 
so to speak, so as to protect the businesses and the families and the 
commerce that take place. We can come up with a better solution. 
However, Madam Chairman, because this is such an important issue, and I 
want to make sure that we do this right, I'm going to withdraw my 
amendment at this time.
  Actually before I do so, Madam Chairman, would it be possible to ask 
a question of the subcommittee chairman?
  Mr. LATHAM. Will the gentlelady yield?
  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. I would be happy to yield.
  Mr. LATHAM. I understand the concerns you have, and I would look 
forward to working with you as we get towards conference to try and 
address your concerns on this very important issue, obviously, for your 
constituents and would be pleased to be of any kind of assistance we 
possibly could.
  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
  With that, I withdraw my amendment, Madam Chairman, and yield back 
the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
  There was no objection.

                              {time}  2250

  Mr. LATHAM. I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. LATHAM. Madam Chairman, I believe we are coming to the end here, 
and I just want to make a couple of comments.
  As far as the gentleman from Massachusetts, once again, this will be 
his last appropriation bill on the floor as the ranking member and a 
former chairman of this subcommittee. Mr. Olver has done an outstanding 
job over the years. We don't always agree on everything. Do we, John? 
But we work very, very well together. And I just want to wish you and 
your wife the best.
  You are a great partner and someone who I admire very, very much--
your intelligence, your ability to look in detail at programs. And we 
kid each other--or I kid Mr. Olver a lot about maybe having debates 
inside his mind sometimes in committee. But he's always extraordinarily 
thoughtful and someone, again, that I admire very, very much.
  Madam Chairman, we've been through a 2-day process here. We have gone 
through a lot of amendments. I believe that we are to the point where 
we can bring this effort to a conclusion.
  And I would, again, thank Mr. Olver, thank the staff, the 
professional staff on both sides, on the majority and on the minority 
side, for doing such an outstanding job. Working together is very 
difficult sometimes on these bills. Also, in my office, Doug Bobbitt 
does such a fabulous job working on this bill for me. But I just want 
to say thank you to everyone.
  Madam Chairwoman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Denham) having assumed the chair, Ms. Foxx, Acting Chair of the 
Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that 
that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 5972) 
making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and 
Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year 
ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes, had come to no 
resolution thereon.

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