Border Security Does Not Belong to National Guard

No one disputes the fact that we need stronger border security. As a sovereign nation, we have a right and a responsibility to control our own borders. However, our borders cannot be truly secure if we continue shifting the responsibility for border protection from the Department of Homeland Security, where it belongs under current law, to the National Guard.

Not all units sent to the border region will be performing tasks that fall within the given tasks they have been trained to perform. I am greatly concerned about the impact this plan will have on the operational readiness of those units and the additional strain it will place on our already overused National Guard.


More Information on Animal ID Program is Needed

As Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, I understand the potential benefits that may be derived from a voluntary, private-based National Animal Identification System (NAIS); however, I also recognize the significant consequences for producers if missteps are made along the way. The language included in the Agriculture Appropriations bill adopted by the House requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lay out the detailed plan for the system before proceeding with its implementation.


Drilling in ANWR is Part of The Answer

I am glad to hear the Minority Leader acknowledge we have an energy problem, but surely we can all agree that conservation alone is not the panacea.

What we require is a balance between conservation and production which puts us on a clear path to energy independence. This should be a goal of the entire Congress – that means both sides of the aisle.

Even as worldwide demand for petroleum has increased in the last decade, the growth in production has been relatively flat. The inevitable result is higher prices at the gasoline pump – which is exactly where we are today.

The reality is that it takes time to go from an oilfield to the gas station. And because of opinions like the Minority Leader, we have lost considerable time in this regard.

And his delay hurts Americans in their pocketbook.

In 1995 in the 104th Congress, H.R. 2491 would have allowed oil exploration in ANWR. The Department of Energy has estimated that between 1 and 1.3 million barrels of oil a day could be derived from this source.

Unfortunately, this legislation was vetoed by President Clinton.

That was over 10 years ago. And given a timeline of 7 to 14 years for building the pipeline structure, it is time that we could scarcely afford.

I have been to ANWR. The vast coastal plain is unsuitable for habitation during the summer months because of its marshy consistency. Any caribou unlucky enough to calve in this region would likely die from exsanguination at the hands of the mosquitoes there.

The people in ANWR are counting on this Congress to do the right thing and allow them, the rightful owners of these mineral rights, to begin developing the resources that are granted to them upon statehood in 1959.


We Cannot Drill Our Way To Energy Independence

Republicans in Congress claim that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would cure America's addiction to oil, but the facts speak for themselves. We cannot drill our way to energy independence. Drilling in the Arctic would provide only a six-month supply of oil that would not be available for ten years. At best, it would put more money in the pockets of the oil companies at a time when they are enjoying record profits. At worst, it will threaten the habitat for more than 200 species who call the pristine wilderness home. The road to energy independence does not lead to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Congress should be working to pass a real energy plan that invests in alternative energy sources and creates jobs here at home.

Learn more about Energizing America at http://www.HouseDemocrats.gov/.

Help Free Up the Marketplace for Consumers

The Communications Opportunity, Promotion Enhancement Act of 2006 represents a significant step in providing much needed competition and choice in the video marketplace. This bill will lower prices, encourage more diversity in content and ownership, as well as ensure all consumers are highly valued thanks to strong anti-discriminatory language and severe penalties.

Ensuring Dam Safety Saves Lives and Property

The National Dam Safety and Security Program is important to advancing dam safety in the United States and preventing loss of life and property damage from dam failures. Proper regulation, inspection and safety training is critical to maintaining our nation's dams. This legislation will provide much needed assistance to our underfunded state dam safety programs.

Bringing Peace to the Congo and Aid to the Continent

If Africa is to achieve its promise, resolving the problems in the Congo will be critical. Already, the region's overlapping ethnic identities, and abundant natural resources have made the country a magnet for fighters from a half-dozen neighboring countries. If left untended, Congo's bloodshed will continue to infect the entire region and the continent. This bill is an important step on the long road towards bringing peace and prosperity to the Congo, and I am proud to be a part of a collaborative, bipartisan effort with some of the Senate's leading voices - Brownback, Durbin, DeWine - on Africa.

A Cap On Immigration Will Aid Congress and Americans

This amendment to the immigration bill the Senate is considering is crucial if we want to ensure that foreign workers aren’t taking the jobs of American workers. A cap is in place to be certain Congress has the authority to increase or decrease the number of H-1B visas given out each year as needed. A cap is a cap, and an automatic 20 percent increase takes Congress out of the decision making to protect American workers.

Limiting Diversity Visas Closes America's Doors

The Diversity Visa Program symbolizes what makes America great because with a little luck and hard work anyone can succeed here—we are the only country that can say that. By limiting most diversity visas to the world’s privileged elite the Gregg amendment would dash the dreams of all those who dream of a better life. The Gregg amendment would also shift visas away from Africa and the developing world and toward wealthier European and Asian states. This would overturn the whole point of the program!

Accepting the Gregg amendment would send a terrible message about what America is all about: not a land of opportunity, but rather an exclusive club.  


It Didn’t Work Then, It Won’t Work Now

Word on the street is that the Senate could wrap-up debate as early as this week on their version of immigration reform. Unfortunately for the American people, what the Senate is considering is far from true immigration reform; rather it is a rehash of a failed policy from twenty years ago.

Much like the amnesty bill that became law in 1986, the current Senate proposal will allow illegal immigrants to pursue a "path to citizenship" as long as they comply with certain requirements like paying a fine and back taxes. The Senate approach couples that with tougher border security measures and new sanctions for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

If you looked up a summary of the 1986 act, it would read eerily similar. The end result of that policy was over two million illegal immigrants were granted amnesty for entering the country illegally. As for the reform end, well, you tell me if we ever got that secure border we were promised in 1986.

So, here we are today, debating that same failed policy. The borders are as porous as ever and employers who break the law are not subjected to the harsh sanctions we were promised in 1986. If the policy of granting amnesty in exchange for stronger immigration laws and increased enforcement actually worked, we would not be re-living this debate today.