Energy & Environment

GOP chairman slams ‘underimpressive’ Interior budget plan

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) on Thursday blasted the Interior Department’s budget request, arguing it avoided confronting major problems while creating expensive, unnecessary programs.

Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the plan was “really underimpressive” and that he “found no idea in there that I consider creative or different or unusual.”

{mosads}He criticized what he saw as “just the same old, same old, raise taxes, raise fees, write more regulations and then throw money at a problem” in the $13.2 billion budget request, including money to acquire new federal land while current property needs maintenance. 

Bishop made the comments at a hearing with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. It was the sole hearing in the House on a day in which both chambers of Congress canceled their sessions because of a winter storm.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) welcomed the budget, pointing out that Interior, which leases land to energy production, proposes to bring more money in than it will spend.

“If Congress simply enacted your budget, we could reduce the deficit by more than half a million dollars,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen.”

Jewell said the proposal is “is a forward-looking budget that provides targeted investments to grow our domestic energy portfolio, creating jobs here at home, building communities resilience and revitalizing our national parks as they approach their 100th anniversary.”

While Republicans were highly critical of Interior policies such as those for endangered species and offshore oil and gas drilling, lawmakers said they were thankful to Jewell and Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor for venturing through the poor weather to come to the hearing.

“Secretary Jewell, thank you for being here today despite the fact that the federal government is shut down,” said Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam). “I’m very impressed that our secretary is here.”

Bishop asked that members of the panel submit any opening remarks for the hearing’s record by 5 p.m. “or whenever this building crushes under a blanket of snow … whichever occurs faster.”

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) said he was thankful for the “Alaskan weather,” and jokingly proposed moving Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to the streets surrounding the Capitol, because a lack of snow has made planning for the race difficult. 

Tags House Natural Resources Committee Interior Department Rob Bishop Sally Jewell
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video