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Let's remember that the NEA has an important impact on the arts throughout the country. The NEA stimulates the growth of local arts

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agencies and investment in the arts by state and local governments. Before the NEA, only five states had state-funded arts councils. Today, all 50 states do. Many of these local agencies have formed partnerships with local school districts, law enforcement, parks and recreation departments, chambers of commerce, libraries, and neighborhood organizations. Innumerable small towns and cities across America have benefited tremendously from federal investment in the arts.

   And the NEA has made special efforts to expand its reach into every community in this nation. The funding increase was to go to ensure that it had the resources to carry out this initiative. So, I hope that none of my colleagues will complain next year that their district received no grants from the NEA because it is their own fault that its reach will be stunted.

   Once more, the Republican leadership has worked to restrict the growth of the arts in America. And we cannot rely on private money to make up the shortfall when we withhold funding. In fact, since NEA funding is often matched by private organizations, when we withhold public dollars we stifle efforts to generate private donations.

   Mr. Speaker, the NEA is a crucial tool in building a vibrant arts community across the nation. We must do more for our artists and cultural institutions. I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.

   Mr. MALONEY of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I strongly oppose passage of H.R. 2466, the Fiscal Year 2000 Interior Appropriations Conference Report. Passage of this conference report is not only fiscally irresponsible, but it is also environmentally destructive. I urge everyone to oppose this bill.

   Again and again, we have seen the majority bring conference reports to the floor that we simply cannot afford to pass if we intend to live within the budget caps. Anyone who is concerned about saving Social Security should vote against this report.

   Just as bad, this bill contains virtually all of the anti-environmental riders from both the House and Senate versions of this legislation plus three new and equally harmful riders. For that reason as well I strongly oppose this conference report and will continue to oppose any legislation that weakens environmental laws, and infringes on public health, public lands, and the public treasury. I urge all of my colleagues to exercise fiscal and environmental responsibility, and vote `no' on this conference report.

   Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. Speaker, I supported the Department of Interior appropriations conference report, and commend Chairman RALPH REGULA who, despite strict budget restraints and difficult negotiations with the Senate, crafted a good bill. However, I do wish to express my opposition to the many policy initiatives, or so-called riders, that were added by the Senate and included in the report. The legislation overwhelmingly passed by the House on July 15 was far superior to the product returned by us by the Senate.

   I am concerned that these riders included in the conference report will delay the implementation of necessary rules and regulations that help protect the environment. Furthermore, I am very concerned that the riders single out certain industries and organizations for special protection which gives them an unfair advantage over others.

   My biggest concern, however, is that these initiatives will be paid for by every hardworking taxpayer. We should not ask the American people to pay for the kind of inappropriate, costly measures that have not been properly considered or authorized. Major policy decisions, such as these, should be considered by the appropriate authorizing committee after hearings and debate.

   Mr. Speaker, overall, I believe the conference product is a good one. In the future, however, we should resist the temptation to attach inapproirate policy intiatives appropriations bills.

   Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member rises today to express his great appreciation to the distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. REGULA), Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and the distinguished gentleman from Washington (Mr. DICKS), the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee, and to all members of the conference committee for the inclusion of a $10 million appropriation for the first phase of construction for a replacement Indian Health Service (IHS) hospital located in Winnebago, Nebraska, to serve the Winnebago and Omaha tribes. Of course, the conference committee is already well-aware of the ongoing situation with this hospital. Indeed, last year the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee kept the process going by including funds to complete the design phase of the project for which this member and Native Americans in the three state region are very grateful. Now, construction dollars are needed.

   Unfortunately, the Office of Management and Budget overruled Indian Health Service's FY2000 budget request for the first phase of construction, so there was no request by the Administration. Once the design is completed, it is important to begin funding for the first phase of construction without a delay. If there is a time lapse between completion of design and construction, it is very possible that costs will increase, making this project more expensive. That is why this appropriation action at this time is so critical.

   In closing Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to acknowledge and express his most sincere appreciation for the extraordinary assistance that Chairman REGULA, the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Subcommittee staff have provided thus far on this important project and urges his colleagues to support the bill.

   Mr. VENTO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the Interior Appropriations Conference Report. Since the Republicans took over the House, they have had the dubious distinction of using this spending bill to make substantive, and often controversial, policy changes. Most often, these decisions were in direct contrast to public interest and sentiment. Thus, it comes as no surprise, that we are on the floor debating mischievous attempts by the Republican majority today to undermine and roll back sound environmental policy originally designed by Congress to protect the land that each and every American rightly owns.

   The most egregious example of this is the Majority's attempt to kill the oil valuation rule. Although it rolls back no environmental policy, it is a slap in the face to the American taxpayer and costs them millions of dollars every year. On October 1, 1998, the Department of the Interior attempted to correct the underpayment of $68 million a year in oil royalties not paid by cash laden oil producers to implement a new rule that would raise the royalty fees on oil and gas pumped from public lands. Specifically, the new sound royalty rate would tie the price of oil to the commodity market instead of murky negotiated deals between producers and buyers.

   The effect of this rule was to curtail the practice of using posted prices to determine oil royalties. For two, now three straight appropriations processes, Congress has barred Interior from finalizing this rule in hopes that a compromise could be reached. It seems that the only compromise that can be reached regarding this issue is nothing short of the status quo, or if the oil industry had its way, they could pay the government in crude.

   The oil industry has skillfully underpaid the government more than $3 billion and now they are complaining that the government is cheating them and driving them out of business. These accusations should infuriate everyone in this chamber. In the name of profit, big oil has cheated the American public, Indian tribes and our school children by denying them revenue for programs that rightly should benefit them. Delaying implementation of this rule any longer continues to

   show how money talks and the publics' rights walk in halls of Congress.

   The Majority has also engaged in another attempt to weaken what little environmental protections that the 1872 Mining Law affords. The House's willing acceptance of the Senate's Millsite Rider astounds me. This rider, which amends the 1872 Mining Law, is contrary to the Administration's legal interpretation of the law and goes against two overwhelming House votes against this issue.

   The Administration's interpretation of the millsite provision was an important step in promoting environmentally sound mining practices that have already cost the taxpayer $32-$72 billion in clean up costs. Mining today has wreaked havoc on the environment since the introduction of chemical leach technology that made the mining of low grade ore economically viable. Although this technology turned once profitless mines into profitable ones, it requires significant tracts of land on which to dump toxic fluid mining waste. The House broadly supported the Administration's decision to reinforce the Millsite provision after years of ignoring, but under Senate pressure, the House caved to their demands and rolled back one of the last environmental protections afforded in the Mining Law.

   There are numerous other unpalatable riders tacked onto this legislation including denying millions in funds for the President's Lands Legacy Initiative to purchase privately held land located inside and adjacent to our national parks and forests, extending the moratorium on stronger hard rock mining regulations on mines that already exist on federal lands, the automatic renewal of grazing leases, waiving Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management requirements to conduct wildlife surveys before beginning timber sales on national forests and public lands, numerous directives that diminish Indian programs, prevent the Park Service from restoring natural quiet in the Grand Canyon National Park, the list goes on and on.

   In addition to the anti-environmental riders, the House refused to even agree to a modest funding increase for the National Endowment for the Arts. As a Member of the Resources

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Committee, I know all too well that the beauty of our national parks and public lands are an important part of our national heritage. As Members of Congress, we fight for every dollar that we can get to preserve and protect those public lands in our districts. In the same respect, we cannot afford to not fund the arts. Our nation is just as defined by its lands as by its melting pot of different cultures and ideas put to canvas, carved from stone, or seen on film. Instead, Congress is trying to shift America's cultural foundation to popular political tastes. As representatives of the people, we should take no part in stifling and sterilizing the creative development of our nation. Congress should encourage it--Not thwart such expression.

   As we debate the multitude of riders tacked onto this conference report, we cannot forget the overall story this bill tells. This story is about the Republican Majority attempting to dictate important policy decisions through the appropriations process. The line that divides the authorizers from the appropriations is becoming transparent. The Committee process is becoming something of a joke. When a Member has a controversial issue to discuss, he or she does not bring it before the House. He or she sneaks it into a spending bill where it receives little or no Congressional scrutiny. Nothing is gained by this process. It allows the feelings of mistrust and abuse to fester, and forces Members to vote against important legislation. This is not the land of special interests and payoffs. It is the land of every American citizen. As such, I urge my colleagues to vote no on this legislation and work to report a new, clean bill to the President.

   Mr. REGULA. Mr. Speaker,I yield back the balance of my time.

   Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

   The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. SHIMKUS). Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the conference report.

   There was no objection.

   The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the conference report.

   Pursuant to clause 10 of rule XX, the yeas and nays are ordered.

   The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 225, nays 200, not voting 8, as follows:

[Roll No. 528]







   Barrett (NE)


















   Brady (TX)




















   Davis (VA)

































   Green (WI)



   Hall (TX)


   Hastings (WA)





   Hill (IN)

   Hill (MT)














   Johnson, Sam



   King (NY)











   Lewis (CA)

   Lewis (KY)



   Lucas (KY)

   Lucas (OK)











   Miller (FL)

   Miller, Gary


   Moran (KS)














   Peterson (PA)








   Pryce (OH)













   Ryun (KS)
















   Smith (MI)

   Smith (TX)













   Taylor (MS)

   Taylor (NC)














   Watts (OK)

   Weldon (FL)

   Weldon (PA)







   Young (AK)










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