In the 111th Congress, I serve on two important Appropriations Subcommittees: Defense and Interior and Environment. Within these Subcommittees, I serve in positions of oversight on our nation’s National Parks, National Forests, the environment, veterans, and defense--all of which are of great importance to Washington's Sixth District.

I am the Vice-Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, on which I have served proudly for my entire tenure in the U.S. Congress. In this role, I have worked to increase funding for the Federal land management and conservation agencies within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, including our National Parks, Forests, Tribal lands, and the Environmental Protection Agency.  In addition, the Interior Subcommittee oversees important cultural agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution.

In these tight budgetary times, maintaining adequate levels of funding for these critical programs is a difficult task, but it is one I take seriously.  I fought last year to increase support for the National Parks and several environmental conservation programs, and secured $50 million for the EPA's program addressing the overall health of the Puget Sound.  The clean-up of Puget Sound remains one of my top priorities. 

We are lucky in Washington State to live and work surrounded by some of the country’s most spectacular natural beauty, and it is the responsibility of all of us – including the Federal government – to ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit these fragile resources. 

I also recently became the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, building on 29 years of experience on this subcommittee.  Because of its significant responsibility in allocating funds for our nation’s security, our subcommittee has a very active schedule of hearings that are directed at understanding the basis for the funds requested by agencies and at performing oversight of the operations of the Department of Defense and related agencies.  These hearings inform the committee’s deliberations in appropriating funds that are used to pay, train and equip our military personnel, to maintain systems such as ships and aircraft, to develop and acquire new capabilities, and to provide health care for men and women in uniform and their families.  The hearings also give us the ability to delve into problems such as health care for wounded soldiers and poor performance of defense acquisition programs.  I am one of a few subcommittee members who serve on the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel that considers funding levels for classified programs.

At a time when our nation’s military is deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am especially aware of the importance of addressing national security issues in a constructive manner that brings these conflicts to a close while sustaining our ability to defend ourselves against a wide range of risks.  I will continue to give my work on this subcommittee the energy, study and deliberation that this responsibility warrants.

Committee on Appropriations


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