WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke on several amendments he plans to offer to the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 1105). Senator Inhofe’s amendment (S.Amdt. 613) seeks to reinstitute a long-standing policy of preventing the United Nations from using any U.S. funds from appropriations bill to pursue global tax schemes. This provision has appeared in every annual appropriations bill since 1996, and this year marks the first time an annual appropriations bill will not contain this policy.
“Prohibiting U.S. taxpayers funding U.N. global taxes in annual appropriations bills has been a bipartisan U.S. policy for over a decade,” Senator Inhofe said. “Now is not the time to indicate that the U.S. is no longer opposed to funding global tax schemes to unaccountable global bureaucrats. My amendment to the FY’09 omnibus appropriations bill will reinstate this important U.S. policy and ensure that officials at the U.N. and other international bureaucracies who receive generous funding from U.S. taxpayers do not pursue or implement policies of international taxes on U.S. taxpayers.
“It is important at this time that we make clear to the U.N. and other international bureaucracies that a policy of international taxes on U.S. citizens is unacceptable. It should remain the policy of the United States to oppose international taxation.”
Link to Full Remarks on U.N. Global Taxes Legislation
As the Ranking Amendment of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Inhofe voiced strong support for an amendment he has co-sponsored with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK) to revise Section 429 of the omnibus. Without amendment, Section 429 allows agencies to make dramatic changes to Endangered Species Act (ESA) rules and regulations, without having to comply with long-standing federal laws that require public notice and public comment by the American people and knowledgeable scientists. This provision could be a detriment to the majority of the construction projects funded by the recent stimulus bill.
“Once again we are faced with a back-handed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases without the transparency of public debate,” Senator Inhofe said. “Section 429 of the omnibus appropriations bill currently includes yet another Congressional handout to extreme environmental interests and the trial bar. This rider is clearly an attempt to legislate on a spending bill – just the sort of bad habit that Democrats in Congress and the White House promised to give up during the last election.
“If enacted, this implementation of Section 429 could mean that any increase in carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions anywhere in the country could be subject to legal challenges due to assertions that those activities are harming a polar bear, or that there has not been sufficient consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding activities that are funded, carried out or authorized by the federal government. Any permit for a power plant, refinery or road project that increases the volume of traffic anywhere in the US could be subject to litigation if it contributes to total carbon emissions. Lawsuits and ESA prompted delays could extend to past fossil fuel-linked projects too if those projects that could increase greenhouse gas emissions or reduces natural carbon dioxide uptake. If this provision is allowed to stand, it will likely endanger the delivery of the majority of the construction projects funded by the recent stimulus bill since these projects have not gone through a Section 7 consultation regarding their impacts on the polar bear.
“I applaud the President for highlighting infrastructure spending as the main driver of immediate job growth in the stimulus plan, but I am concerned by the conflicting priorities created by Section 429. You cannot support large infrastructure spending as an economic stimulus while simultaneously endangering its translation into job growth with more red tape.”
Link to Full Remarks on ESA Amendment
Senator Inhofe, a Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also spoke on his amendment to the omnibus bill that would prohibit the use of funds to construct or enhance facilities in the United States to house detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO).
“While President Obama’s executive order to close GTMO was one of his first actions in office, there is still no plan to dispose of the 245 detainees held at GTMO and who, if released, could once again do harm to America and Americans,” Senator Inhofe said. “It is imperative that the American people understand the real value of this installation and the national security risk incurred should this facility close as the President has proposed.
“As Attorney General Holder and I both witnessed during each of our recent visits to GITMO, the military detention facilities at GITMO meet the highest international standards and are in conformity with Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Attorney General Holder gave a glowing report of what he saw during his visit and acknowledged that closing GITMO will be an extensive and difficult process. Yet, President Obama remains adamant about closing GTMO, which I believe is an act of political appeasement that puts our nation unnecessarily at risk.
“If the detention facility at GTMO is closed, some ill equipped United States domestic or overseas prison will have to house these detainees as they await disposition. My amendment would prevent the use of any funds in this appropriations bill from being used to enhance facilities in the United States to house detainees from GITMO. Our duty, and frankly the President’s responsibility, is not political posturing, but ensuring the safety and security of the citizens of the United States.”
Senator Inhofe has also introduced legislation preventing GITMO prisoners from being transferred to the U.S. To read more, click here. Link to Full Remarks on GITMO Amendment