Legislative Update – Funding the Government

Oct 10, 2013 Issues: Endangered Species Act Reform, Government Accountability, Regulations, Science

Legislative Update – Funding the Government

The House of Representatives is continuing to work to get the government running while trying to protect Americans from the worst consequences of Obamacare.  In addition to voting four times to fund the government through a Continuing Resolution, the House has also passed the following measures in the past few days:

  • H.J.Res. 70 reopens our national parks, memorials, and monuments.
  • H.J.Res. 72 honors our promise to give veterans the benefits they’ve earned.  
  • H.J.Res.73 funds pediatric cancer research.
  • H.J.Res. 85 ensures funds are available for disaster relief for American communities
  • H.R. 3239 pays our National Guard and reserve forces
  • H.R. 3223 provides back-pay for furloughed federal employees.

We’ve been working non-stop on solutions that are fair to the American people, but the Senate still refuses to come to the table and Democrats are digging in their heels.  I’ll continue to work on commonsense solutions, and I’ll keep you posted on our progress.


Dyess Housing Project

The Air Force just completed an agreement to upgrade and privatize Dyess Air Force Base’s on-base housing.  A company called Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) will be taking over the operation and maintenance of 674 homes at Dyess.  They will be building a community center, jogging trails, and other community amenities as part of the project.  This multi-million dollar investment will provide military members and their families access to quality, affordable, well-maintained housing in Abilene.  I’m pleased that the Air Force has decided to move forward on this project, and is continuing to invest in infrastructure for our community at Dyess AFB. And I’m proud to see the Abilene community continuing to support our men and women in uniform.  With this and other public-private partnerships, we open our doors to our military families, whether they live on base or off-base in the Abilene community.


Action Item: Representing Texan Interests on the Endangered Species Act Working Group

I’m glad to announce that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Congressional Working Group, led by Representatives Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large), will hold a forum on this week on  “Reviewing 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act and Seeking Improvement for People and Species.”  I’m proud to serve as the Texas representative on this working group, and look forward to a thorough discussion on how we can fix the ESA.  

This forum will feature a diverse group of invited stakeholders who will testify on all aspects of the ESA, including its impact on species, individuals, and our economy over the last 40 years, and potential improvements going forward.  Members of the Working Group will use the forum to examine how we measure progress under the ESA--particularly how we define success and whether the ESA is really successful in conserving species across the country.  We’ll also discuss the impact of continued litigation under ESA, and the need for more public engagement and input when a species is identified for listing. 

I’m particularly interested in speaking with state conservation experts, as I firmly believe that local, state, and regional officials are best equipped to manage habitat in their own backyard, and preserve (and often restore) species.  Under the current system, our states often don’t have the flexibility, incentives, or assurances they need to develop collaborative conservation efforts that could avert a listing under ESA.  I hope through the ESA Working Group and this week’s forum, we can work with stakeholders to develop legislative solutions to ongoing challenges under ESA.