Westerman Statement from National Parks, Forests, Public Lands Hearing

April 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) gave the following opening statement during a National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee hearing, titled “Examining the Spending Priorities and Missions of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management:”

“At the DOI budget hearing, I quoted Theodore Roosevelt: ‘It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.’ This is just a hearing for the critics. We convene not to talk about policy, not to talk about solutions for our national forests, but to point, to jeer and to criticize the Trump administration for merely advancing a budget.

“My father taught me to be careful when you point the finger because there are three pointing back at you. If we want to talk about budgets, let’s consider the fingers pointing back at Congress today. Madam Chair, you appropriately stated that Congress controls the purse strings, and I couldn’t agree with that more. The administration’s budget is a suggestion – Congress controls the budget – but here we are. Friday marks the 100th day of this Congress, and we haven’t even seen the remote hint of a budget. Not a budget on the floor we can vote on, not even a budget out of committee. So I find it ironic that we’re here today chastising the administration for putting a budget suggestion forward when we have no budget of our own.

“Even the movie critic sometimes gives a good review, so I’d like to start today taking a different perspective on this hearing and actually applaud the Trump administration for advancing smart policies like active forest management in this budget proposal. This budget proposal seeks to implement several key provisions from the Resilient Federal Forestry Act, which passed out of the House last year with bipartisan support.

“This committee has seen time and time again the absolute need for managing our nation’s forests, and I’d like to commend the Trump administration for being in the ring, for being the doers of deeds that our nation’s forests and public lands desperately need.”

Background:

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes provisions from Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forestry Act, which the House passed in 2018 with broad bipartisan support.

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