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McCollum's E-newsletter: Protecting the Great Lakes, Immigration Reform, and More

July 29, 2013

McCollum Introduces Bipartisan Global Food Security Act to Fight Hunger, Enhance Agriculture
Rep. McCollum has introduced bipartisan legislation, along with Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL), to expand the United States’ commitment to fight hunger and reduce poverty worldwide.  The Global Food Security Act (H.R. 2822) ensures that small-scale farmers, especially women farmers, in the world’s poorest countries have access to the tools and resources needed to boost agricultural production, improve nutrition, and increase food security for their families and communities.

“Roughly 870 million people around the world suffer from chronic food insecurity.  This is wrong, and it makes the United States less secure,” said Rep. McCollum.  “This bill fights food insecurity by working with the world’s most vulnerable people to enable them to produce their own food and improve their families’ livelihoods.”

On the House Floor, McCollum Offers Amendment to Protect the Great Lakes, Surface and Groundwater from Toxic Coal Ashspacer
As the U.S. House debated the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2218) last week, Rep. McCollum offered the final amendment on behalf of the Democratic Caucus.  McCollum’s “motion to recommit” would protect the Great Lakes’ ground water and surface water from toxic contamination by requiring coal ash disposal structures meet design and construction criteria to prevent leakage.

Addressing a full House chamber, McCollum said, “Coal ash is a deadly poison and it must be kept out of America’s drinking water.  This bill (H.R. 2218) needlessly puts millions of Americans at risk by doing nothing to prevent coal ash from contaminating ground water, surface water, and the greatest supply of fresh water on earth – the Great Lakes.”

The amendment was defeated on a party line vote with 192 Democrats voting to protect drinking water and 225 Republicans voting in opposition. One Republican voted “present.”

GOP Appropriations Bill for FY14 Cuts Deep into Environment, Great Lakes, Arts
House Republicans are moving forward with an FY14 Interior and Environment appropriations bill despite its deep cuts to environmental protections, the Great Lakes, arts and humanities funding, along with critical conservation programs, at an overall level 18% below current spending.  The Republican bill reduces funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 34% and the Great Lakes Restoration by 83%.  The Clean Water State Revolving Funds and the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which are needed to rebuild critical water infrastructure, were also cut by 83% and 61%, respectively.  Republicans also proposed cutting funding for the arts and humanities in half.  The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities each had a $71 million reduction, leaving their respective budgets at $75 million.   

As a member of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. McCollum expressed her disappointment that a traditionally bipartisan bill has become a “…harsh, harmful, and destructive bill that is the product of a Republican budget that seems all too eager to walk away from our families, communities, and the environment.”

McCollum legislation to Curb the Spread of Asian Carp Gets House Hearing
Last week, Rep. McCollum testified before the House Natural Resources Committee in support of her bipartisan legislation, the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act (H.R. 358), which is co-sponsored by 15 Democrats and 10 Republicans.  The bill is focused on preventing the spread of Asian carp throughout the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins, establishing a coordinated strategic response from federal, state, and local governments.

“The United States has no coordinated strategy to prevent, control and ultimately eliminate invasive species, like Asian carp,” said Rep. McCollum.  “We need to come up with solutions that include a comprehensive approach that brings together our broad federal resources to tackle a problem that is larger than any one state because invasive species know no boundaries.”

Community Leaders Join Rep. McCollum for Immigration Reform Listening Session
During a public hearing on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, Rep. McCollum invited leaders from the labor, business, faith, law enforcement, education and nonprofit communities to provide testimony to about the urgent need for Congress to act on reforms, including a pathway to citizenship.  The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform in June, but House Republican leadership has refused to bring a single bill forward to address immigration, instead offering to bring as many as six separate immigration bills to the floor.

“An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States, and 85,000 reside in Minnesota.  They're our neighbors, colleagues, family, and friends. Our communities need a solution,” said Rep. McCollum.  “I am very concerned that House Republicans will use immigration reform to militarize the border while offering no serious solutions other than keeping undocumented families in the shadows”