September 25, 2013
Today, the House will have an opportunity to pass the "Helium Stewardship Act" and send to the Senate for final consideration a bill that preserves our Nation's helium supply, closes the helium reserve once and for all - getting the federal government out of the helium
business, and reduces the deficit by $90 million.
• The House passed H.R. 527, the "Helium Stewardship Act," on April 26th by a vote of 394-
1. On September 19th, the Senate passed H.R. 527 with an amendment by a vote of 97-
2. The bill fulfills the urgent need to act to provide for continued operation and future sales from the Federal Helium Reserve that under current law must cease operations on October 1st.
o The Reserve supplies one-third of the world's supply of helium and a disruption would cause real harm to the Nation's economy. Without action, tens of thousands American jobs and critical technologies, including medical devices such as MRI's, would be at risk.
• This final text (H RES -' which is an amendment to the Senate amendment to the House bill H.R. 527) makes several necessary, minimal adjustments to the Senatepassed version of H.R. 527 to ensure it abides by budget rules and laws so it does not increase deficit spending. Prompt enactment of this final text will maintain the flow of helium from the Reserve after October 1st and prevent economic disruptions to American jobs, manufacturing and critical technologies, and medical devices.
Specifically, H RES_:
o Affirms the Senate-passed policy on operation of the Helium Reserve after October 1st and the policy of ending this federal program and selling the entire Reserve.
• The Senate-passed policy reflects a fair balance between the policy in the original Senate bill (S. 783) and the House-passed bill (H.R. 527). The text of the Senate-passed bill's helium policy remains exactly the same with only two timing adjustments: helium is sold sooner under the same parameters as provided in the Senate bill, and the closure of Federal Helium Reserve is http://naturalresources.house.gov accomplished in a manner that saves an additional $20 million in operating costs.
o Reduces the federal deficit by $90 million over 10 years and fully abides by budget rules.
• Based on an updated CBO score, the Senate-passed bill did not balance in Fiscal Year 2014 and would have increased direct spending by $209 million in Budget Authority and $114 million in Outlays in that year. This final text reduces federal spending by $16 million in Budget Authority and $58 million in Outlays in 2014. A CBO score of the final text's modifications to the Senate passed bill shows it will now balance or reduce the deficit in all three budget windows (year one, years one to five, and years one to ten.)
o Upholds the federal government's commitment to support rural schools and communities for the loss of revenue from federal timber harvest by providing for a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program.
• The bill maintains other non-helium policies adopted by the Senate with only variations in the years of implementation.
Today, vote yes to pass the "Helium Stewardship Act" to protect jobs, our economy, and taxpayers by establishing a program to responsibly close the helium program.
If you have any questions, please contact Tim Charters with the Natural Resources
Committee at xS-9297.
Read the entire Dear Colleague HERE