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Westerman Critiques Build Back Better Plan As Lopsided, Dangerous

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2021 -

Washington - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, which included House Committee on Natural Resources Democrats’ provisions to increase energy prices and spend millions on partisan projects. Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"When we talk about building back better, we need to realize 'better' is a subjective word. This bill should actually be called 'Tear It Down,' because Democrats' void of leadership, partisanship and incompetent policy proposals are doing a lot more to destroy America than build it. These policies decimate the bank accounts of hardworking Americans. They don’t build, and they certainly don’t make life better. If my Democrat colleagues truly cared about making America better, we would be addressing these issues and working on bipartisan infrastructure proposals that have gone through regular order. Before we talk about building, let’s stop demolishing. Enough is enough. Americans deserve better than financing destructive policies that will not help but hurt in the future. Our children deserve better than inheriting trillions upon trillions of dollars of debt. It’s time for House Democrats to slam the brakes on their unfettered spending and come to the table and do something good for America."


On Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, the House Committee on Natural Resources marked up its budget reconciliation instructions and reported them out of committee. The House Committee on Rules later heard testimony from each committee's chairs and ranking members on updated versions of the legislation, which culminated in H.R. 5376.

The Committee on Natural Resources' portion of the legislation totaled more than $19.8 billion, equivalent to the budgets of 20 U.S. states. Some of the most egregious provisions included:

  • Providing $500 million for a vaguely defined "conservation…resiliency or restoration projects" slush fund. What was once referred to as the Civilian Climate Corps was rebranded for an outstanding fourth time to remove all references to civilians, the climate or corps programs. What remains is a duplicative and unnecessary slush fund intended to obfuscate the actual intent of this provision: to create a make-work program that will drain workers from private sector employers struggling to fill existing jobs.
  • Providing $500 million for U.S. Department of the Interior "wildland fire management" without proposing any new tools to complete that management on an expedited timeline.
  • Providing $3 million to revise rules and regulations imposed on American mining. These funds will likely be used to implement onerous and duplicative regulations on hardrock mining activities.
  • Permanently banning new offshore oil and gas leasing along the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. This jeopardizes long-term energy security by making offshore acreage permanently off limits.
  • Providing $1.25 billion for ill-defined projects that could unquestionably be used to lock up even more land through acquisitions, as there are no requirements to conduct scientific land management projects, hazardous fuels reduction or responsible restoration.
  • Throwing more taxpayer dollars towards the unworkable Endangered Species Act (ESA). These provisions do nothing but continue the problems associated with the current ESA and do not incentivize proactive conservation through candidate conservation agreements. Republican language adopted in committee that allocated funding for candidate conservation agreements was eliminated.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-225-2761

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