Last week, House Democrats approved legislation to further incentivize illegal immigration while continuing to ignore the growing crisis at our southern border. Democrats in Washington are proving time and again that they cannot be trusted with the responsibility of governing. I remain committed in leading the fight against the Democrats’ radical policies that will harm Wyoming and our nation.
Democrat Immigration Bills Would Make The Crisis At The Border Worse:
I recently voted against two Democrat immigration bills, H.R. 6 and H.R. 1603, that would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants in the United States and further incentivize other migrants to unlawfully attempt to enter our country.
President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ open borders policies have created a devastating and ongoing crisis. The Biden Administration’s decision to stop construction of the wall, offer taxpayer money to illegal immigrants, and reimplement catch-and-release all encourage illegal immigration.
These policies must be reversed and we must prioritize border security. The two bills Democrats brought to the floor would grant amnesty to millions already in our country unlawfully. Our focus needs to be on securing the border and fixing the legal immigration system.
Urging The Biden Administration To Allow Press Access At The Southern Border:
On Thursday, I joined 20 of my House Republican colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to stop blocking press access at the southern border and allow the America people to see the truth of what is happening.
The letter can be seen here and is included below:
Democrats’ Proposed Defense Cuts Are Even More Dangerous Considering The Threat We Face From China:
Last Friday, I joined the Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the threat China poses to our nation and how the kind of defense cuts proposed by 50 House Democrats earlier this week would further threaten our security.
You can listen to the full interview here and there is a relevant portion of the transcript included below:
Cutting The Defense Budget Is A “Grave Mistake” That People Always Seem To Want To Repeat
HUGH HEWITT: Well, here’s the key question, Congresswoman. Nancy Pelosi only has a five vote, she might steal a sixth vote in Iowa, that’s a different subject, but she’s got a five or a six vote lead. Can you find five or six Democrats who are serious about Defense to plus up whatever budget President Biden sends?
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Well, if we don’t find five of them, then we’ll beat them in ’22, because you know, there were and are a number of my Democratic colleagues who during the Trump administration were very steadfast in maintaining positions in favor of a strong national defense. I am hopeful that they will continue to do that. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to have that kind of support. I know that there will be tremendous pressure from Nancy Pelosi not to. We’ve already got a letter from 50 House Democrats saying we need to have a 10% cut in Defense spending. So I think it’s going to be, when you look at the trillions of dollars that we have appropriated, you know, over the course of the last month, you know, we are facing significant debt challenges that we have to address, and I’m sure people will attempt to address those on the back of the Defense budget, which is, you know, a grave mistake that always people seem to want to repeat. So we’d better be able to find Democrats to stand with us, and I’m confident the American people will be more than willing to replace their Democratic representatives with Republican ones if we can’t get Democrats with us.
Introducing Director Parfitt At AML Hearing And Emphasizing The Crucial Role Of The Coal Industry In Providing Affordable, Reliable Power For The Nation:
Last week, I participated in a Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on restoring abandoned mine lands, local economies, and the environment.
During the hearing, I had the pleasure of introducing Todd Parfitt, who serves as the Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. I also spoke about the importance of not disadvantaging the coal industry and removing unnecessary costs from the reclamation of abandoned mine lands by easing burdensome and unnecessary NEPA requirements.
You can watch my introduction of Director Parfitt and my questioning of the witnesses below:
REP. CHENEY:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thanks also to Ranking Member Stauber and Ranking Member Westerman. Thanks for the opportunity today. Obviously, this issue of abandoned mine lands is crucially important to us in Wyoming as we pay more into the program than any other state, and we’re really pleased to have the opportunity today to have with us Todd Parfitt who serves as the Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Todd was appointed to the position first by Governor Matt Mead in 2012 and then reappointed by Governor Mark Gordon in 2019.
Todd’s got 27 years of experience with the Wyoming DEQ, including seven years in the dual role of Deputy Director and Administrator of the Industrial Siting Division. He has testified numerous times before our committee and over on the Senate side, and I’m really pleased he was able to join us today and thank you very much, Chairman Lowenthal, for the opportunity to introduce Todd and to be with you all today. Thank you, and I yield back.
REP. CHENEY: Thank you very much, Chairman Lowenthal. I appreciate it, I appreciate all of our witnesses today. I think, as has been noted by a number of the witnesses, the United States, and Wyoming in particular, produces the cleanest coal in the world. It remains, and will remain, an affordable and a reliable source of energy, source of power for the nation. I think it’s also crucial for us to recognize the decline that we’ve seen, as the witnesses mentioned, since the program was last reauthorized in 2006. As we go forward in terms of thinking about reauthorization, particularly the fee structure, reauthorizing at the current rate will further disadvantage coal companies and create significant impacts for the people in the communities who rely on a healthy industry for jobs and for income. I think it’s important for us as we go forward to make sure that we’re looking at a formula that is not just a straight reauthorization, but that looks at the potential for reducing per ton fees and also looks at a shortening the amount of time for which a reauthorization would be effective, simply because of the economic circumstances in which we find the coal industry.
What I would like to do is ask first to Todd Parfitt, if he could talk a little bit about the impact, in particular, of NEPA requirements and how those affect the approval of AML projects, and if he could tell is whether or not he has recommendations or suggestions that might help us to improve that process?
DIRECTOR TODD PARFITT: Thanks for the question. NEPA is an important part of the AML process that we go through today, but it takes time and it takes additional money to do the NEPA clearances for the projects. Sometimes these NEPA clearances can take years to complete, slowing down the successful start of projects. One recommendation that I would have related to the NEPA analysis is because we’re dealing with already pre-disturbed areas and we’re trying to reclaim them and bring them back to the natural conditions, is take a look at the NEPA process and create a categorical exclusion for abandoned mine sites, which would help streamline the process and reduce the costs.
REP. CHENEY: Thank you. Todd, could you also talk a little bit about, as you look at the balance between the benefit from the AML program but also the decline that we’re seeing overall, an industry that is really under significant stress – how should we be thinking about the duration of the program? Should we rely on the coal industry to fund this program until all legacy coal mining sites are addressed?
DIRECTOR PARFITT: As has been pointed out, we’ve seen a reduction in the collections in AML fees and a reduction correspondingly in the production of coal in Wyoming. Since its peak, we’ve seen it reduced from – the peak of 2008, we’ve seen the production reduced by 53 percent, but the contribution has steadily grown. Back in 1978, the contribution of Wyoming to the AML program was 12 percent. Today, it’s nearly 60 percent. That coupled with the fact, as we’ve heard in the testimony, is that in just construction costs alone, it’s estimated $10 billion worth of work remains. If you add the engineering costs on that, you’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 billion a day with the current inventory. With the fees as they are now, if you assumed that it went on for 15 years, you would still only collect like maybe 17 percent of the need. So, along with the reduction in the fee, we also would consider that moving the AML reclamation reauthorization forward, but for a more limited time frame to recognize the fact that the AML fee to the coal industry isn’t going to cover the costs moving forward.
REP. CHENEY:Thank you very much. I appreciate that, and I want to thank the Chairman again for the opportunity to participate today, and the Republican leaders. I yield back the balance of my time. Thanks very much.
Co-Sponsoring Legislation To Support Coal By Expanding Carbon Capture Technology:
I recently co-sponsored the bipartisan “Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions” or “SCALE” Act. The bill will support the buildout of the infrastructure necessary to transport CO2 from where it is captured to where it can be utilized in manufacturing or safely and securely sequestered underground.
Coal is a crucial resource for Wyoming and for our nation. Through technological advancements that our state has championed, we know we can continue to expand its use as a clean and reliable tool to power our economy and support families.
I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation that will help support the coal industry by advancing the availability and use of carbon capture. I will continue to fight to expand this technology in a way that benefits energy producers and protects the continued use of our state’s natural resources.
Re-Introducing Legislation To Open New Markets For State-Inspected Meat
I re-introduced H.R. 1998, “The Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021,” legislation allowing state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines.
The economic ramifications of COVID-19 resulted in processing interruptions and decreases in the amount of meat getting to market, leading to shortages across the country. As we recover from the challenges posed by the pandemic, we must be doing everything possible to expand opportunities and open markets that will allow livestock producers to increase their economic activity. These producers play an essential role in powering our state’s economy and providing high-quality food to consumers across the country. Allowing state-inspected meats to be sold across state lines empowers them to access these new markets while supplying the increasing demand. This legislation will also increase competition and offer more meat choices for American families.
I introduced similar legislation last Congress and am grateful to have my colleague Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) join as an original co-sponsor in the 117th Congress. I am pleased to have the support of Governor Mark Gordon, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, and the Wyoming Farm Bureau on this important legislation.
Fighting For Wyoming Interests In Washington:
I always enjoy having the opportunity to speak with constituents from around our state about the issues that are important to them. I was able to sit down with a variety of groups to discuss how we can work together to address their priorities.
I was honored to have House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson join our meeting with Wyoming stakeholders. We discussed a wide range of issues that are crucial to our state’s agriculture community:
Our relationship with Israel is essential, and we must continue to stand firmly with our ally. I enjoyed meeting with AIPAC members from Wyoming to discuss the importance of preventing a nuclear Iran, and supporting Israel, as well as the recent Abraham Accords:
I had a productive meeting with Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Executive Director Diane Shober on the impact COVID has had on state’s tourism industry and how to encourage more to visit Wyoming:
Wyoming is home to one-of-a-kind natural treasures that make our state a great place to live and visit. I met with AMPL this week about the importance of increasing access and preserving multiple use of our cherished public lands for years to come:
I spoke with Colonel Rick Fawcett, Lt. Colonel Rod Burnett, and Cadet Colonel Adam Carey, all members of the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol, about their efforts to serve our state and provide critical assistance when it’s needed:
I enjoyed speaking with Wyoming members of SHAPE America, including Ben Kern from Laramie, Shawna Mcllnay from Gillette, and Deb Shephenson from Rock Springs. We talked about the importance of ensuring Wyoming students stay healthy and active:
I met with this year’s class of physicians in the Wyoming Medical Society’s leadership program. We had a great discussion about expanding access to tele-health services, the mental health impact of COVID, and supporting rural hospitals:
This week’s “Constitution Corner” focuses on Democrats’ disastrous “COVID Relief Bill” that did more to advance their extreme agenda than provide the kind of targeted assistance that Americans need. Heritage Foundation scholar Mike Gonzalez highlighted certain elements of the Democrats legislation and found that a number of the provisions pose legitimate constitutional questions that we must grapple with:
- City Journal (Gonzalez): “The Left’s New Constitution”
Please follow this newsletter for continued updates about my work in Washington on behalf of the great people of Wyoming.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney