|00:00:01||POLITICS REACHES ITS PEAK AND SOMETIMES IN NOT A VERY CONSTRUCTIVE WAY.|
|00:00:06||BUT TODAY IS AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY AND TODAY WE HAVE A BIPARTISAN AND TRUE LEADERSHIP ON|
Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time and for his kind remarks.
Mr. Speaker, this is an extraordinary time, and I think this is an extraordinary moment. We are in now what is sometimes called the ``goofy season,'' the period of time when I think partisan politics reaches its peak, and sometimes in not very constructive ways. But today is an extraordinary day. And today we have bipartisan and true leadership on display here in the House regarding this bill that we are able to consider, a Water Resources Development Act containing historic provisions to restore America's Everglades, which has always been referred to as Florida's Everglades, but it is America's Everglades. We all recognize the importance of this legacy, not only on the lands and water but for the people who live in Florida and visit this national treasure, and we want to make sure that it is there for all future generations.
How we got to this point is what is so remarkable, and it is the reason that we are bringing up a closed rule for debate as time grows short in the waning days of this 106th Congress. Normally, the minority party abhors closed rules. I know that, because I did in the 14 years that I served in the Republican minority. But today we have a bipartisan agreement on a bill and a process that helps us streamline the consideration of this important landmark legislation.
Another passion of mine, besides the number of the intricacies of tax and budget policy, has been the environment. In fact, I served on the Committee on Public Works earlier in my House career. I have authored several bills on the environment, but none makes me more proud to have my [Page: H10292] name on it than the comprehensive Everglades restoration bill. And working with my colleagues in the Florida delegation, such as the gentleman from Florida (Mr. GOSS) and I see the gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. MEEK) on the other side of the aisle, who has been a great crusader for the Everglades, we have seen all of the Florida delegation gather together in support of this landmark legislation.
But our work is not over. We have little time left, but we have much left to do. The tremendous effort that got us to this point of near unanimous consensus is threatened by the clock. We must pass water resources development legislation containing Everglades restoration today. We need time to work out project differences with the Senate, not only on the Everglades portion but on other portions of this bill.
In that regard, Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment both of Florida's Senators, Senator BOB GRAHAM and Senator CONNIE MACK, as well as Senator BOB SMITH, the chairman of the committee, for the wonderful work that they have done in bringing this together; and I might also say the administration, which was extraordinarily cooperative with all in structuring this bill.
Organizations, from the environmental community, agricultural, business, Native American tribes, both the Miccosukee and the Seminoles, recreational users, the State, local and Federal governments, all have had a hand in crafting the Everglades legislation. And the delicate balance achieved in the other Chamber has been enhanced by the work done here in this House. I must compliment the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. OBERSTAR) and our chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SHUSTER), for seeing that this comes through and that this is done. As we know, there were some differences early on; but they worked to get them straightened out and that has brought us to where we are today.
This bill is the product of constant and consistent hours of negotiation between the interested parties to reach a consensus on the key points of this legislation. I am honored that those serving in the other Chamber allowed me this rare opportunity to be a part of the crafting of their bill prior to my introducing the companion bill in this House, H.R. 5121. This helped us save precious time in arriving at a compatible bill in the House and the Senate, and avoiding major divisions in the few remaining days of this session. Now the House must put this legislation to a vote so that we can resolve the remaining differences in the other parts of the WRDA bill that the Senate has already passed.
I also want to recognize the tremendous efforts of our previous governor, Governor Childs, and of course our existing governor, Jeb Bush, who has been so active in bringing this about. I was with him in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, and that is all he wanted to talk about was the status of this bill and where we are going.
So we are seeing a rare moment in the closing days of this Congress; both great political parties coming together and doing the right thing. I urge passage of this resolution and passage of the bill.