Committee Leaders Request Information from EPA Regarding Grant Management Process

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt seeking information regarding the process by which EPA closes out its grants.

“For the past decade, investigations and reports by the Committee, Office of Inspector General, and Government Accountability Office (GAO) have uncovered waste and mismanagement in EPA’s grant programs,” write Walden, Murphy, and Shimkus. “This comes in light of a 2016 GAO report that found $994 million in expired grant accounts at the federal entities it reviewed. Because EPA was not among the agencies GAO examined, questions remain about whether EPA properly manages its grant closeouts. This is crucial given that EPA awards almost half of its budget, approximately $4 billion annually, in grants.”

The members continue, “While EPA has made some improvements, recent reports continue to show the need for improved grant practices, including EPA grant money apparently spent by a subgrantee for political advocacy, a state grant recipient accumulating millions of dollars in unspent grant funds while continuing to receive additional money, and concerns that EPA could improve grant monitoring practices.”

The committee requested EPA provide documents to assist in its oversight of whether or not the agency is properly closing out grants in a manner that is timely and efficient. The committee requested:

  1. Reports from EPA’s cash management systems and grant management systems of all expired grant accounts from FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015.
  2. All documents relating to expired grant accounts, including how long the accounts have been expired, whether an extension on the period of performance has been given, total monthly banking fees for each expired grant, and any information regarding the reason the grant was not closed out in a timely manner.
  3. All final reports, performance reports, and progress reports submitted for each of the expired grant accounts.
  4. A list of all grant applicants and grantees designated as high risk, including information relating to any additional monitoring conducted on high risk grantees.

To read the letter online, click here.


Pass the REINS Act!

My personal message to my Senators and Representative:

Pass the REINS Act Now!

To my U.S. Senators and Representative,

Unelected, unaccountable, career D.C. bureaucrats have the power to make up and enforce their own laws.

These regulations, imposed without the consent of Congress, are costing Americans billions of dollars in wasteful, abusive costs.

Some of these handed-down regulations are even radical ideas rejected by Congress.  How can unelected, unaccountable, career D.C. bureaucrats enact their own laws Congress rejected?

The REINS Act takes away the power of unelected bureaucrats to make up and enforce their own laws, by calling them regulations.

Under the REINS Act, no major regulations would take effect unless passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President. In other words, if it’s enforced as a law, it must be passed as a law. No more Regulation Without Representation.

The REINS Act easily passed the House in the last Congress. President Trump wants it on his desk so he can sign it into law.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is blocking a vote on the REINS Act.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to schedule a vote on it.

I stand with the grassroots supporters of Americans for a Better Economy in calling on you to

1) Immediately co-sponsor the REINS Act, and

2) Demand Majority Leader McConnell immediately bring to the Senate floor for a recorded vote on, and to vote in favor of, the House-passed REINS Act, or

3) Sign a discharge petition to bring the REINS Act to the House floor vote for a vote.

I, and every supporter of Americans for a Better Economy, will be watching what you do.


Kill the UN Climate Scheme!

My Personal Message to President Trump!
Keep Your Promise!

President Trump,

You were elected on a promise to take the United States completely OUT of the United Nation’s Paris climate scheme.

But now your daughter and son-in-law, who serve as your senior advisers, are telling you to keep the U.S. in the U.S. scheme.

They are joined by Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson, who as a corporate CEO lobbied the U.S. Senate to support this globalist nonsense.

I know the scales are tipped in favor of you keeping the U.S. in the U.N. Paris climate scheme…

…but you made a promise!

Even climate researchers who believe in so-called “man-made global warming” say this agreement will have no impact on climate.

So why did Barack Obama’s advisers create this scheme?

In the words of Obama’s science czar John Holdren, their goal is to “de-develop the the United States.”

The U.N.’s Paris climate scheme isn’t designed to bring down temperatures.

It’s designed to bring down the United States.

Keep your promise!

Remove the United States as a signatory to the Paris agreement, and cease all funding in and support of the United Nations!

Chairman Roberts: Relief from WOTUS Rule Is Coming

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an executive order providing relief from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘Waters of the U.S.’ (WOTUS) rule.

“The WOTUS rule has been a thorn in the sides of rural America for too long, and I’m thrilled President Trump has taken swift action to get rid of it.

“The Obama Administration’s EPA claimed they listened to farmers when writing this rule; they did not. I’m pleased to see the Trump Administration is actually listening to rural America with this executive action.”

The WOTUS rule was developed by the Obama Administration’s EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. 

Prior to President Trump’s executive order, the rule was stayed pending legal challenges. 

Chairman Roberts held a hearing on the WOTUS rule in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and cosponsored legislation to repeal the rule in the 114th Congress. Roberts joined the President at the White House for the signing of the executive order. 

Click here to watch President Trump deliver remarks and sign the executive order.


Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order on the Antiquities Act

The Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 

11:34 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mike.  He’s been a great Vice President, a great help.  And everybody loves Mike Pence.  I just want to thank you for your service.  Been incredible.  (Applause.) 

It’s a real pleasure to be at the Department of Interior, where you help preserve the splendor and the beauty of America’s natural resources.  And I can tell you the group that’s in here right now, they really do the job.  Right, Lisa?  They’re doing a good job.  We’re going to take care of Alaska, too.  Don’t worry about it.  (Laughter.)  And they protect the ability of the people to access and utilize the land which truly belongs to them and belongs to all of us.

Secretary Ryan Zinke is doing an incredible job — and he never overlooks the details.  He’s a detail person.  Soon after he was confirmed, we had a snowstorm, big one, and he was out there on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial shoveling the snow all by himself.  And he’s a strong guy.  He did a good job.  (Laughter.)  He did a very, very good job.  But we’re proud of him.

In the first 100 days, we have taken historic action to eliminate wasteful regulations.  They’re being eliminated like nobody has ever seen before.  There has never been anything like it.  Sometimes I look at some of the things I’m signing I say maybe people won’t like it, but I’m doing the right thing.  And no regular politician is going do it.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know if you folks would do — I will tell you literally some politicians have said, you’re doing the right thing.  I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do some of these things.  But we’re doing them because it’s the right thing to do.  And it’s for the good of the nation.

We’re returning power back to the people.  We’ve eliminated job-destroying regulations on farmers, ranchers, and coal miners, on autoworkers, and so many other American workers and businesses.

Today, I am signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power, and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.

The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control — have you heard about that? — eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land. 

Today, we are putting the states back in charge.  It’s a big thing.

I am pleased to be joined by so many members of Congress and governors who have been waiting for this moment, including Governor Herbert of Utah.  Thank you, thank you, Governor.  Governor LePage of Maine, who, by the way, has lost a lot of weight.  (Laughter.)  I knew him when he was heavy, and now I know him when he’s thin, and I like him both ways, okay?  (Laughter.)  Done a great job.  Governor Calvo of Guam.  Thank you.  Governor Torres from the Northern Mariana Islands.  Thank you, thank you, Governor.

I also want to recognize Senator Orrin Hatch, who — believe me, he’s tough.  He would call me and call me and say, you got to do this.  Is that right, Orrin?

SENATOR HATCH:  That’s right.  

THE PRESIDENT:  You didn’t stop.  He doesn’t give up.  And he’s shocked that I’m doing it, but I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.  But I really have to point you out, you didn’t stop.  

And, Mike, the same thing.  So many people feel — Mike Lee — so many people feel so strongly about this, and so I appreciate your support and your prodding, and your never-ending prodding, I should say, because we’re now getting something done that many people thought would never ever get done, and I’m very proud to be doing it in honor of you guys, okay?  Thank you.  (Applause.)  

Altogether, the previous administration bypassed the states to place over 265 million acres — that’s a lot of land, million acres.  Think of it — 265 million acres of land and water under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation.  That’s larger than the entire state of Texas.

In December of last year alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears — I’ve heard a lot about Bears Ears, and I hear it’s beautiful — over the profound objections of the citizens of Utah.  The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time we ended this abusive practice. 

I’ve spoken with many state and local leaders — a number of them here today — who care very much about preserving our land, and who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab.  And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place.  This should never have happened.   

That’s why today I am signing this order and directing Secretary Zinke to end these abuses and return control to the people — the people of Utah, the people of all of the states, the people of the United States. 

Every day, we are going to continue pushing ahead with our reform agenda to put the American people back in charge of their government and their lives.  

And again, I want to congratulate the Secretary.  I want to congratulate Orrin and Mike and all of the people that worked so hard on bringing it to this point.  And tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land, the likes of which there is nothing more beautiful anywhere in the world.  But now tremendously positive things will happen.

So I want to thank you.  I want to thank everybody for being here.  God bless you all and God bless America.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  So I’ll sign.

(The executive order is signed.)  (Applause.) 

Q    Are you surprised about this 9th Circuit ruling?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m never surprised by the 9th Circuit.  (Laughter.)  As I said, we’ll see them in the Supreme Court.  (Laughter and applause.) 

11:42 A.M. EDT

Sens. Paul, Heller Reintroduce the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act

U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) reintroduced the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act to restore power to states to manage endangered and threatened species found only within their borders. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House.  

The bill would also require congressional approval before a species could be listed as endangered or threatened, better protect individual private property rights, and enable states such as Kentucky to address the threats black vultures pose to livestock and Nevada to address the threats ravens pose to sage grouse populations. 

“We can better protect endangered species by empowering state leaders to implement a strategy more tailored to their specific circumstances,” said Sen. Paul. “Instead of continuing Washington’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to regulation, this bill puts local needs first and guards against bureaucratic overreach.” 

“Like all Nevadans, I know how important it is that we be good stewards of wildlife and their habitats,” said Sen. Heller. “That’s why I’ve been working with Governor Sandoval and the Nevada delegation to prevent the listing of the sage grouse in order to protect both the bird and Nevada’s economy. Nevadans – not Washington bureaucrats – know how to best protect the sage grouse, and the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act affirms that.” 

You can find a one-page summary of the bill HERE, and you can read it in its entirety HERE.