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LET'S MAKE AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE A PRIORITY BEFORE IRAQ'S -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 22, 2004)
Jun 22, 2004 Congressional Record
LET'S MAKE AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE A PRIORITY BEFORE IRAQ'S -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 22, 2004)

[Page: E1208]

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SPEECH OF HON. NICK J. RAHALL II OF WEST VIRGINIA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2004 Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Speaker, clean water is again flowing into the Tigris River thanks to the U. S. Taxpayer and the good people from my home State of West Virginia. How grand, how good, how generous the Cheney-Bush bunch can be, until it comes to investing between America's shores. Yes, health and welfare is on the mend from Baghdad to Kirkuk, but for our communities in Southern West Virginia, this Administration has no money. I recommend to my colleagues a story on the front page of the New York Times this past Saturday by James Glanz. According to the article this project has been cloaked in secret for security reasons. I agree, it's for security alright, to secure the Cheney-Bush reelection. They don't want the American people to know that they build in Baghdad while we weep in Appalachia for clean streams, a healthy environment, and a safe harbor for our children. Last week, another decision was made to deny the people of West Virginia, and of Appalachia, clean water, better health and education, as the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut the Appalachian Regional Commission's (ARC) funding by 40 percent following on the heels of an effort by the Cheney-Bush boys last year to cut it by 50 percent. Apparently the Cheney-Bush bunch, including their cronies in Congress, don't think twice about sending $4 billion to Iraq for their water infrastructure needs, but are unwilling to provide the ARC less than 1/100th of that amount for services that do the same and more for West Virginia. I can name a few better places to spend our taxpayers money. In Raleigh County, just one of our wastewater projects is going to cost $22. 5 million to serve 1200 new customers in the Glen Daniel/Fairdale area. This is a matter of public health, of bringing in new jobs, fueling the economy. Where is the money for that program?

[Page: E1209]

Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg is 35 years old, and in need of a new terminal. The upgrade is expected to cost $15 million. Where is the money for Lewisburg? Greenbrier Valley Airport's parking apron used for housing aircrafts, also needs a $10 million upgrade. Due to lack of funding availability, this project has already been broken into six phases in the hope of completing it. But where are funds for these phases? In Wyoming County, $1 million is needed for a water project to serve 200 customers in the Crouch Farm area who presently have no water service at all. Where is their money? The Cheney-Bush bunch wants to rebuild the oilfields of Iraq and expect the coalfields of West Virginia to pay for it. West Virginians are told by this Administration and this Congress that we can't afford to meet our wastewater needs, not when we're investing in other countries rather than our own. What in the dickens is going on here, Mr. Speaker? I recall our not too distant history, when this Nation was able to fight and win a world war, rebuild the western European continent, and Japan to boot, and college educate a generation of Americans who fueled the greatest economic boon to which the world had never laid witness. Now the Cheney-Bush bunch and the House leadership tell us again and again, there is no room for investment in America, and that the American people must take a back seat to the citizens of Baghdad. I say no more. This Administration continues to show indifference to our Nation's infrastructure needs, including threatening to veto a highway bill that will bring over $2 billion to my home State of West Virginia, money we need to build roads in a mountainous terrain. Mr. Speaker, I recall--shortly after the bombs fell in Baghdad and the President pledging that America would rebuild Iraq--on a trip back home, folks in an economically hard hit county in West Virginia, in all seriousness, asked me to tell the President to send the bombers to them, so then they could apply for help from America. It was a sad moment for me, Mr. Speaker, even sadder for America.

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