BASS TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE

From The Office of Charlie Bass

STRESSES PRIORITIES OF FUNDING SPECIAL EDUCATION,

PROMOTING RENEWABLE ENERGY AND PRESERVING ANWR

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Charles Bass (R-NH02) testified today before the House Committee on the Budget to urge members to support the national priorities of fully funding special education, promoting renewable energy sources, and ensuring the preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) when crafting the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Resolution.

The recognized congressional leader on funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Bass has consistently fought to deliver special education resources promised to local school districts more than 30 years ago in an effort to relieve them of the financial burden imposed by the current unfunded mandate. At the hearing, Bass emphasized the strong congressional support for this initiative by submitting a bipartisan letter, signed by an unprecedented 107 members, imploring Congress to honor the pledge it made in 1975 to fully fund the cost of special education. Bass has circulated similar letters in the past to garner support for increasing IDEA resources, and has repeatedly introduced legislation to obtain full funding for IDEA by 2011.

"Our schools and communities have been forced to compensate for this unfunded mandate by slashing key local programs and extracting already limited resources from other initiatives," said Bass. "Fully funding IDEA will free up local funds to enable our schools to meet the unique educational needs of all students."

As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Bass has also worked toward greater support and parity for clean and renewable energy sources, and was among the first in Congress to fight for expanded resources for alternative energy sources such as wood pellets and solar power. Referencing the President's renewable energy agenda laid out in the State of the Union Address, Bass encouraged committee members to provide the funding needed to initiate this vital program.

"If we accomplish the goals of the Advanced Energy Initiative, we will not only free ourselves from the entanglement of foreign energy, we will also clean the air, water and land we all enjoy," said Bass. "We must develop new technologies and industries that ensure an improved quality of life for all Americans."

Additionally, Bass reasserted himself as a steadfast opponent of opening up ANWR to drilling. Bass played a critical role in ensuring that language included in the Deficit Reduction Act that would have allowed part of this refuge to be leased out to oil and gasoline companies for drilling purposes was stripped from the bill prior to House floor consideration.

"Using the budget process to open ANWR is a gimmick and must be resisted," stated Bass.

Bass co-chairs the House Tuesday Group, an organization composed of moderate Republicans, and has worked to ensure that the concerns and views of the centrists in Congress remain a priority within the GOP Conference.