(Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E559-E560]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                               speech of

                         HON. MICHAEL M. HONDA

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, April 25, 2013

       The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of 
     the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 527) to 
     amend the Helium Act to complete the privatization of the 
     Federal helium reserve in a competitive market fashion that 
     ensures stability in the helium markets while protecting the 
     interests of American taxpayers, and for other purposes:

  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Chair, I regret that I am unable to be in Washington, 
DC, today to cast a vote in support of H.R. 527, The Responsible Helium 
Administration and Stewardship Act. This bipartisan, commonsense plan 
will prevent a global helium shortage, protect jobs and the economy, 
and ensure a fairer return for taxpayers while we take the time to 
determine a long-term strategy to deal with our nation's helium needs.
  Representing Silicon Valley, I know firsthand how dependent high-tech 
manufacturing and scientific research labs are on helium. Helium is 
needed by hospitals for life-saving medical diagnostic tools like 
magnetic resonance imaging, and it is critical to our national defense.
  Unfortunately, the frenzy to slash the government that accompanied 
the Gingrich Republican revolution in 1996 led to legislation to sell 
and privatize the Federal Helium Reserve and caused the situation we 
face today--in October, the Reserve will no longer be able to sell the 
remaining 11 billion cubic feet of helium, which will create an 
immediate worldwide helium shortage and cut the domestic supply by 
nearly half.
  H.R. 527 will prevent this shortage and promote market-based reforms 
by implementing a three-phase system for operating the Federal Helium 
Reserve until the Reserve is emptied of helium. In addition, it will 
ensure that taxpayers get a fair return for this resource. While this 
bill is not the long-term strategy on helium that we need, it does 
prevent a short-term crisis and allow time for a transition to a new 
  Numerous industry groups and companies based in my Silicon Valley 
district have expressed their support for the bill, and I join them in 
expressing my support for H.R. 527. I would also like to express my 
support for the Collins/Scott Amendment, the Holt Amendment, and the 
Thornberry Amendment, and my opposition to the Dent/Higgins/Esty 

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