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Public Statements

Advanced Vehicle Technology Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Advanced Vehicle Technology Act Of 2009

Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 3246, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009. It has the stated objective to develop technologies that improve efficiency and emissions of vehicles, reduces reliance on petroleum, and supports vehicle manufacturing in the United States. Among other things, it develops cost-effective vehicle technologies for wide-scale utilization, enhanced commercial and passenger vehicle performance, allows for greater consumer choice, shortens technology penetration times, ensures balance and diversity in Federal R&D investment, strengthens public-private R&D partnerships, and probably many other things.

I would like to thank Congressman Peters for the good job he did working with us and working with the Science

Committee on this bill, and for incorporating our suggestions and the suggestions of our chairman into his manager's amendment for ways to improve the bill during the full committee markup, including a provision in Title I that requires the Secretary to ensure that activities do not duplicate those of other programs within the Department of Energy or other relevant research agencies. In our country's tough financial situation, we want to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly and not being wasted or mismanaged as well.

The manager's amendment, agreed to in the full committee, included bipartisan language supportive of applied and basic research and development of hydrogen and natural gas vehicle technologies.

Congressman Teague offered an amendment that seemed to reiterate the spirit of comity, but it was unfortunately not made in order by a party-line vote at the Rules Committee hearing yesterday.

As I said during the full committee markup, the cost of the bill gives me some pause; but I understand the costs associated with the level, degree, and scope of the bill that deals with research, development, and commercial application activities on materials, technologies, and processes of not only passenger vehicles, but also medium- to heavy-duty commercial and transit vehicles, including long-haul class 8 truck and trailer platforms.

With that said, I plan to vote for an amendment that will be offered by Representative Broun of Georgia to reduce the authorization amount in the bill by $650 million.

The transportation sector uses 67.9 percent of the petroleum that is used in our country. If we want to reduce or wean our dependence on foreign sources of oil, we are going to need technological advances in the vehicles that Americans drive to help us reach that goal. The bill before us today will certainly help to achieve these advances.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. HALL of Texas. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I support the Gordon amendment with a caveat. I support the title II reporting requirement classification that the Secretary shall submit the annual report to Congress. In regards to the report requirement for title I, I would prefer the reporting language that is in Representative Broun's amendment as it's more comprehensive and mirrors the report language requirement in title II. Perhaps in conference, the two authors of the reporting amendments could agree to merge that language so that all bases are covered.

The third part of Mr. Gordon's amendment deals with striking ``heavy duty'' from the Nonroad Systems Pilot Program in section 204 in the bill and adding the word ``mobile'' so that we are now referring to nonroad mobile equipment. I understand that there is some concern that the term heavy duty has a different meaning in the nonroad world than it does in the on-road world. So I appreciate the addition of ``mobile'' in the section as well as Mr. Holt's upcoming amendment that would further clarify that the pilot program is intended to include agricultural and construction nonroad equipment.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of the Broun amendment to reduce the authorization level in H.R. 3246. As I mentioned during the full committee markup, I have concerns over the amount of money being authorized in this bill; $2.43 billion over the 2010-2014 period, and $423 million after 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The Broun amendment would reduce the multiyear authorization by $650 million. Where the bill authorizes an increase of $10 million over the previous fiscal year for sections 5(a) and 5(b), the Broun amendment keeps each fiscal year's authorization constant and removes the authorization for fiscal year 2014 in sections 5(a), (b) and (c).

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Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Broun amendment. This amendment would require the Secretary to report to Congress on a yearly basis on the activities undertaken in the previous year under title I, such as active industry participants, efforts to recruit new participants, progress of the program in meeting goals and timelines, and a strategic plan for the funding of activities across agencies. This amendment allows the Congress and the public to monitor the success of activities in title I and to ensure that the money that is ultimately appropriated is being well spent.

Now, while I realize the Gordon amendment added a title I report, as I stated earlier, I would prefer the reporting language that is in Representative Broun's amendment, as it is more comprehensive and mirrors the report language requirement in title II.

I would again express my hope that, in conference, the two authors of the reporting amendments could agree to merge their language so that all bases are covered.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, again, I thank Chairman Gordon for accepting my amendment. I greatly appreciate it. I think this is a commonsense amendment. It will offer more transparency and more accountability, which I think we ought to do in all legislation we pass. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of that around here with multiple branches of the Federal Government. I thank the chairman for accepting my amendment.

I urge a ``yes'' vote for everybody.

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