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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentlewoman from Illinois' amendment which would strike funding for ARPA-E within the Department of Energy.

There is little disagreement in Congress on the importance of fundamental advances in energy technologies to America's future economic and national security. It is a priority that we all share. The challenge lies in how best to structure the Federal Government's involvement in energy research and development to maximize use of limited resources.

Republican Members on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology have had serious reservations regarding the appropriateness of ARPA-E since it was first debated in the 110th Congress. A primary concern was that ARPA-E would focus on late-stage technology development activities that the private sector was already addressing, and we've seen that happen.

While language was incorporated into ARPA-E's authorizing statute directing the agency to only support ``technological advances in areas that industry by itself is not likely to undertake because of technical and financial uncertainty,'' there are numerous instances of ARPA-E awards that indicate the agency is not following these guidelines, instead providing funding to companies that are already actively pursuing development of the technology area for which they are requesting funding. This is a serious issue--taxpayer funding for R&D should only go toward areas that are too risky for private investment.

Due to these concerns, Mr. Chairman, I along with Chairman Hall, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, have requested that the Government Accountability Office undertake a study to review and report on the extent to which this problem is occurring with respect to other awards. At least until this study is completed and Congress has had an opportunity to consider its findings, ARPA-E should not receive additional taxpayer money, especially in this current environment of fiscal disaster that we're headed towards.

I urge support for the gentle lady's amendment.


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