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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, some suggested some time ago that we have to wait until 2012 or 2013 to make these decisions. We need to make these tough decisions now, to cut spending and to create a climate where the private sector can go hire workers.

The Energy and Water Development section of this bill totals $29.9 billion, an 11 percent reduction from fiscal year 2010. That's a tough decision. This level more truly represents what should be the top priorities of the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the other accounts funded under our subcommittee's purview.

Far from the ``meat axe'' approach that some have suggested we're taking in H.R. 1, our product is one of careful, thoughtful, line-by-line analysis. We have looked at which programs are must-haves, which have significant unobligated balances, and which are redundant. Above all, we've ensured that the core national security mandate of the Department is adequately funded. Frankly, other countries' nuclear stockpile programs aren't taking a time-out while we wrestle with our budget challenges. The stewardship of the nuclear stockpile is the foremost responsibility of the Department of Energy. In fact, weapons activities and naval reactors receive the only increases in our bill.

We do, however, make major reductions in the Department of Energy; major cuts. We eliminate all earmarks. That's close to $500 million, just in the Department of Energy. And we cut out programs like weatherization, with billions and billions of unspent stimulus money. In fact, the Department of Energy received close to $39 billion in stimulus money.

Finally, we've cut back on programs like biological and environmental research that are not core to the Department's historical responsibilities and focus. We do all of this so the Department of Energy can focus on what we need to do--to support the private sector in developing the next round of energy-related intellectual property and the jobs associated with it.

We need to do it. I support the CR. I think we ought to move on with it.

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. The Defense Subcommittee has spent much time over the past 2 years looking into the effects of the services--all the services--to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel. The Department of Defense, which consumes 93 percent of all the fuel consumed by the U.S. Government, has made significant strides in reducing its consumption, but the associated logistics of moving fuel for vehicles, aircraft, forward operating bases remain massive and costly. It has also been shown that for every 24 fuel convoys in Afghanistan, an American soldier is wounded or killed.

The Defense Subcommittee has made a conscious and dedicated effort to advance the Department's efforts, searching for better ways to reduce consumption and alleviate the costly and complicated logistics. This amendment, however, would unnecessarily erase that progress and further the Department's dependence on fossil fuels. For this, and many other reasons, I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment.

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