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Ms. CHU. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of the amendment to increase the resources for the Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy, or ARPA E.
ARPA E invests in the success of our entrepreneurs by allowing them to innovate in high-reward energy projects. This critical investment turns ideas into new technologies, which create new companies and even whole industries. These companies start out as small businesses, which we know are the greatest drivers of our economy. ARPA E is exactly the kind of forward thinking we need to spur American innovation and create well-paying jobs in cutting-edge fields.
ARPA E is also vital to achieving the kind of 21st century energy solutions America needs to increase our energy efficiency, lower consumer costs, and curb the damage to our environment. While other countries around the world are promoting these kinds of programs, we are letting ourselves fall behind.
In the midst of one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, we are turning our backs on energy innovation, where we once led the way. This makes no sense, and it must stop. We should not be cutting ARPA E, we should be expanding it. That is exactly what this amendment will do.
ARPA E gives universities, entrepreneurs, and other innovators resources to develop their ideas. It holds forums to bring researchers together to share expertise, and educate future innovators. Some research ARPA E has supported includes high-tech electric car batteries, breakthroughs in energy grid technologies, and algae-based biofuels. These developments hold the power to revolutionize the way America produces and consumes energy. This is not science-fiction; it is already science-fact. But it needs the support and vision of my colleagues in Congress in order to continue.
In my home State of California we have ambitious energy standards that we need to work hard to meet in the next few years.
The underlying bill increases research and development funds for fossil fuels by $207 million more than these programs received last year. We are going backwards.
This amendment does not gut fossil fuels research and development, but it does bring funding levels in line with the President's request while increasing funding for ARPA E in line with the President's request.
Let's stop going backwards; let's stop selling America short. Instead, let America do what it does best: innovate, grow, and lead.
I strongly encourage my colleagues to support this amendment.
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