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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose this amendment. It would put in jeopardy thousands of jobs in our energy sector. The types of projects it would jeopardize are entirely different than Solyndra. If the Member wants to reduce the risk of losing taxpayers' dollars, he should look towards the 1705 program, which has already lost over half a billion dollars to risky loans.

This may be a convenient attempt to paint some of these potential loan guarantees with a Solyndra brush, but it just doesn't wash. The companies requesting these loan guarantees are not startups with shaky financial records, but neither are they large enough to have enough capital to fully pay for such massive projects. The loan guarantees help them leverage their capital in a reasonable manner to ensure that the benefits of these technologies can be shared by millions of Americans.

I urge Members to vote ``no'' on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment. Our bill already cuts $1 billion from the President's request. We're below 2009 levels. While difficult trade-offs had to be made, the bill, in its current form, balances our needs. We prioritize funding for essential activities and cut out new spending on poorly performing programs. Yet the gentlelady's amendment proposes an across-the-board cut on every one of these programs.

With all due respect, and she's extremely knowledgeable, that's not the way that Governor Christie does it in New Jersey. He takes a look at each program, considers its merit, considers whether it's a proper investment in infrastructure, whether it will promote jobs.

And yet unlike, perhaps, the State budget, we're responsible for nuclear security, for our nuclear stockpile, national security needs.

This is not the way to approach budget cutting. I urge the committee and the House to reject this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would risk our nuclear security activities in order to add unnecessary funding to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Our bill preserves the funding for that account's highest priorities and those accounts that help advance American manufacturing and that help our companies compete globally and address soaring gas prices. Additional funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is unwarranted, especially when it comes at the expense of national security. So I strongly urge my colleagues to vote against the gentlewoman's amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I rise to oppose the gentlewoman's amendment.

As I've said many times, I, too, am concerned about sufficiently maintaining our waterways. These waterways contribute significantly to our national economy by providing a means of cost-efficient cargo transportation. To this end, our bill funds the operations and maintenance account at $2.5 billion, an increase of $109 million above the President's budget request and $95 million above fiscal year 2012.

I would remind the gentlewoman that under the earmark ban, the final bill cannot include funding to a specific project in an amount above the President's budget request.

Instead of increasing funding for specific projects, our bill includes additional funding for categories of ongoing projects--including an additional $189 million for navigation dredging--with final project-specification allocations to be made by the administration. The project my colleague is interested in would be eligible to compete for this additional funding.

As an offset, this amendment strikes funding for the modernization of our nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure. Ensuring adequate funding to maintain our nuclear weapons is my highest priority for our bill. The increases provided in this bill for nuclear security have received strong bipartisan support.

This amendment unacceptably strikes funding for both of these priority investments, which are both urgent and overdue. I strongly urge my colleagues to make defense a priority and vote ``no'' on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I certainly share some of my colleague's concerns. We should not be sending Department of Energy funding overseas if it doesn't benefit our citizens or it undermines our own competitiveness. But we cannot assume that all international cooperation is objectionable. The research the gentleman's amendment would eliminate is both a proper role for Federal funds and directly benefits America.

Let me first point out these research centers are not a donation to China. They are funded in equal parts by China and the United States. They actually support three consortia centered at West Virginia University, the University of Michigan, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in his own home State. They fund research at seven American national laboratories, five American universities, and 40 American companies, institutes, and other organizations. There's nothing nutty about that, Mr. Chairman.

I certainly share the concerns that we keep

intellectual property and manufacturing here at home. To address these concerns, these research centers signed agreements to protect American intellectual property while allowing us to take advantage of new joint discoveries. Eliminating these centers altogether would harm American researchers, American scientists, American innovation, and American job creation.
I oppose his amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I share the gentlewoman's support for smart investments in our Nation's water resources infrastructure. I well understand the economic benefits of spending money on these needs.

I would remind the gentlewoman, under the earmark ban, the final bill cannot include funding to a specific project in an amount above the President's budget request. Instead, the bill includes additional funds for categories of projects with final project-specific allocations to be made by the administration. As an offset, this amendment strikes the funding for the modernization of our nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure.

For that reason alone, I oppose the bill, and I urge my colleagues to do so as well.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, our bill already cuts nearly $1 billion from the President's request. We're below 2009 levels. We're actually pretty close to 2008 levels. And the last time I checked, we're in the year 2012.

Spending levels for non-security-related accounts are brought down by more than $800 million from last year's level. And while difficult trade-offs had to be made to get to that level, our bill did the hard work to balance our highest priorities and serve the Nation's most pressing needs. Unfortunately, the amendment proposes an across-the-board cut on many programs, not all programs as the gentleman from South Carolina states, but on many programs that actually serve pressing needs.

Our bill cuts energy efficiency and renewable energy by 24 percent but preserves programs that can address gas prices and help keep manufacturing jobs here at home. That's the focus of the bill: lower gas prices of the future; keep jobs here at home. This amendment would jeopardize those objectives.

Our bill funds fossil energy research that ensures a secure domestic supply of electric and lower gas prices in the future. The amendment indiscriminately cuts many of the activities, many programs.

Our bill funds science research, which is a key component of keeping America competitive. The amendment would do harm to that program. The amendment even cuts funds to the operation of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, severely curtailing our government's ability to respond to real emergencies.

These are not acceptable cuts, and I strongly oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, I share the gentlelady's concern on the Department's continued off-budget use of its uranium transfer authority to circumvent the appropriations process and avoid congressional oversight. Congressional oversight is essential in order to make sure there are adequate protections in place to protect our domestic uranium mining and conversion industry. However, this amendment is too broad an approach for what is, by most estimates, a very complex issue.

There are several uses for the many uranium transfer authorities given to the Secretary of Energy that support ongoing national security activities, and there is still a great deal of ambiguity of whether this language in this amendment would prohibit funding for a depleted uranium tails transfer that will keep the Paducah plant in Kentucky operating for another year. That deal would sustain, and there may be a question in terms of how many jobs are here, but our estimates say it will sustain 2,000 jobs in fiscal year 2013 and provide the needed uranium fuel to produce tritium to supply our nuclear weapons stockpile.

I hope we can work together--the gentlelady and I, and members of the authorizing committee and the Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water--to find a solution that addresses all of these and other concerns.

I urge my colleagues reluctantly to vote ``no'' on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, I rise in support of the amendment by the gentleman from Texas. The gentleman's amendment enhances our national security by giving the Federal Government alternatives to imported petroleum fuels. Gas prices this year are at record highs, and the Nation imports nearly half of its oil. Our bill takes a comprehensive approach to once and for all reduce gas prices and our reliance on imported oil.

Unfortunately, by declaring some fuel options to be off-limits, off-limits to Federal fleets, section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 limits our ability to reduce our Nation's dependence on oil imports.

By undoing that law, the amendment puts all the alternatives back on the table so the Nation can begin developing and using fuels that are made with resources right here in the United States. Energy self-sufficiency is a national security issue, and this amendment takes a step in the right direction by adding to the comprehensive approach in our bill. I support the gentleman's amendment, and I am prepared to accept it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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