Hearing of the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee - Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

Hearing

By:  Rodney Frelinghuysen
Date: June 26, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I would like to thank Ms. Kaptur and all the members of the subcommittee for their full participation in putting this bill together and in many oversight hearings.

This will be the first bill that I and Ranking Member Kaptur have worked on together, and I wanted to thank her for her contributions and partnership.

I'd also like to recognize the hard work that Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey have put in to get four bills through full committee so far, and the two passed by the House to date.

The bill for Fiscal Year 2014 totals $30.426 billion, $2.9 billion below last year's levels, and more than $4 billion below the President's request.

Our allocation made for some very tough choices, but we tried hard to ensure that everyone who offered ideas and priorities will see those reflected in the bill.

I think the President's Climate Action Plan, which he announced yesterday, is a good illustration of what the Administration's priorities would be if sequestration were solved. Until these deep reductions to discretionary spending are taken off the table, it's our job to make decisions with what we haveĀ…not with what we hope to have.

We placed the highest priority on national defense, Army Corps of Engineers, and other activities on which the federal government must take the lead. The cuts we were forced to make to the applied energy research and development programs will shift more of this to the private sector.

The bill provides $7.675 billion, an increase of $98 million above fiscal year 2013, to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure, excluding rescissions.

I would like to note that the recommendation contains no funding to implement the President's recently announced plans in Berlin to further reduce the nuclear stockpile. No funding will be available to implement it until Congress is confident that it will fully support our national defense and it is prudent.

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation is funded at $2.1 billion, $334 million below Fiscal Year 2013, including reprogramming authority to support the final year of funding for the national securityrelated uranium enrichment demonstration project.

The recommendation increases the Corps of Engineers by $50 million above the President's request and redirects funds to ensure our waterways and harbors keep America open for business. These waterways handled foreign commerce valued at more than $1.7 trillion in 2012 alone!

As in previous fiscal years, the bill maintains the Constitutional role of Congress in the
Appropriations process by ensuring that all worthy Corps of Engineers projects have a chance to compete for funding. The bill provides $285 million for projects in addition to the President's requested projects, investing in navigation and flood control--the activities most critical to public safety, jobs, and the economy. The Corps will have 60 days to deliver and justify its spending plan.

Basic science programs total $4.7 billion, just above last year's post-sequestration levels. Within this level, the recommendation restores the Administration's proposed cuts to our domestic fusion program while maintaining our commitment to the international ITER project.

Environmental cleanup programs to address the legacy of the Manhattan Project and other contaminated sites are funded at $5.5 billion, approximately $185 million above the post-sequester levels for fiscal year 2013.

Within this level, key increases are made for the most pressing of cleanup priorities and construction projects.

In order to find room for the bill's core priorities, applied energy research and development had to be cut. The recommendation prioritizes funding in this area for programs which support American manufacturing jobs and stable energy prices.

The bill includes $450 million for research and development to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy technologies that provide 82% of our nation's energy. The bill also includes $656 million for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities. Funding for the Small Modular Reactors program is provided to keep this important initiative on-track. Both of these programs are cut below the fiscal year 2013 post sequester level.

The bill combines the electricity delivery program and the energy efficiency and renewable energy program, and provides $983 million for a new combined account, excluding rescissions. The recommendation reorients these programs to focus on efforts to address electricity infrastructure resilience (including cybersecurity) and gasoline prices.

And, finally, I do want to say a word about Yucca Mountain. The recommendation includes $25 million to sustain the program, along with similar language as last year's prohibiting activities that would keep the facility from being usable in the future.

It also includes support for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get that application finished.No funding is included for requested activities to move past the Yucca Mountain repository program. If and when Congress authorizes changes to the program of record, the Committee will reconsider funding for these alternatives.

I yield back.