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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on consideration of H.R. 2609, and that I might include tabular material on the same.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

It is my honor to bring the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development bill before the membership of the House.

However, before I go through its highlights, I would like to thank my ranking member, Ms. Kaptur, for her partnership on this bill and hard work and friendship. It's been a real honor to work with you, and I look forward to working with you to get through the entire process. I would also like to thank all the members of our committee on both sides of the aisle for putting this bill so quickly together and so responsibly.

I would also like to recognize the hard work of Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey to bring this bill, and several others before it, to the floor under an open rule.

The bill for fiscal year 2014 totals $30.4 billion, $2.9 billion below last year's levels and more than $4 billion below the President's request.

The budget allocation we received this year made for some very difficult decisions, but in our bipartisan tradition, we worked hard to incorporate priorities and perspectives from both sides of the aisle.

Mr. Chairman, we placed the greatest priority on national defense, our nuclear deterrent, also the critical work of the Army Corps of Engineers and other activities on which the Federal Government must take the lead. The reductions we had to make to the applied energy research and development programs will shift more of their work to the private sector.

The bill provides $7.6 billion, an increase of $98 million above the fiscal year 2013 amount, to modernize the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure, excluding rescissions.

I would also like to note that the recommendation contains no funding to
implement the President's recently announced plans in Berlin to reduce the nuclear stockpile. No funding for such purposes will be available until Congress has judged that these plans will fully support our national defense.

The recommendations increase 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 and economically competitive. These waterways and harbors handled foreign commerce valued at more than $1.7 trillion last year 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.

Basic science programs total $4.7 billion, just above last year's post-sequestration levels.

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.

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 truly support American manufacturing jobs, stable energy prices, and diversity of energy supplies.

Our bill includes $450 million for fossil energy technologies and $650 million for nuclear energy activities. 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 these activities, excluding rescissions. The recommendation orients these programs to focus on electricity infrastructure resilience--to include cybersecurity--and gasoline prices.

Finally, on Yucca Mountain, our recommendation includes $25 million to sustain the program, along with similar language as last year's prohibiting activities which keep that facility from being usable in the future. It also includes support for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get that Yucca license application finally 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 consider funding for alternatives.

Mr. Chairman, this bill recognizes our fiscal realities and makes the tough decisions to ensure we get our spending under control without sacrificing our most critical of Federal functions. I'm expecting a vigorous and open debate during an open process over the coming days so all can have a chance to contribute to this legislation.

Before I reserve the balance of my time, I want to thank those who helped bring this bill on the floor. On the majority side: our clerk, Rob Blair; Angie Giancarlo; Ben Hammond; Loraine Heckenberg; Perry Yates; Adam Borrelli. On the minority side: Taunja Berquam. From our personal offices, Ms. Kaptur's: Nathan Facey, her deputy chief of staff; and Ryan Steyer. From my staff: Nancy Fox, my chief of staff; and Katie Hazlett.

All of these individuals and others behind the scenes make this process work, one that we can be proud of, and I think we have a bill that, indeed, we can be proud of.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, may I ask if the ranking member, Ms. Kaptur, is prepared to close.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The gentleman from Michigan is correct: the Department of Energy would have the flexibility to transfer funds, as needed, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission either from funds appropriated in our bill or from funds previously appropriated for this purpose that remain unspent. This language would also allow the Department of Energy to reprogram funds and subsequently transfer them to the NRC for this purpose, if necessary, to ensure that no one could claim that access to adequate funds is a barrier to completing the review of the Yucca Mountain license application.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the gentleman for his comments. I would also like to recognize his leadership on this issue as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He has worked hard with his colleagues to ensure that the will of the people is heard. The administration must apply the law that Congress already enacted and get this job done.

We look forward to working with the gentleman to get this appropriation enacted and to get this license wrapped up at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I reserve a point of order on the gentleman's amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Will the gentleman yield?

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I appreciate your longstanding commitment to Hanford, and I support this amendment, which is aimed at strengthening environmental management in the Richland Operations Office. EM is a priority for the subcommittee. I look forward to returning to Hanford, as I have in the past, to get a firsthand look at the latest challenges and progress, and we know there are lots of challenges.

As you know, Representative Hastings, the Department of Energy has not yet provided confirmation of probable tank leaks, a Record of Decision on the potential for tank TRU waste, or a plan for the waste treatment plant. This information will be required as Congress completes the appropriations process for the Office of River Protection.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In the event of a continuing resolution, the Department of Energy has the flexibility in determining funding levels for individual programs and projects, including EM.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I object.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I withdraw my objection.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. This amendment increases funding for science, ARPA-E, and renewable energy, energy reliability and efficiency by a total of $1.7 billion, using defense environmental cleanup as an offset.

Defense environmental cleanup provides funding to clean up the legacy of the Manhattan Project, as we discussed earlier, which is a huge task that will take years to do. It will be a major expense and will take significant resources. We heard part of the Washington State story, but there is part of it in other parts of the country as well.

The Federal Government has an inherent responsibility to address this legacy and to ensure that the materials created to build our nuclear weapons stockpile do not endanger the public health and the environment. There are also some other daunting technical challenges in cleaning up this waste, and this amendment would, frankly, completely gut those types of programs. It is doubtful that this level would even sustain the basic operation and maintenance of the facilities, let alone allow for any progress in the cleanup effort. The cleanup effort needs to be sustained.

Our allocation has made, as I said earlier in the afternoon, for very tough choices. We placed the highest priority on activities on which the Federal Government must take the lead. While the applied energy and advanced research programs are down substantially, admittedly, there is a strong interest in advancing these areas of research, and the responsibility for conducting that research can shift, in many ways, to the private sector. Therefore, I strongly oppose the amendment, and I urge other Members to do the same.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I yield to the gentlelady.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. In reclaiming my time, we know that the gentlewoman's heart is in the right place. We know of your heartfelt views. We would be happy to work with you to see what we can do to assist in these other areas, but this environmental cleanup, in some respects, is court-ordered besides there being, obviously, the potential for human health to be adversely affected.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I rise to oppose the gentleman's amendment, and I understand he may be offering some other amendments similarly related later on the floor. Suffice it to say that my remarks here will also pertain to those amendments.

This amendment would unacceptably strike funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration's weapon activity by $245 million in order to increase funding for renewable energy, energy reliability, and efficiency activities. Ensuring funding to maintain our nuclear stockpile is our highest priority in our Energy and Water development bill. Historically, it always has been and will continue to be. We have put off for too long the investments that are needed to ensure that we maintain our nuclear weapons stockpile in the future.

Because of this historical underfunding, there's been strong bipartisan support for increasing weapons activities. Our bill takes a responsible approach to meeting those needs, reducing funding $193 million below the request for nonessential activities within the weapons activities account that are not required to maintain the nuclear weapons stockpile, but there are no further savings available. A reduction of this magnitude would severely impact the National Nuclear Security Administration's ability to ensure the continued reliability of our weapons, something which the Secretary of Energy has to do to our Commander in Chief each and every year.

I support the programs championed by my colleague. That's why we worked hard to increase the advanced manufacturing program by $5 million over fiscal year 2013 within an account that is cut by $971 million.

I oppose the amendment and urge Members to do likewise, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I reluctantly rise to oppose the gentleman from Pennsylvania's amendment. First of all, I want to salute him for being a strong advocate for water power. I think those of us on the committee are as well.

His amendment would increase, as we're aware, funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy by $31 million using the Department's administration account as an offset to restore the water power program to the requested level. Our allocation, as I've said a number of times, made for some really tough choices. Our bill cuts applied energy and advanced research programs to allow more funding for inherently Federal responsibilities.

While I support the program championed by my colleague, we can simply not afford to increase energy reliable activities so significantly by diverting funding from other essential activities within the Department of Energy. One of the issues within the Department of Energy is they've had management issues. They need money to better manage a lot of the activities. They have a new Secretary of Energy. He needs the resources to do it. If we keep tapping from this account, there will be no money to pay for the management and operation and the accountability we expect from the chief executive of this Department. Therefore, I reluctantly oppose his amendment and urge Members to do likewise.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I object to waiving the reading, and I reserve a point of order on the gentlewoman's amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I insist on my point of order.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill. The amendment is not in order under section 3(d)(3) of House Resolution 5, 113th Congress, which states:

It shall not be in order to consider an amendment to a general appropriation bill proposing a net increase in budget authority in the bill unless considered en bloc with another amendment or amendments proposing an equal or a greater decrease in such budget authority pursuant to clause 2(f) of rule XXI.

The amendment proposes a net increase in the budget authority in the bill in violation of such section. I ask for a ruling from the Chair.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I move to strike the last word, and oppose the gentleman's amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The gentleman from Georgia's amendment would further cut funding for renewable energy and energy reliability and efficiency program by an additional 1 percent from the levels contained in our bill.

The Energy and Water Development bill cuts levels by $2.9 billion below last year's level, including $971 million from renewable energy and energy-efficient activities. In just those accounts alone, that's 50 percent below fiscal year 2013, and 67 percent below the President's request.

To that end, the funding the bill preserves is just as important as the funding it cuts. Our bill focuses the vast majority of remaining funds within this account on programs that can address high gas prices and help American manufacturers compete in the global marketplace. These programs can reduce American manufacturing costs, help companies compete in that market, creating jobs here at home.

Reducing Federal spending is critical. That's why the bill reduces funding for this account to half its current levels. But we also must make strategic investments to address high gas prices and help America compete.

The amendment would eliminate these important programs. I urge Members to oppose it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word and speak in opposition to the amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The gentleman's amendment, as he said, would increase funding for this EERE account and by cutting weapons activities in the NNSA administration and using that as an offset.

Our bill not only cuts the renewable energy and energy efficiency accounts, it also cuts fossil energy by $84 million, 16 percent, nuclear energy by 14 percent.

As I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, our allocation made for some tough choices. We've placed highest priority on activities in which the Federal Government must take the lead. One of those, of course, the most critical mass is assuring funding for national security. It's our highest priority.

While I support the programs that he outlines, we should not divert to programs from national security. Therefore, I oppose his amendment and ask Members to do so as well.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I move to strike the last word.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I rise to oppose the gentleman's amendment. Our bill already cuts the National Renewable Energy Lab, or NREL, within the Department of Energy. We cut it by $15 million below the President's request. That's a 33 percent reduction. Quite honestly, I don't think the facility could take any further reductions that undermine this budget consolidation, which is something we've sought, something which the Department of Energy has gone ahead with. Therefore, I oppose the amendment, and urge others to do the same.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Madam Chair, I move that the Committee do now rise.

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