Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) today opposed H.R. 2609, the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill because of the prioritization of wasteful weapons funding over critical research that would help our country's energy interdependence. H.R. 2609, the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act passed 227 to 198.
"I opposed the FY 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill because the funding priorities in this bill are upside down. The Energy and Water spending bill drastically underfunds programs that would grow our nation's clean energy sources, and promote emerging technologies that create high-quality jobs, like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). While I was not pleased with the final product of the bill, I was proud to work with my colleagues to improve this legislation as much as possible by introducing several amendments, one of which was unanimously approved."
Rep. Polis passed an amendment with Reps. Schiff (D-CA) and Woodall (R-GA) that will restore $20 million in much-needed funding to ARPA-E. ARPA-E invests in energy startups during early stages of their development. Rep. Polis also worked with Rep. Garamendi to introduce an amendment to fully restore funding for ARPA-E that ultimately failed.
"As a founder of several startup companies before coming to Congress, I understand the value of taking risks to achieve great rewards. In order for ARPA-E energy startups to be successful, early support is critical. I was pleased to work with Representatives Schiff and Woodall in order to restore funding to ARPA-E. While it won't make ARPA-E's budget whole, it will at least provide additional funding to curb the impacts of the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill's initial 81% cut of this important program. Unfortunately, the amendment I introduced with Representative Garamendi to fully restore funding for ARPA-E at the President's budget level was not adopted, which is unfortunate since this critical program attracts private investment, creates jobs and moves us toward a path of energy independence."
Rep. Polis also introduced two amendments to reduce funding for weapons programs, one which would reduce funding for the W76 missile program and the other, which would reduce funding for the B61 missile program. Rep. Polis joined Rep. Quigley to reduce spending for the B61 missile program. Both amendments received bipartisan support, but did not pass the House.
"Both the B61 and W76 Missile Programs are relics of our Cold War policy that we needlessly spend billions of taxpayer dollars on every year to support the proliferation of nuclear weapons systems. Yet, this year's Energy and Water spending bill increased funding for both of these programs -- money that the agency did not request and does not need. I was pleased to offer an amendment with Representative Quigley, which reduces funding for the B61 missile program by $23.7 million in line with the agency's budget request, and puts those savings towards deficit reduction. I also offered an amendment to reduce our deficit by decreasing funding for the outdated and expensive W76 missile program by $13 million back down to the agency's requested amount."