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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce funding for basic energy science research by cutting 10 percent out of its $1.5 billion budget. It would apply those funds to the spending reduction account.

Basic energy science is a worthy goal to explore fundamental phenomena and create scientific knowledge to keep our technologies and ideas on the global, leading edge. However, it is not the Federal Government's function to act as a venture capitalist for science theory research. I believe that this endeavor is instead best left to our world-renowned universities and private institutions.

My amendment does not stop this research. It would simply put it on balance with the reductions that have already been applied in the bill to our present energy resources.

In this bill, general science is cut by only 5 percent, while research on fossil fuels and nuclear energy is cut by 17 percent and 14 percent respectively.

We're in an economic emergency, Mr. Chairman. Our Nation is facing an economic meltdown, and Federal dollars are very scarce. As we face this huge budget deficit together, we've got to look at every option available to meet the challenges of doing more with less.

I urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment eliminates the remaining funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, transferring $6 million to the Spending Reduction Account. Since 2008, the U.S. Government has been in the business of lending money to build cars that no one wants to buy. For instance, $50 million went to the Vehicle Production Group for natural gas minivans. That company failed. Meanwhile, $190 million went to Fisker Automotive to make electric cars that catch on fire. For instance, the Karma, Fisker's hybrid-electric luxury sedan, which cost around $100,000 apiece, was recalled to fix a hose connection that allowed coolant leaks into the battery chamber, causing an electrical short. Fortunately, no one was hurt before production was ended. Unfortunately, taxpayers got back only a fraction of the payout.

Mr. Chairman, I'm 100 percent supportive of the automobile industry producing more fuel-efficient automobiles. However, there's simply no good reason that the Federal Government should be subsidizing billion-dollar companies at a time when our Nation is broke. It is time that we begin to reverse this disturbing trend of energy loan programs for companies and let the automobile industry succeed or fail in the marketplace on its own merits. We have to stop these kinds of subsidies, particularly in these hard times when our Nation is in an economic emergency.

I urge support of this commonsense amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would reduce the appropriations for the Department of Energy's salaries and expenses by $9.5 million and place that amount in the spending reduction account. When combined with the reduction included in the underlying bill, this amount would represent a 25 percent cut from current levels.

Mr. Chairman, I understand that this may seem somewhat drastic. However, I've spoken again and again today about the fiscal emergency facing our country.

There are legitimate constitutional functions of the Federal Government which must be funded, particularly those that relate to our national defense. Yet even those functions are facing cuts--deep cuts. This means that prioritization is necessary so that we may determine our wants versus our needs.

We need to open up access to new sources of energy. We need to stop being dependent on foreign oil. The Department of Energy has done very little to further either of these goals. In fact, according to its original purpose of being stood up, it has been a dismal failure.

Certainly, there are advances to be made in current technology. But in the here and now, we know that we are sitting on vast resources that are so tied up in red tape it could be decades before they could come to fruition.

The House has passed several bills--and will continue to pass bills--to lighten the Federal burden and bring true energy freedom to this country. But the Senate and the administration disagree with us. They would rather throw millions upon millions towards new sources of clean energy, some of which have turned into highly publicized wastes of taxpayer dollars.

Mr. Chairman, we need to prioritize developing the resources that we have now. Unfortunately, the Department of Energy has proven time and again it is out of touch with the needs of our country. The bureaucrats responsible for putting the Solyndras of the world above traditional sources of energy pull in more than $100,000 a year on average, all the while doing little to lighten costs for American families. In fact, despite a supposed hiring freeze, the Department of Energy's Web site, right now today, is currently advertising 31 job openings paying over $105,000 per year.

This is ridiculous, Mr. Chairman, and it must stop.

My amendment would force the Department of Energy to reevaluate its priorities and put our current needs first rather than hoping that new, clean sources of energy will pan out eventually.

I urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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