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Hearing of the Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee - NNSA Weapons Activities FY 2012


Location: Washington, DC

The hearing will come to order.

Before we get started, I'd like to welcome everyone to the subcommittee's first hearing of the year. There have been many changes over the last several months, but some faces are familiar.

Mr. Pastor, it's good to be working with you again. I'd also like to extend a special welcome to our new members to the subcommittee, Steve Womack of Arkansas and Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi.

Gentlemen, I think you will find that the issues this subcommittee oversees are both challenging and incredibly important to the security and well-being of this nation. I'm glad to have you with us.

As we begin our FY12 hearings, I do want to commend to the attention of my colleagues on this Subcommittee as well as each Department and Agency official that will come before us in the upcoming weeks to review their FY12 budget requests, that it is highly unlikely there will be any new funding in FY12 for our subcommittee. In fact, the committee was just tasked with finding $3.5 billion in savings from existing programs for the remainder of FY11 and that's what we delivered in the House approved FY11 CR. I expect our task will be as great if not greater in FY12. Our committee must do its part to reduce federal spending and our huge Federal deficit!

So in short, resources will be constrained, even for the most essential of activities under our jurisdiction. The issues we will review and discuss today and in future hearings must be considered in that context.

To the task at hand: we have before us three professionals who have dedicated themselves to ensuring a safe, secure and reliable national nuclear stockpile and what we commonly refer to as the nuclear "enterprise".
Administrator D'Agostino, it's good to have you back. And welcome, Dr. Cook and General Finan, to your first hearing before the subcommittee. We look forward to your remarks.

Mr. Administrator, as you surely noted in our recent House action on the FY11 CR, your program was the only program under the jurisdiction of this subcommittee that was "held harmless". And for good reason.

That said, I am aware that the Administration's request for FY12 for Weapons Activities asks for a substantial increase. Compared to fiscal year 2010, this request is $1.2 billion, or 20% higher. Mr. Administrator, in the fiscal environment that we are now facing, that request is very unlikely to be met.

Mr. Administrator, I promise you a fair and thoughtful hearing, but with the proviso that new resources will not be available unless they come from other existing accounts. No account in this request will be spared and you will have to ensure that we understand the need for every dollar you request.
I'll end my remarks here and yield to our ranking member, Mr. Pastor, for his opening comments!

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