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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chair, let me begin with a completely irrelevant digression on a completely different matter. Today it was announced that the United States will recognize the Libyan rebels as the legitimate Government of Libya. If that is true, we should make an immediate demand on that government that it use the $33 billion, or some portion thereof, of Qadhafi money that is frozen in the United States to reimburse the American taxpayer for all of the military actions and humanitarian actions we have taken for the benefit of the people of Libya--there is no reason that these actions should be done at the expense of the United States taxpayer--and that the real cost of our military actions in Libya should be calculated on the basis of full cost accounting, not the marginal cost accounting that has been used in press releases from the Pentagon.

Now for my amendment. This amendment deals with the international programs carried out by the Department of Energy. It is in some ways a rival to, or an alternative to, the amendment presented by Mr. Harris last night. Mr. Harris' amendment would eliminate all of these programs with the exception of one and thus reduce roughly $6 million in costs.

My amendment eliminates those programs that go to China while leaving the remaining programs. So if you don't want to see American taxpayer money used to benefit Chinese manufacturers, you have two alternatives. Maybe you'll vote for them both. But some will just vote for my amendment that focuses on the $2 million we spend in China.

The Harris amendment would have you also--perhaps in an effort to eliminate the money going for the benefit of Chinese manufacturers--cut our cooperative programs that are chiefly with Latin America and Canada.

I believe that it is in our interest to continue to provide energy-efficiency assistance to our partners here in this hemisphere. First, these are our allies. These are, in most cases, poor countries that we're trying to help. Their energy costs are very high, particularly in recent years. And one of the best ways to help them is to help them reduce their energy bill.

But it also helps the American consumer, because if you can reduce worldwide aggregate demand for energy, particularly oil, you reduce the worldwide price. So it is in our interest to carry on the very small programs that have been effective in helping Mexico and Costa Rica and Dominica and other Caribbean States to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency.

However, I do not think it is in our interest to spend the $2 million that we provide to provide fancy American consultants to go over to China at no cost to them to give them ideas on how to reduce their energy usage.

If the Chinese wanted this advice, unlike poor countries in Latin America, they can well afford to pay for it. If you can afford a consultant, and you choose not to hire one, you probably don't want one, and you are probably not going to listen to the consultants.

So if China needs American technology to reduce their energy usage, they can and should pay for it. They could just send us back an infinitesimal portion of the U.S. bonds being held in Beijing.

This amendment that I offer today eliminates the possibility that this bill will be used to provide foreign aid and corporate aid to the Chinese Government and Chinese businesses. I may have sounded a little confused as to where it's private sector and public sector in China, of course, that's because in China those two things are confused.

So I hope that you will support my amendment, view it as an alternative to the Harris amendment. I hope that you will vote against the Harris amendment, because it does make sense for us to spend a very small amount of money in cooperative programs, chiefly here in this hemisphere, to help reduce energy usage by countries that we are providing foreign aid to for the most part because they are poor countries and our allies.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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