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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. I thank the chairman for that generous offer.

Mr. Chairman, this is a good bill. It is a hard-fought bill. It is a tough bill, and I want to commend the chairman and the ranking member for their hard work because the allocation to this subcommittee was not greatest in the world. But Chairman Frelinghuysen and Mr. Visclosky, I think, have done wonders with a short allocation.

It funds the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation $32.1 billion. That's a cut of nearly $1 billion off of the President's request; and within the bill we've placed the highest priorities on programs that shore up our national security, help tackle skyrocketing gasoline and energy prices, and support American competitiveness.

We know this is a bill that can do a great deal to help promote job creation, improve public safety and regional commerce, and help relieve some of that pain at the pump in the future. So we've made those smart investments that will help boost the American economy.

Nuclear security programs, as the chairman mentioned, are increased by $275 million over last year. We've made the key investments that are needed to modernize our nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure, advance our nuclear nonproliferation activities around the world, and power the reactors that run our Navy--all in order to maintain the safety and readiness of our national defense. To achieve this, the President's request of $7.6 billion for weapons activities is fully funded.

In total, nonsecurity spending in this bill is cut $188 million below last year. Within this nonsecurity category, the committee prioritized programs that support energy security and American competitiveness.

For instance, the Corps of Engineers budget contains $83 million more than what the President requested, directing funds to ensure our waterways stay open in support of commerce that will help our economy thrive.

The committee also invests in finding ways to help America achieve greater energy independence, providing over $1 billion to strengthen DOE programs to help address rapidly rising gasoline prices.

The bill also creates a new shale oil research and development program, and promotes advanced research into coal, natural gas, and other fossil energy resources that provide more than 83 percent of our Nation's energy.

In order to strengthen defense programs and these other national priorities, the committee had to find cuts elsewhere in the bill, cuts that targeted inefficiencies and waste and did the least harm to our Nation's infrastructure and competitiveness.

We've also cut certain energy programs that aren't as valuable to manufacturing and commerce, and we've rescinded prior-year funds wherever possible.

I want to stress that we're still able to fund important programs at adequate levels in order to ensure the safety of our citizens and our future economic security. But as we face the dangers of unresolved debts and skyrocketing deficits, we simply cannot fund everything at elevated amounts. We have to cut back--just as families know they have to cut back in these precarious times.

As I said, Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky did an excellent job working together as they distributed their 302(b) suballocation in the most responsible and effective way possible. The subcommittee and its staffs from both sides of the aisle should be proud, as I know they are, of their hard work on this bill, and I want to thank them for the many hours they spent crafting this bill.

Mr. Chairman, this is a good piece of legislation. I think any reasonable person looking at this bill will find that this committee did the very best that they could with the allocation that they have received. It gives priority to programs that boost our national defense, supports competitiveness and innovation, and helps reduce the volatility of gasoline prices. So I urge my colleagues to support this bill. And with that, I thank Mr. Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky and members of your subcommittee and staff for a job well done.


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