06.21.17

Statement On The President's FY 18 Funding Request For The U.S. Department Of Energy

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Vice Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee On Energy and Water Development
Hearing On “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2018
Funding Request For The U.S. Department Of Energy”

June 21, 2017

I want to thank Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein for having this hearing today to discuss the administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request for the Department of Energy. Secretary Perry, the Energy Department is one that has a wide array of responsibilities and roles in this country and internationally.

Secretary Perry on your first day on the job you challenged the Department’s employees to “go change the world.” You remarked how you were quickly learning what a consequential role the Department has to change the world every day. But the budget proposal you are presenting to us today will not move us forward nor will it address our nation’s needs, challenges, or quite frankly our values.

We cannot roll back the important progress that has been made in promoting science, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate advancements by failing to invest in America’s clean energy economy. That clean energy economy stands to create millions of good jobs in rural communities across the country, and will result in billions of dollars in exports of renewable energy goods. This is a well-documented opportunity to create jobs and invest in the industries of the future to make our economy more innovative, productive, and clean. We have come too far to allow all the progress we have made to be washed away by attempts to reject science and common sense environmental protections.

During your confirmation process, you said that if confirmed you would “look out for the good of all Americans with respect to the Department’s important mission. We cannot achieve that mission if we stop investing in technology and innovation, as this budget proposal would do, or leave thousands of low-income households in the cold by eliminating the Weatherization Assistance Program, as the President intends. Many of the great technological advances and innovative products we see in the marketplace today are the result of Federal research and investments that were made over 20 years ago. This research has a wide-reaching impact and cannot simply be turned on and off like a light switch. The funding cuts and programs eliminated by this budget mean lost American jobs, lost energy savings, and hard times for folks who need help – that is a lose, lose, lose proposition.

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