Kaptur statement at subcommittee markup of FY 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
Thank you Chairman Simpson and all Members of this great subcommittee that consistently endeavors to work on a bipartisan basis to produce bills that meet our nation’s priorities in energy, water, and nuclear capabilities for domestic needs as well as security. As always, we applaud that our subcommittee bill is among the first out of the starting gate for 2019. This does not happen by chance and I am grateful for the excellent working relationship we and our Members have, Mr. Chairman. This is an achievement worthy of emulation in this Congress.
Our bill supports America’s progress. Energy and water are essential elements of existence. Our work contributes to assuring their availability for domestic stability and national security not just for today but importantly for the tomorrows to come. America’s future is headed toward a population of half a billion citizens with growing pressures on our freshwater and energy systems. Programs under our jurisdiction advance our nation’s ability to meet that future with soft landings, not lurches. It is no secret for example that every time that fuel prices exceed $4.00 per gallon, our nation sinks into deep recession. Thus energy is intertwined in our economy as a main artery. Our Subcommittee’s work aims to assure America meets its potential. And with the two-year Budget agreement in place, we begin our work knowing what our topline funding level should be. That is a giant step in the right direction of restoring regular order.
Largely thanks to Budget agreement, the Chairman has been able to provide increased funding levels across our bill. I am thankful for that and for the Chairman’s efforts. Our bill is certainly a message to the Executive Branch that the Legislative Branch rejects the ill-considered, draconian cuts we have come to expect to every important agency we fund in this bill. I hope we will see a realistic budget request next year.
The significant increase in funding for the Army Corps will ensure continued forward progress across all project areas, including navigation and environmental restoration. I’m grateful for the Chairman’s continued partnership to address the Asian carp threat to our freshwater Great Lakes ecosystem as well as for funding to keep our Great Lakes open to shippers, which drives economic investment.
While the Chairman has been generous in the funding of most programs, the bill cuts funding from the enacted levels for some of the highest priorities to those of us on this side of the aisle. These include Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, high sciences driven by ARPA-E, and Nuclear Nonproliferation, all within DOE. These programs invest in new horizons to move our economy forward through innovation while keeping us safe from bad actors with nuclear ambitions.
I continue to be troubled by the unsustainable spending in DOE’s weapons program. We all agree that modernizing our nuclear arsenal within a reasonable timetable is necessary for nuclear security. As I have said repeatedly, these colossal increases for weapons are not sustainable year over year.
Further, instead of working to rein in costs, just over three weeks ago the Administration submitted a budget amendment to begin work on a new low-yield ballistic missile as proposed in the Nuclear Posture Review. Given the timing of this request, we have not had any opportunity for debate in our committee. We did not have this information in time to discuss this with either Secretary Perry or the NNSA Administrator in our budget hearings. As of today, I remain unconvinced this new capability will actually improve our nuclear deterrent.
The bill again includes several unnecessary and controversial policy riders, including a new version related to the Waters of the United States, and new language legislating an ongoing court case. These riders make moving our bill in a bipartisan manner difficult and I strongly object to their inclusion.
In closing, I would like to thank our Members on both sides of the aisle, and our staff, who as always work in a collegial and inclusive manner. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Angie Giancarlo and Jaime Shimek, who are in their first full cycle as clerks. They have done a fantastic job. We thank you all.