Norm Dicks' Floor Statement During the Second Consideration of the CR
September 22, 2011
"Mr. Speaker, I know as well as anyone that Members change their minds. I've heard a lot about that the last couple of days. But here we are debating essentially the same bill that we voted on yesterday. Many Republicans who voted "No" last night did so because they believe $1.043 trillion is too much. The bill before us tonight spends $1.043 trillion.
"I will be the first to say every Member is entitled to change his or her mind. However, I am eager to hear from my Republican colleagues who voted "No" yesterday why it is OK today to vote for $1.043 trillion in spending.
"And I hope those Members will not hang their hat on the one fig leaf of change in the bill. The bill now includes a rescission of $100 million in emergency funding from the section 1705 renewables DOE loan program. A rescission of emergency funds does not score as a reduction from the $1.043 trillion.
"Democrats voted "No" for two reasons. We strongly oppose taking funding from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. This is a program that has proven to be a success in creating new jobs
"Second, we strongly oppose the notion that efforts to help Americans rebuild their lives after floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters should be put on hold until Congress can agree on offsetting reductions in spending.
"We will continue to vote "No" because the bill continues to require an offset to provide disaster relief funding. And that offset is misguided. Republicans take $1.5 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program at the Department of Energy to pay for $1 billion in disaster relief.
"The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program was started in 2008 to reinvigorate American manufacturing. To date, the program has awarded $3.5 billion of credit subsidy to promote energy efficient advanced vehicles and their component parts. The Department of Energy estimates the loan guarantees have created or maintained 39,000 jobs in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee.
"Some have suggested that this program has been slow to spend emergency funding provided in the FY 2009 CR. I say the loan review process is – and ought to be – strenuous. One company originally applied under a different loan program in 2006 and received an ATVM loan in 2010; it required four years of due diligence and review to qualify for the loan.
"Republicans seem to be issuing an ultimatum to all loan programs: expedite the review process or see your funding transferred away.
"By the way, the company in question [TESLA] employed about 400 workers before receiving the loan. Today, they have 1,400 employees in the fields of engineering research and development, design, manufacturing, assembly, maintenance and service, sales, and support.
"The ATVM program has an additional 18 loan applications in progress that are projected to create 50 - 60,000 more jobs in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. One pending application would support investments at 11 plants in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The company employs over 56,000 workers, having added nearly 9,000 new workers since 2009.
"Some of these jobs will be at risk because of this offset. This is not the time to put American manufacturing jobs at risk.
"The National Association of Manufacturers expressed their support for the ATVM program in a letter to the Senate dated September 22, noting, "The ATVM program is an example of what government/industry partnerships can accomplish. It has helped create and preserve thousands of auto sector jobs ... The NAM believes defunding ATVM will hurt manufacturers and their employees."
"The US Chamber of Commerce also supports the Democratic position.
"In the Chamber's letter to the House, dated September 22, the world's largest business federation makes three points in support of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program:
First, the program was authorized in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was supported by both Republicans and Democrats as an important step in reducing America's dependence on oil from unstable regimes.
Second, ATVM loans, which will be repaid with interest, incentivize automakers and suppliers to build more fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicles in the U.S., providing new opportunities for American workers in a sector of the economy that is critical to the nation's recovery.
Third, the fact that the Department of Energy has yet to use the funds Congress appropriated for the program is not the fault of industry; numerous loan applicants have been in the queue for years, waiting for the Administration to complete its due diligence.
"Again, while the Chamber understands the importance of reducing America's unacceptable debt and believes that all programs must be on the table, the Chamber urges you to
"bear in mind the facts about the ATVM loan program, which promotes manufacturing in the U.S. and is an important component of America's energy security."
"The National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber urges the House to remember that the ATVM program promotes manufacturing in the United States. If you want to make it in America, you can't take away this funding."