Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen Floor Statement on H.R. 2609, the FY 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Jul 9, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield myself three minutes.

It’s my honor to bring the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water bill before the membership of the House.

However, before I go through its highlights, I’d like to thank my ranking member, Congresswoman Kaptur, and all members for their participation in putting this bill together so quickly, and so responsibly.

I’d also like to recognize the hard work of Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey to bring this bill, and the several others before it, to the floor under an open rule.

The bill for Fiscal Year 2014 totals $30.426 billion, $2.9 billion below last year’s levels, and more than $4 billion below the President’s request.

The budget allocation we received this year made for some very difficult decisions, but in our bipartisan tradition we worked hard to incorporate priorities and perspectives from both sides of the aisle.

We placed the highest priority on national defense, Army Corps of Engineers, and other activities on which the federal government must take the lead. The cuts we had to make to the applied energy research and development programs will shift more of this work to the private sector.

The bill provides $7.675 billion, an increase of $98 million above fiscal year 2013, to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure, excluding rescissions.

I would like to note that the recommendation contains no funding to implement the President’s recently announced plans to reduce the stockpile. No funding will be available until Congress has judged that these plans will fully support our national defense.

The recommendation increases the Corps of Engineers by $50 million above the President’s request and redirects funds to ensure our waterways and harbors keep America open for business.

These waterways handled foreign commerce valued at more than $1.7 trillion in 2012 alone!

As in previous fiscal years, the bill maintains the Constitutional role of Congress in the Appropriations process by ensuring that all worthy Corps of Engineers projects have a chance to compete for funding.

Basic science programs total $4.7 billion, just above last year’s post-sequestration levels.

Environmental cleanup programs to address the legacy of the Manhattan Project and other contaminated sites are funded at $5.5 billion, approximately $185 million above the post-sequester levels for fiscal year 2013.

In order to find room for the bill’s core priorities, applied energy research and development had to be cut. The recommendation prioritizes funding in this area for programs which support American manufacturing jobs, stable energy prices and diversity of supply.

The bill includes $450 million for fossil energy technologies and $656 million for nuclear energy activities. Both of these programs are cut below the fiscal year 2013 post sequester level.

The bill combines the electricity delivery program and the energy efficiency and renewable energy program, and provides $983 million for these activities, excluding rescissions. The recommendation reorients these programs to focus on electricity infrastructure resilience (including cybersecurity) and gasoline prices.

And, finally, on Yucca Mountain: the recommendation includes $25 million to sustain the program, along with similar language as last year’s prohibiting activities that would keep the facility from being usable in the future.

It also includes support for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get that application finished. No funding is included for requested activities to move past the Yucca Mountain repository program. If and when Congress authorizes changes to the program of record, the Committee will reconsider funding for these alternatives.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill recognizes our fiscal realities, and makes the tough decisions to ensure we get our spending under control without sacrificing our most critical of federal functions.

I’m expecting a vigorous and open debate during an open process over the coming days so all can have a chance to contribute to this legislation.

I yield back.