Chairman Rogers Floor Statement on FY 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 5325, the Fiscal Year 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.
This legislation – which funds important agencies and programs under the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation – contains $32.1 billion in discretionary funding – a cut of nearly $1 billion below the President’s budget request. Within this bill, we placed the highest priorities on programs that shore up our national security, help tackle sky-rocketing 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 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, non-security spending in this bill is cut $188 million below last year. Within this non-security category, we have prioritized programs that support energy security and American competitiveness.
For instance, the Corps of Engineers budget contains $83 million more than the President’s request, directing funds to ensure our waterways stay open for business in support of commerce that will help our economy thrive.
We’ve also invested in finding ways to help America achieve greater energy independence, providing over a billion dollars to strengthen DOE programs to help address rapidly rising gasoline prices. The bill also creates a new oil shale research and development program, and promotes advanced research into coal, natural gas, and other fossil energy resources that provide more than 83% of our nation’s energy.
In order to strengthen defense programs and these other national priorities, we 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 have 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 are 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 sky-rocketing deficits, we simply cannot fund everything at elevated amounts. We have cut back – just as families know they have to cut back in these precarious times.
Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky did an excellent job working together to distribute their 302(b) sub-allocation in the most responsible and effective way possible. The Subcommittee and its staffs from both sides should be proud of their hard work on this bill, and I want to thank them for their many hours spent crafting it.
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 5325 is a good piece of legislation. It gives priority to programs that boost our national defense, support competitiveness and innovation, and help reduce the volatility of gasoline prices. I urge my colleagues to vote ‘yes’ on this bill.