Chairwoman Kaptur Statement at Hearing on FY 2021 DOE Budget Request

2020-02-27 15:00

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chair of the Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget request for the Department of Energy:

The Subcommittee will come to order. Let us begin our first hearing on the fiscal year 2021 budget request, for the Department of Energy.  Thank you, Secretary Brouillette, for being here. 

First, let me express my deep disappointment that – well over two weeks after the budget was released – we only just received the full set of required supporting materials needed to evaluate this request last evening.  This delay is unacceptable, and I hope you rectify it for next year.

DOE addresses our nation’s most pressing energy, environmental, and nuclear security challenges through transformative science and technology. With those challenges comes opportunity:

  • opportunity to achieve progress for our nation to sustain life, grow our economy, and assure national security through energy independence;
  • opportunity to meet the imperative of climate change by making energy supplies cleaner and more resilient,
  • opportunity to advance high science to yield innovation to keep our nation globally competitive, and last but not least,
  • opportunity to cost-effectively sustain the nation’s nuclear deterrent while simultaneously supporting nuclear nonproliferation.

Looking toward fiscal year 2021, however, the Trump Administration again proposes to cut DOE’s budget – by 8 percent overall, and by an astounding 35 percent in non-defense programs.  This will limit America’s future by drastically reducing or eliminating programs critical for meeting our future energy needs and assuring our security.  These programs have received bipartisan, bicameral support precisely because of their crucial role in undergirding our economy and preparing us for the future to come – including the clean energy economy.

What we should be doing is supporting programs that create jobs as our nation transitions to a clean energy future.  One need look no further than a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting projects that the fastest-growing occupation in the country over the next 10 years is solar installation to know that these programs are job creators. 

But unfortunately, once again the President’s budget request harms America’s energy future, our competitiveness, our workforce, our environment, our consumers, and our economy.

This request is riddled with backward-looking proposals: 

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funding is cut by 74 percent.  EERE is responsible for creating and sustaining American leadership mastering U.S. energy independence and transitioning to a global clean energy economy. The Trump budget again eliminates the Weatherization Program, so pivotal to achieving energy conservation for existing structures, and helping lower-income families and individuals reduce their energy costs.
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy—which invests in transformational energy technologies of the future—is eliminated in your budget despite its track record of success. This backward slide is a non-starter for this Subcommittee.
  • The Office of Science is cut by $1.2 billion.  Under this request, research in vital areas, such as advanced computing, biology and environmental sciences, chemistry and materials research will suffer. All spur innovation and keep our nation globally competitive in an often predatory global marketplace.

The Administration has once again proposed a nuclear weapons budget that does not establish clear priorities with a responsible plan to fund and execute them. Instead, this budget suggests that everything is a priority.

The proposal includes an increase of $3.1 billion just for Weapons Activities. Mr. Secretary, media reports have indicated that you and even the President’s own Office of Management and Budget harbored concerns about the size of this request—which is billions above what the Department projected it would need last year. While sustaining the nuclear deterrent is a national priority, it must be done in a cost-effective, responsible manner. 

I must also express serious concern with your request to again cut key nuclear nonproliferation programs.

With that, I’ll close my remarks. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here today. We look forward discussing this request and adapting it accordingly.

I’d like to turn to our Ranking Member, Mr. Simpson, for his opening remarks.



116th Congress