Kaptur statement at subcommittee markup of 2018 Energy & Water Appropriations bill
Thank you Chairman Simpson and all the Members of this great subcommittee. Of the twelve appropriation bills being prepared just now, I am proud that our subcommittee bill is among the first out of the starting gate for 2018.
This bill funds incredibly important programs that can unlock America’s full economic and environmental potential. Unfortunately, to say the process by which this Congress is proceeding is in disarray would be understating where we find ourselves. The vastly different opinions of how much funding should be allocated to discretionary spending has left many valuable programs in a state of suspended animation – something that does a tremendous disservice to the country. By extension, not having a full suite of 302(b) allocations by which to judge the relative merits of individual spending decisions is really not fair to our subcommittees. Nevertheless, we are here today to soldier on in order to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities.
I appreciate that the Chairman has provided robust funding to the Corps of Engineers, restored the more than $900 million cut to the Science account, and provides the same level of funding for Weatherization as 2017.
While the Chairman limited the damage to many of the programs, the bill before us short changes renewable energy and science by terminating ARPA-E and doing violence to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account.
I fear that these cuts cede the future to our competitors who are coopting the energy technologies that the American taxpayers paid to develop. While we should be looking to build on our significant progress towards energy independence under the previous Administration, the cuts to clean energy programs represent a serious backtrack.
The bill also includes several unnecessary and controversial policy riders that have been carried in the past and a new one related to the Waters of the United States. The riders further complicate an already difficult process and I strongly object to their inclusion.
Ultimately though, I appreciate the hard work of Chairman Simpson.The allocation provided to Energy and Water required significant cuts and while I would have made very different decisions, I recognize the challenge.
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 Donna Shahbaz, again this year working under tremendous time pressure with grace.I also want to thank Taunja Berquam, our Democratic staff member, for her continued dedication and diligence. We thank them both.