Ranking Member DeLauro Floor Remarks in Opposition to the 2024 Energy and Water Development Funding Bill
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 4394, the fiscal year 2024 Energy and Water Development funding bill:
Last year, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill lowered energy costs for families, created good-paying jobs by growing and supporting a robust clean energy sector and rebuilding water infrastructure, promoted American energy independence, strengthened our national security and ensured American energy out-competed China.
Sadly, that is not what this year’s bill does.
The majority has put forth a bill that cuts domestic energy investments by a staggering 25.4 percent, or $6.4 billion lower than last year – with the consequence of increasing energy costs for American families at a time when families are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling with the high cost of living. This bill undermines growth and modernization of our energy infrastructure, weakens our national security, and would yield leadership of the world’s energy future to our greatest adversaries.
As much as my Republican colleagues may refuse overwhelming evidence, deny scientific consensus, and ignore the catastrophic natural disasters becoming more severe and more common in their districts and across the country, we have no choice but to transform our energy sector to reflect our climate reality.
The only path that addresses climate change, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, and curbs our reliance on foreign energy is to diversify how we produce and store energy.
Wind. Solar. Hydroelectric. Hydrogen and geothermal. When it comes to addressing climate and driving a robust energy sector, our answer to the question “how” must be “everything under the sun.” The Department of Energy’s clean energy programs drive down energy costs, making it cheaper to expand domestic energy sources.
For Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the majority proposes cutting the Department of Energy’s budget by 42 percent from the 2023 level. This office researches and develops manufacturing, building, energy management, and weatherization technologies that are critical to our nation’s growth and resilience. That is over a billion dollars that will not be invested in our economic, energy, and climate future.
Furthermore, Republicans would cut $4.5 billion from the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program, which helps 250,000 low- and moderate-income households save upwards of $1 billion on their energy bills annually, and which creates 50,000 new jobs.
$1 billion cut from the Assistance for Latest and Zero Building Energy Code Adoption and $200 million from the State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants means if American families want to reduce their home energy consumption and lower their monthly bills, my Republican colleagues say “no.”
We must be innovative, creative, and aggressive in fighting for a clean energy future to make America resilient in the face of climate change. Which is why it is irresponsible to cut $15 billion from the Department of Energy’s Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program. That program supports critical projects that, for example remove air pollutants that can cause asthma and cancer from the atmosphere – after watching the skies turn orange over parts of the East Coast and Midwest this Summer, I would hope we could agree that air pollution is a bad thing, but perhaps the majority feels differently.
Sustainability, at its core, is a demand that we responsibly steward the planet and its natural resources to future generations. The majority fails this demand. If the proposed abandonment of America’s energy future and of our ability to build a robust and diversified energy industry were not enough reason to vote against this bill, then the offensive political riders on race, gender, and sexuality should be.
The majority continues to break the deal that the former Speaker struck with the President earlier this year to avert a default. Democrats and Republicans from the House and the Senate need to begin the process of negotiating and finding common ground to pass bipartisan Appropriations bills immediately. Pursuing these partisan bills all but guarantees we will need another Continuing Resolution in three weeks. Continuing Resolutions may keep the government open, but they are no way to govern. There is no excuse to be considering bills written to appease a minority of this chamber who we know will not vote to fund the government.
For all of these reasons, I cannot support this bill and I urge my colleagues to vote against it. Thank you, and I yield back.