Cantwell Statement On $91 Million Illegally Withheld From Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy

December 12, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) made the following statement regarding a Government Accountability Office (GAO) letter notifying Congress that the Department of Energy (DOE) violated the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 by withholding $91 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) from Fiscal Year 2017 appropriated funds:

"I am deeply troubled by GAO’s report that Secretary Perry was refusing to release funds for innovation funding through ARPA-E that Congress has already funded. These actions ignore Congressional intent, and are explicitly prohibited by law. The President cannot ignore statutory requirements or funding direction provided by Congress. I expect nothing less than Secretary Perry’s full compliance with the law."

The DOE has resolved the issue after the GAO raised it, and ARPA-E is releasing a funding opportunity to start the competitive process to award the funds.

In May, Senator Cantwell led a letter with 27 Senators to Energy Secretary Rick Perry raising similar issues and communicating the view that the Secretary must comply with the law by awarding and releasing research and development funds according to Congress’s direction. The GAO investigation was following up on those issues raised in the letter.