Democratic News

Mar 29 2017

Cantwell, Colleagues Demand Trump Abandon Harmful DOE Cuts

Senators: Administration Budget Would Kill Jobs and Weaken America’s Competitiveness

Download a PDF of the letter here.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) led 17 Democratic senators in a letter to President Trump urging him to reverse course on his proposal to cut the Department of Energy’s (DOE) fiscal year 2018 budget.

“The Department of Energy is a science and technology leader, with an unrivaled network of national laboratories, accelerating innovation in energy, manufacturing and nuclear security," the senators wrote. “Your budget proposal would jeopardize the very science and technology programs that you value, undermining U.S. energy leadership and killing American jobs."

The Department of Energy is responsible for national security, guiding energy policy, overseeing the direction of scientific labs and innovation, operating our nation's nuclear weapons complex, as well as crafting solutions to environmental, energy and nuclear challenges to promote a more sustainable America.

The senators say the fiscal year 2018 budget proposes to slash funding and, in some cases, eliminate several critical DOE programs, including:

• Eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program;
• Eliminating Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program;
• Eliminating the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Program;
• Eliminating the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program;
• Reducing the Office of Science’s budget by 17 percent; and
• Reducing $2 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear   Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and     Development programs.

In the letter, the senators also noted that the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget contradicted statements that Energy Secretary Rick Perry made during his nomination hearing. During the hearing, Rick Perry stated “the Department can be a great resource in cooperating with the private sector to spur innovation, particularly by investing in cutting-edge research.” He continued, “I hope to explore all the avenues available to transfer more of the great work performed at our national laboratories to the marketplace.”

If implemented, the cuts to the Energy Department’s budget could result in the loss of thousands of jobs, threaten important scientific research, and stall American innovation in the energy sector.

“The ‘Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again’ is misnamed. Instead, it would kill jobs and weaken America’s competitiveness," the senators wrote. “We will vigorously oppose these draconian proposals and urge you to change course immediately."

The letter was signed by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Read the letter here.