Byrne Offers Amendment to Cut Over $1 Billion in Spending
During debate on an energy and water development funding bill, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) offered an amendment to cut $1,657,774,000 in wasteful spending.
Congressman Byrne’s amendment would eliminate all funding for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program. The program funds research and development of “clean-energy” technologies. Congressman Byrne believes the program to be unnecessary government influence in the free market and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The Heritage Foundation repeatedly pointed out the problems and inefficiencies caused by the EERE program. In fact, they included cutting EERE on their list of 106 ways to reduce the size and scope of government.
During debate on his amendment, Congressman Byrne made an impassioned plea for the Obama administration to stop trying to kill the coal industry while funneling billions of dollars toward less reliable sources of energy. Byrne highlighted Alabama’s coal industry in his remarks and emphasized the harsh impact new regulations are having on the coal industry. Video of that exchange can be found here.
A transcript of Congressman Byrne’s remarks can be found below. The amendment was not adopted on a vote of 139 to 282.
Byrne said: “My amendment seeks to strike all funding for the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.
“This program, under the Department of Energy, allows the government to invest millions of taxpayer dollars in high risk research and development schemes for “green energy” projects.
“The government should not be in the business of subsidizing the research and development initiatives of individual companies. Let’s be clear: competition and innovation have been key aspects of private sector success in our country from day one and the government should not take the role of a private investor.
“Every business has a bottom line, which is in itself a direct incentive for developing methods for becoming more energy efficient and innovative.
“By subsidizing this small sector of the energy economy, we are essentially allowing the Department of Energy to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on unconventional energy initiatives and projects that place taxpayer dollars at risk and that are not likely to produce a return on investment.
“We, as a Congress, have continuously stated the need for an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but continued investment into the EERE program focuses on a small portion of a largely unproductive portion of the energy sector at the expense of more traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels and nuclear, that have a proven, reliable track record.
“I do want to applaud Chairman Simpson and the entire committee for their work on this bill. I know they face many tough choices when it comes to preparing these bills, and I do appreciate your hard work.
“Ultimately, the American people are sick and tired of a federal government that continues to recklessly spend taxpayer dollars. They want to see Congress make the tough choices and rein in wasteful spending.
“I believe that eliminating funding for the EERE program would be a step in the right direction and would be a small step toward restoring fiscal sanity in Washington.
“At a time when many Americans and small businesses continue to struggle, we must focus on reasonable energy strategies that allow for the most affordable and reliable energy resources for consumers and businesses alike.
“I reserve the balance of my time.”