Hoyer: Republicans Prohibit Debate on Important National Security Issue

Energy Independence Must Be A Priority, Whip Says

For Immediate Release:

May 11, 2006

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following remarks today on the House floor in opposition to the Republicans’ Rule on the FY07 Defense Authorization Act, which barred consideration of an amendment offered by Whip Hoyer, Rep. Bart Gordon, and Rep. Mark Udall that would have shifted excess funds from the ballistic missile defense program to programs moving America towards energy independence:

         “Mr. Speaker, this morning I want to express my deep disappointment that the Rules Committee declined to make my amendment concerning one of the most vital national security issues facing our nation – our continued dependence on foreign sources of oil – in order.

         “As Jim Woolsey, the former C.I.A. Director, has stated: ‘The future of our economic and national security is more than ever coupled to our energy policy.’

         “Let me stress, the amendment that I offered along with Congressmen Bart Gordon and Mark Udall was decidedly non-partisan.  It was not offered in an attempt to gain short-term political advantage. It was offered in an attempt to encourage this body to focus on the national security implications of our continued addiction to oil – and to suggest practical methods to address that addiction.

         “Let me add, when I testified before the Rules Committee on Tuesday, I was very pleased with the serious discussion of this amendment – as well as the virtually unanimous support of the Members on both sides of the aisle for the proposals within it.

         “In short, this amendment called for three things: First, it would have authorized $250 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy. ARPA-E would encourage and support our best and brightest researchers and scientists to develop cutting-edge technology necessary to make America energy independent.

         “Second, the amendment would have required the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the Director of National Intelligence, to study and report to Congress on the national security implications of our increasing demand for foreign oil.

         “And finally, the amendment would have increased the funds available for the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), which buys and manages oil and other energy supplies for the military services.

         “It also would have increased the funds available for the Advanced Power Technology Office, which promotes the increased use of fuel cells, electric hybrids and hydrogen for military and homeland defense vehicles and equipment. These proposals would have been paid for, Mr. Speaker, by shifting more than $300 million in excess funds from the $9.1 billion proposed for ballistic missile defense programs.
 
        “Let me conclude by saying that it is imperative that the Members address this vital issue – energy independence – in a serious, thoughtful manner. When we put our minds to something, I believe that there is nothing that Americans cannot do. And, now more than ever, we must focus on addressing our addiction to foreign sources of oil.”

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