Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, my amendment will reduce funding for the international programs of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by cutting $6 million out of their $8 million budget and transferring it to the spending reduction account to reduce our deficit.
Now, first, Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the committee for doing excellent work in cutting the EERE budget by an overall total of 27 percent, but this program was cut less than that. It was cut by 20 percent. Mr. Chairman, as I go through the district, the number one area that I hear people say let's cut that to attack our deficit is foreign aid; and basically, this program is foreign aid. It takes scarce American jobs and sends them overseas.
Now, Mr. Chairman, as you know, our unemployment rate here jumped to 9.2 percent last week. We created 18,000 jobs, and here in front of us we have a program, this international program, that creates jobs. It sure does. The problem is they're all in foreign countries. So it takes those scarce American jobs and sends them overseas.
And I agree with the ranking member: Our actions today should have jobs as our focus, American jobs. That is why this amendment is essential.
The United States Government now has a $1.5 trillion debt. We borrow 40 cents out of every dollar spent. We borrow money from China to finance our Federal spending and our national debt. And through this program, we spend that money in China to make Chinese manufacturers more energy efficient. Yes, that is hard to believe, but we do that. We take a million dollars and spend it in China to make their factories more efficient so they can compete with us so we can lose jobs, lose our revenues, and
then borrow more money from China to do it all over again. We have got to end this vicious cycle, and we have to end it with this amendment.
As chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Science, Space and Technology Committee, we held hearings on this specific subject. Let me tell you about some of the programs this international program funds. It assists manufacturing facilities in China and India to reduce their energy use. Well, that's great, but why are we helping our economic competitors with hard-earned dollars that we borrow from them and then use to make their industries more efficient.
It gets even better. Then we improve energy efficiency in the Chinese building sector. Great. Let's strengthen our economic opponents with money we actually borrowed from them. In fact, the DOE just announced a $25 million project over the next 5 years to support the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center. Now, why isn't it a U.S. energy research and [Page: H4837]
development center? Why are we spending hard-earned, hard-borrowed dollars overseas?
Even more programs:
One to promote energy efficiency in Indian software companies; unbelievable. Why aren't we promoting energy efficiencies in American software companies.
Partnering with the Kazakhstan Government to provide training on industrial efficiency. Now, I like those auto jobs in the United States. Maybe we should, in fact, train our own industry to be more efficient and not go to Kazakhstan and spend our money to do it.
A renewable energy center and solar power project in Chile; energy efficiency centers in Peru and Costa Rica; windmills in Mexico. Yeah, we are taking this money and we are actually building windmills in Mexico. Renewable energy strategy development in the Caribbean, and windmills in the Dominican Republic.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have gone throughout my district. They are begging for us to cut the deficit. The President said, he promised he would go line by line through that budget and find some items to cut. Ladies and gentlemen, this program is ripe for that cutting. We shouldn't be sending this money overseas. This doesn't eliminate the program; it cuts 75 percent of the funding. It goes a little further than the committee.
We clearly have to allocate America's hard-earned resources to higher priorities. Again, I commend the committee for making a start in cutting here, but we've got to go further. When we're spending money on making Chinese factories more efficient to compete with us and when we're building windmills in Mexico with our money, we've gone too far. That's why the Citizens Against Government Waste has endorsed this amendment. It hardly gets more wasteful than taking hard-earned dollars, borrowing from
overseas, sending it back over there, and creating jobs overseas when we have a 9.2 percent unemployment rate here.
I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I will be brief.
The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Harris) and I are pretty close, but I will respectfully oppose his amendment for a couple of reasons.
One is that the program that is subject to his amendment is coordinating programs with other countries. We're not, by definition, sending jobs overseas to other countries. The theory of the program is to provide technical assistance for activities to help prime markets for clean technologies in major emerging economies, and the theory of the program is also that it can bring home lessons learned from other experiences and share them at the national, State and local levels.
I say I reluctantly oppose his amendment and that we are very close because I have great concerns over any number of these types of programs at the Department of Energy. I have expressed my displeasure to the Secretary, among others, that if we are going to invest our taxpayers' money--our money--in these endeavors, we ought to be very discreet as to how those moneys are spent to develop markets in the United States of America and, God bless, the rest of the world.
So I will in this instance take the Department of Energy at its word, and that's why I would respectfully oppose the amendment. I would be happy to stay in close communication with the gentleman, and I would be happy to stay in very close touch with the Department of Energy relative to the management of this program and, assuming the moneys are in the fiscal year 2012 budget, to pursue this program to make sure that your point is heard and that their expenditures are not violative of what you
want to do today.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I have mixed views as well.
Obviously, Israel is a strong ally, and were it not for Kazakhstan, we perhaps wouldn't be able to do some things militarily to support our troops that are both in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think that it bears close watching, but there is a perception that somehow we're giving China, India, Brazil, and other countries sort of an advantage. I view this program as a two-way street. It does provide a degree of access to American companies.
So I reluctantly oppose your amendment, but I can assure you that both of us feel very strongly that it bears watching. It has borne some fruit, so it's not money wasted, and it's not money given away to our competitors. At least that's my view of it.
Mr. HARRIS. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Let me just briefly address this so that we can move on.
We only cut $6 million out of the $8 million. There is actually budget language further on that protects a cooperative agreement between the U.S. and Israeli Governments, so it does not eliminate all the funding; it protects that program, and there will be another amendment offered later that will make that quite specific.
I understand that there is some possibility of actually getting a benefit for partnering--and I thank the ranking member for offering assistance--but honestly, I'm not sure what we're going to learn from Kazakhstan by sending money over there to provide training on industrial efficiency. I thought that we were the powerhouse of the world in industry. I thought we were the leader of the world. It's fine when we have a lot of money, but the fact of the matter is we borrow 40 cents out of every
dollar, and the largest program expenditure outside of the joint program with Israel is that expenditure in China.
Now, I want everyone to understand there is still money available. It's in the Department of State budget. This doesn't eliminate these programs. This just removes the Department of Energy's contribution. I will remind the body why the Department of Energy was formed years and years ago. It was to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and it has failed to do so. It has existed for decades, failing to do the mission for which it was established. In my district, people in private industry tell
me, if they had a division or a department that failed to do its job for decades, they wouldn't be cutting it back--they'd be eliminating it.
So, again, I thank the chairman and I thank the ranking member, and I urge the body to support the amendment.
Mr. BROUN of Georgia. In reclaiming my time, I am going to support Dr. Harris' amendment.
As we face this huge budget deficit as a Nation, we've got to look at every source of cuts that we can possibly accomplish. It's time not only to cut spending, but we've got to start paying back our debts, and we're not doing that here in this country. I think it is absolutely critical. The American people, the people who are looking for jobs today, want us to do the right thing. Programs like this and many others are killing our economy, and they're killing jobs in America.
So I'm going to support Dr. Harris' amendment. I hope at least enough of our colleagues here in the House will understand the financial crisis that we're in as a Nation and will support it also.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Harris).
The amendment was agreed to.
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR.
OF NORTH CAROLINA