WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Randy Weber (TX-14) today praised the passage of H.J. Res. 43, which passed the House with a vote of 230 to 188. This legislation overturns the Obama Administration’s midnight rule directing funds to abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood.
“I applaud Chairman Diane Black and my colleagues for standing up for women and their babies,” Weber said. “In my district, over 30 clinics are committed to supporting women in both during and immediately after pregnancy. In particular, low-income women receive support in maternity homes, acquire referrals to community assistance and social service programs like child-care. They also may take advantage of classes on life skills, budgeting, parenting, stress management and GED preparation. I am proud that H.J. Res. 43 supports integral programs that not only support mothers, but also help support their babies to ensure that both parties receive the care that they deserve.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology (SST) Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, delivered the following opening statement today during the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing entitled "Risky Business: The DOE Loan Guarantee Program.”
The witnesses included: Ms. Diane Katz, senior research fellow in regulatory policy, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation; Mr. Chris Edwards, director, Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Mr. Dan Reicher, executive director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University; and Dr. Ryan Yonk, assistant research professor, Department of Economics and Finance, Utah State University, research director, Institute of Political Economy, Utah State University.
As prepared for delivery:
Today, we will have the opportunity to review the past, present, and future of the Department of Energy’s loan program. I want to thank our panel of witnesses for joining us in this important discussion about the appropriate federal role in supporting energy innovation.
Established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the DOE loan guarantee program was designed to give federal support to risky, innovative, clean energy technology. Under a federal loan guarantee, instead of the private sector taking on risk to fund the scale up of new technology, the government steps in, risking federal dollars on the hopes for success of energy projects.
Through the Section 1703 and 1705 programs, the Department guaranteed loans to 30 energy companies, putting $28 billion in taxpayer money on the line.
After Congress approved over $2 billion to subsidize the costs of loan guarantees, the DOE issued more than $16 billion in guarantees to 26 different projects. In these subsidized loans, known as Section 1705 loans, companies not only received government backing for their loan, but additional taxpayer dollars were authorized to pay the “credit subsidy cost” of the loan, or the estimated cost to the federal government to manage the loan over its lifetime.
Easy money combined with political pressure to issue loans before the temporary subsidy program expired led the DOE to rush loan applications. Both the DOE Inspector General and Government Accountability Office found that the DOE did not have the necessary expertise or metrics to effectively evaluate these loans.
Predictably, a number of companies that received Section 1705 loans went into default. In total, over $800 million dollars in taxpayer money has been wasted by the DOE loan program.
It’s clear the DOE loan guarantee program is expensive – the GAO estimates that the cost for the current loan guarantees is $2.2 billion – but supporters argue the cost is justified if we can help innovative technologies make the leap to the commercial market.
But, what if federal meddling in the market actually hurts innovation? As we will hear in testimony today, when the federal government provides loans and loan guarantees to favored technologies, innovation stalls. While federal government support helps loan guarantee winners attract capital, it draws capital away from other innovative ideas in the market.
And since large companies with the resources to lobby on behalf of their projects often have an advantage in the loan application process, the DOE loan guarantee program pushes capital away from the start-ups and entrepreneurs that often have the most innovative ideas. We need to be opening doors for these small innovators – not closing them by pushing investors towards federally backed, risk-free investments.
Additionally, taxpayers often end up paying higher prices for their power because of federal government meddling in the energy market. For example, when the DOE provided a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to the Ivanpah solar project in California, the state mandated the use of renewable power, and utilities entered into contracts to buy power from the DOE-backed facility. Unfortunately, the ratepayers in Southern California will now pay two to five times more for power generated by this facility in addition to being stuck with the bill if the project fails and goes into default.
The truth is, when the DOE provides loan guarantees, there is no benefit for the taxpayer even if the guaranteed loan is paid in full.
Regular Americans take on the liability of the full loan, they don’t see a return, and can end up paying more for their electricity if the project is actually built.
The DOE loan guarantee program is just another way the federal government picks winners and losers in the energy market. It doesn’t guarantee innovation or cost savings, and it doesn’t guarantee access to capital for the next generation of energy technology. The only thing guaranteed for the taxpayer is extra cost and extra risk.
It’s our responsibility in this Committee to examine Department of Energy programs, and ensure our limited resources prioritize the kind of research and science facilities that open doors for all kinds of innovators.
The Department can’t prioritize the basic research it does best when it’s playing venture capitalist.
Therefore, I think we need to take a hard look at the DOE loan guarantee program, and determine whether it’s an appropriate way to spend federal research dollars.
In my opinion, and in the testimony you’ll hear today, the American people would be better served if the federal government stopped picking winners and losers, focused on research and development, and let the market drive investment for energy innovation.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS):
“The legacy left behind by Justice Antonin Scalia is rooted in a deep respect and understanding of the United States’ most important legal document – the Constitution. I applaud President Trump’s thoughtful and measured nomination. Judge Gorsuch has an impeccable legal mind with an unmatched pedigree. I am confident he will faithfully follow the Constitution, and protect the pillars of our democracy for decades to come.”
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood), Energy Subcommittee Chairman, spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 589, The Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act. This important legislation provides the Department of Energy with policy direction on basic science research, nuclear energy R&D, and research coordination and priorities, as well as important reforms to streamline national lab management.
Click here to watch the speech.
“Today, the House passed H.R. 589, The Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act, by unanimous consent. This bipartisan bill prioritizes fundamental research and development programs at the Department of Energy (DOE) allowing America to maintain our nuclear capabilities and continue to develop cutting edge technology here at home. The measure directs DOE to prioritize federal R&D infrastructure that enables the private sector to invest in advance nuclear reactor technologies and provides a clear path forward to attract private investment for prototype development at DOE labs.
I am proud to have my language from H.R. 431, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, included in this bill as Title IV. Title IV is vital to ensure this important research and development is signed into law. We cannot afford to miss the economic opportunity provided by next generation nuclear technology.”
(Washington, D.C.) – On January 5, the United States House of Representatives voted on House Resolution 11, Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes. The resolution passed by a vote of 342 to 80. Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood), a member of the Foreign Affairs committee, issued the following statement:
“In choosing to abstain from the Security Council’s resolution, which intentionally and unfairly targets Israel, the Administration once again showed cowardice instead of strength; abandonment instead of loyalty. The UN resolution places blame for the current state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinian Authority entirely on Israel, making a peaceful two-state solution even more difficult to achieve. The Administration’s actions on December 23 broke with a decades-old tradition of vetoing any one-sided, anti-Israeli actions. My House colleagues and I acted today to show Israel that our commitment to her well-being is unwavering, and that we are her committed ally.”Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on the recent passing of former Senator and Astronaut John Glenn:
“While John Glenn may have passed surrounded by his family, he will forever be immortalized in our history books as a pioneer of space, and the first American to orbit the Earth. John Glenn was a true American hero, who served our country in the military, in space and in Congress. My sincerest sympathies are with the Glenn family. Now, John Glenn may finally reach beyond the moon to stand in the presence of God.”Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on the passage of S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act:
“I am pleased to announce that the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act includes two provisions that will greatly benefit Texas Congressional District 14. The first provision is language from H.R 5246, legislation that I introduced to remove the Federal claim to navigational servitude for a parcel of land in Texas City known as Shoal Point. This will allow for the future development of Shoal Point and growth of the Texas Gulf Coast. The WIIN Act also includes language from H.R. 5225, The COAST Act, legislation that I introduced to address concerns regarding the U.S. Army Corps’ timeline to complete the Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study. It is critical that we expedite the completion of the Army Corps’ study that will generate the coastal storm surge protection projects necessary to protect our state against the next big storm. Among the great news for our district, this bill will also provide a solid foundation for President-Elect Trump when addressing the needs of our ports, waterways, and infrastructure in his first 100 days.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 5982, the Midnight Rules Relief Act:
“Since the President took office in 2008, we have seen nearly 3,000 new regulations costing taxpayers $850 million and thousands of jobs. The Midnight Rules Relief Act is a smart solution that will empower Congress to take action against a multitude of regulations the Obama Administration may attempt to pass between now and November 21. The President has done enough, it’s time for him to pack up and bid adieu to the relentless regulations and rules hurting our job creators and hard-working taxpayers. It’s time to put America first.”
Current procedure allows Congress to consider only one regulation at a time. The Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982) will allow Congress to consider a block of regulations that federal agencies have submitted for congressional review by November 21, 60 days before the inauguration of the next President.
Note: H.R. 5982 was combined with H.R. 5711, making it H.Res. 591 for the rule, which passed by 231-181.
H.R. 5711 - will prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from authorizing certain transactions by a U.S. financial institution in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
H.R. 5982 passed by 240 - 179.
H.R. 5711 passed by 243-174.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 6297, the Iran Sanctions Extension Act:
“Since the Iran Nuclear Deal was irresponsibly negotiated and agreed to by the current President and his Administration, Iran has violated the deal multiple times. Most recently, Iran breached the agreement by exceeding a limit on its heavy water stockpile, according to the United Nations. Iran has made it clear that they do not intend to honor their word. The extension of these sanctions is a just response to Iran’s failure to abide by the agreement laid out by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia.”
The Iran Sanctions Extension Act is a reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 through 2026, which will allow trade, energy, defense and banking industry sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missile tests and human rights abuses.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood) released the following statement on Department of Transportation’s recent grant notification for Jefferson County. The Jack Brooks Regional Airport will be the beneficiary of this $2,474,000.00 grant in order to rehabilitate their taxiway.
“I am very pleased that this grant award will go to an important rehabilitation project at Jack Brooks Regional Airport. The rehabilitation of the airport’s taxiway will greatly benefit Jefferson County residents who use the airport to connect with the rest of our state and nation.”
510 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Randy Weber is a public servant, proven conservative and successful small business owner representing the 14th District of Texas.
Weber is a member of the Science, Space and Technology committee as well as the House Foreign Affairs committee. He holds leadership roles on both committees: Vice Chair of the Energy subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations subcommittee.
For the past 40 years, Randy Weber has called the Gulf Coast home – a place to start a family and build a business. Although juggling work and family takes great amounts of time and effort, Weber makes time to be an active member of his church and community.
Weber built his air conditioning company, Weber’s Air & Heat, in 1981 from scratch, and grew his business by using, what his grandfather used to call, ‘good old-fashion Texas horse sense and a strong work ethic.’ Like others who have successfully moved from business to public service, it is Weber’s real-world experience in the private sector that underpins his commitment to lower taxes, his contempt for wasteful spending and his firm dedication to better schools.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Weber served four years in the Texas State House. During his tenure, Weber served on the committees of Environmental Regulation, Public Education, and as Vice Chair of Border and Intergovernmental Affairs.
As the Vice Chair of the Energy subcommittee of Science, Space, and Technology, Randy Weber has been a leader in the effort to unleash the energy industry. On May 22, Weber’s first amendment passed the House floor, this amendment incorporates the scientific findings to provide further reason why the Keystone XL Pipeline permits should be approved.
While serving at the Texas House, Randy Weber authored landmark legislation to combat human trafficking and protect women, young girls and boys – some as young as 12 years old. On the House Foreign Affairs committee, Weber is continuing the fight against human trafficking, as well as, co-sponsoring legislation to strengthen our foreign policies and relationship with our allies across the globe.
As a freshman member of Congress, Weber is committed to advocating for America’s job creators and hardworking families. He understands that lower taxes and less government mandates will help relieve taxpayers’ tightened purse strings and allow job creators to cultivate and grow their business in a more stable environment.
Weber has lived in a 20-mile radius for all his life, and has been married to Brenda Weber, a retired schoolteacher, for over 37 years. He is a graduate of Alvin Community College and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Randy and Brenda have three children and six wonderful grandchildren.
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