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Reps. Tonko, Beyer, Eshoo Lead Call for Trump Admin to Resume Advanced Energy Research

Congressional approval already given for ARPA-E funding

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Washington, May 23, 2017 | comments
“The Trump Administration’s unilateral decision to hold these advanced energy research awards is not just harmful to the local businesses and organizations doing this cutting-edge research in New York and across the nation, it also threatens the separation of powers and exclusive authority of Congress to appropriate funding that is clearly spelled out in our U.S. Constitution. The President and this Administration need to explain why they are withholding these ARPA-E awards and expedite the release of all Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 funding without further delay.” - Rep. Paul Tonko
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WASHINGTONRep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), along with Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice-Ranking Member of the House Science Committee, and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) today led a group of 59 Representatives calling on Energy Secretary Rick Perry to immediately release funds currently withheld to previously-approved projects at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Rep. Tonko responded forcefully, expressing concern over possible violations of the U.S. Constitution: “The Trump Administration’s unilateral decision to hold these advanced energy research awards is not just harmful to the local businesses and organizations doing this cutting-edge research in New York and across the nation, it also threatens the separation of powers and exclusive authority of Congress to appropriate funding that is clearly spelled out in our U.S. Constitution. The President and this Administration need to explain why they are withholding these ARPA-E awards and expedite the release of all Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 funding without further delay.”

The group also pressed Secretary Perry to clarify the Department of Energy’s procedures for approving and funding grants, after Members of Congress from both parties expressed frustration with departmental processes which have recently become opaque and confusing.

The letter reads in part:

“Agencies may not thwart the intent of Congress by withholding or impounding funds directed for a specific purpose. Inhibiting the flow of funds or interfering with the execution of appropriations in the manner directed by Congress is unlawful. This law, the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, was signed into law after President Richard Nixon’s impoundment of appropriated funds.”

The letter was signed by 59 Democratic Representatives. Full text of the letter is available here.

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