(The Center Square) – American national security is threatened by President Joe Biden’s “energy spending spree,” U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says.
Under recent spending legislation such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, which both included increased spending and research into more sustainable energy sources, almost $83.6 billion will be going into 71 new department programs at the Department of Energy this year, almost doubling the department’s entire budget from last year of $44.3 billion.
Rodgers, R-Wash., pointed to concerns about an overreliance on supply chains from foreign powers, citing China Russia President Vladimir Putin’s control over Europe’s natural gas supply.
“This is our future if we continue to cede our energy and supply chain security to China,” she said at a Wednesday committee hearing.
The Biden administration says the funding is needed to further move the U.S. toward more renewable energy to combat the impacts of climate change.
But the administration’s green energy agenda “weakens American energy and national security and wastes American taxpayer dollars, which should be going towards supporting American jobs and innovation,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers also called what she says is a lack of transparency on where taxpayer dollars are going, saying “beginning in March of this year, we’ve requested that federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, provide monthly accounting of the funds they received under recent major spending legislation […] To date, we’ve received only one response from the DOE, and it was incomplete. This is unacceptable.”
The announced portfolio of projects from the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains also gave Rodgers concern. The office, created in February 2022, planned to administer $12 billion in projects, with one of the new programs including a $200 million grant to Microvast, Inc., a battery company that performs the bulk of production in China, Rodgers said.
The company’s own filings said that “the PRC Government exerts substantial influence over the manner in which we must conduct our business activities and may intervene, at any time, and with no notice,” she added.
Rodgers said she found it “deeply troubling” that such a grant was approved for a company so influenced by the Chinese government using millions of American taxpayer dollars. The Department had recently decided not to move forward with the grant, but the reasoning for its approval in the first place remains unclear.
“Time and again we’ve requested information and testimony on how this happened, and time and again the Department failed to be accountable and transparent,” Rodgers said.
“It is time for the Department of Energy to start being transparent with this committee and the American people, who deserve every assurance that their tax dollars are not being funneled to China.”