(House of Representatives - May 18, 2016)

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[Pages H2732-H2734]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


                             General Leave

  Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and insert extraneous material on H.R. 4909.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 735 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, 
H.R. 4909.
  Will the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Collins) kindly resume the 

                              {time}  1521

                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 4909) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2017 
for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military 
construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal 
year, and for other purposes, with Mr. Collins of Georgia (Acting 
Chair) in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, 
amendment No. 14 printed in part B of House Report 114-569 pursuant to 
House Resolution 732 offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) had 
been disposed of.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 735, no further amendment to the bill, 
as amended, shall be in order except those printed in House Report 114-
571 and amendments en bloc described in section 3 of House Resolution 
  Each further amendment printed in the report shall be considered only 
in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member 
designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be 
debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and 
controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to 
amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the 
  It shall be in order at any time for the chair of the Committee on 
Armed Services or his designee to offer amendments en bloc consisting 
of amendments printed in the report not earlier disposed of. Amendments 
en bloc shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for 20 minutes 
equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member 
of the Committee on Armed Services or their designees, shall not be 
subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division 
of the question.

                  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Buck

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 
printed in House Report 114-571.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of subtitle B of title III, add the following 
     new section:


       (a) Cost Competitiveness Requirement.--
       (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary of Defense shall not purchase alternative 
     energy unless such energy is equivalent to conventional 
     energy in terms of cost and capabilities.
       (2) Cost calculation.--The cost of each energy source 
     described in paragraph (1) shall be calculated on a pre-tax 
     basis in terms of life-cycle cost. Such calculation shall 
     take into account--
       (A) all associated Federal grants, subsidies and tax 
     incentives applied from the point of production to 
       (B) fixed and variable operations and maintenance costs; 

[[Page H2733]]

       (C) in the case of fuel, fully burdened costs, including 
     all associated transportation and security from the point of 
     purchase to delivery to the end user.
       (b) Prohibition on Renewable Energy Mandates.--None of the 
     funds authorized to be appropriated this Act or otherwise 
     made available for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of 
     Defense shall be used to carry out any provision of law that 
     requires the Department of Defense--
       (1) to consume renewable energy, unless such energy meets 
     the requirements of subsection (a); or
       (2) to reduce the overall amount of energy consumed by the 

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 735, the gentleman 
from Colorado (Mr. Buck) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak 
about this amendment to the 2017 NDAA.
  Since taking office in 2009, President Obama's administration has 
forced its green energy agenda on the American people despite the 
devastating costs.
  For our military, this means a mandate to purchase renewable energy 
and to incorporate climate change into almost every aspect of training, 
regardless of cost or efficiency. As you might imagine, these mandates 
result in some absurd wastes of money. Every cent spent by the 
Department of Defense on the incorporation of the administration's 
climate change agenda is a cent lost for the defense of the American 
  The U.S. military should be focused on defending American citizens, 
not serving as a playground for the green energy movement. Moreover, 
spending the American people's tax dollars on crony capitalism is 
despicable. Renewable energy should be free to compete in the energy 
marketplace. American families shouldn't be asked to subsidize costly, 
inefficient, and uncompetitive green energy with their hard-earned tax 
  My amendment ends this wasteful and dangerous practice; it prohibits 
renewable energy mandates placed on the Department of Defense; and 
ensures that every unit of energy our military purchases is the most 
cost-effective option available.
  I ask for support on this amendment.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I claim the time in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Stefanik.)
  Ms. STEFANIK. Mr. Chair, I stand today opposed to this amendment, as 
the representative of Fort Drum, an Army post that is 100 percent 
energy-independent and self-sustainable, relying solely on biomass 
  Unfortunately, this amendment would impede military facilities, like 
Drum, from continuing to pursue energy solutions that enhance national 
security, training capabilities, and operational flexibility.
  Fort Drum and the north country serve as models for operating 
government facilities more efficiently, where ReEnergy, our alternative 
partner, positively affects the Army and has created 300-plus jobs 
throughout our community.
  Providing our military with resilient energy ensures our 
servicemembers remain able to respond to any threats at any time. DOD's 
use of alternative energy strengthens their ability to conduct 
combative operations, humanitarian response, and protects our national 
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment which would 
have a detrimental effect on alternative energy technologies that make 
our troops safer, increases combat effectiveness, and severely 
undercuts programs like those at Fort Drum.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Peters), a member of the Armed Services 
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. Chairman, I am also opposed to this amendment.
  The DOD's employment of alternative energy is not about hugging 
trees; it is about improving our mission capabilities and saving lives.
  The military's investments in alternative energy technologies not 
only make our troops safer and increase combat effectiveness, but they 
also reap government energy savings. Renewable energy systems reduce 
our reliance on foreign oil and have saved lives by cutting down on 
refueling trips in the battlefields.
  Around 3,000 American soldiers were killed or wounded in Afghanistan 
while protecting fuel convoys. The military is already adopting 
cutting-edge renewable energy technologies, like transportable solar 
panels and backpacks used by marines to generate electricity.
  Last August, I was at Naval Base Coronado when the Navy signed the 
largest renewable energy purchase by the Federal Government in history. 
The project will provide 210 megawatts of energy at an estimated 
savings of $90 million over the length of the contract.
  Since 2009, the department estimates that they have saved over $1 
billion through renewable energy projects on installations.
  As we consider how to allocate the limited resources we have to 
support our servicemembers and keep Americans safe, it is 
counterproductive at best to prohibit the military from using funds on 
cost-saving alternative sources of energy and redirecting it toward 
mission priorities. A 21st century military with the capability to 
counter new and dynamic threats cannot be powered by the energy of 
  Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose this amendment.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposition.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, I appreciate the gentleman's support of this 
amendment and not opposition to this amendment. This amendment simply 
says that the military must determine the most cost-effective method. 
It does not ban renewables at all.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Gibson.)
  Mr. GIBSON. I thank the ranking member and appreciate his leadership.
  Mr. Chair, I am sure that the gentleman from Colorado has the best 
intentions. And, with respect, I ask him to withdraw the amendment 
because it is very problematic, as it is currently worded, prohibiting 
the reduction of energy consumption. I mean, this is important not only 
in terms of savings itself but, quite candidly, for saving lives.
  After four combat tours in Iraq, we found any way possible to reduce 
the amount of convoys to go forward into our most forward positions and 
outposts because we knew every time that we were on the road, we could 
be at risk; we could lose lives.
  I appreciate the effort to save money. And I think that if the 
gentleman withdraws the amendment and works with the committee, I am 
sure that we can find a way to move forward on that score.
  But, as Ms. Stefanik mentioned, her post at Fort Drum really is 
reliant on--or is certainly benefiting from this biomass endeavor that 
is right there at Fort Drum.
  So I want to thank Mr. Smith for yielding me the time, and I 
certainly respect to the gentleman who offered the amendment.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Minnesota (Mr. Walz).
  Mr. WALZ. Mr. Chairman, I join my colleagues, national security 
experts, military leaders, and America's energy producers, and rise in 
strong opposition to this amendment.
  The Department of Defense's use of alternative energy as accelerated 
in recent years and strengthened the military's ability to conduct 
combat operations, humanitarian response, and homeland defense.

                              {time}  1530

  In short, it has improved the readiness of the Armed Forces to 
protect freedom overseas. DOD is the largest consumer of energy in the 
world, 117 million barrels of oil. Every 25 cent increase in a gallon 
of gas costs $1 billion to the American taxpayers and $1 billion less 
to the troops.
  DOD's fuel costs from 2005 to 2011 were so volatile, the costs went 
from to $4.5 billion to $17.3 billion, even though we reduced our usage 
by 4 percent. An example of this is the U.S. Pacific Fleet in 2012 
faced a $200 million budget

[[Page H2734]]

gap that had to be filled by taking money from elsewhere because of 
rising fuel costs.
  This willingness to not look at all American homegrown energy and 
security is simply wrongheaded. And the idea that it costs more to do 
this--it costs $83 billion more to protect shipping oil coming from 
  I ask my colleagues to resist this amendment.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Chair, I yield myself the balance of the 
  I agree with my colleagues, three of whom have served in the military 
and understand the need for this.
  This is an investment. This is an investment in alternatives. If we 
are tied to oil, tied to fossil fuels, and have no alternative--right 
now they are cheap, but then they go up in costs. And they are also far 
more difficult to get into the field, as Mr. Gibson pointed out. This 
is an investment to give us the alternatives that we need.
  Nothing is more important to the success of a military--past the 
people who serve--than the ability to get the fuel they need, whatever 
form it comes in. This is an investment in developing much-needed 
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, the fact that this amendment requires the 
military to choose the most cost-effective energy source allows the 
military to spend its money on those priorities, rather than on energy.
  I would ask my colleagues to support this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Buck).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. BUCK. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Colorado 
will be postponed.
  The Committee will rise informally.
  The Speaker pro tempore (Mr. LaMalfa) assumed the chair.