McCaul Bill to Promote U.S. Energy Security Interests Abroad Passes House

Jul 30, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauds the House passage of his legislation: H.R. 5535, the Energy Diplomacy Act.

Congressman McCaul: Advancing America’s energy security is a critical aspect of U.S. foreign policy. Congress must ensure the State Department is properly staffed and authorized to execute strong policies to protect and promote our energy security interests abroad. As energy-rich adversaries such as Iran and Russia are using their energy resources to expand their influence, we need our diplomats on the front lines, promoting reliable American energy.

You can click here or on the video below to watch Congressman McCaul’s remarks on the House Floor supporting his bill.

Below are Congressman McCaul’s remarks as prepared:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my legislation, the Energy Diplomacy Act.

Across the globe, our friends and allies want a stable and reliable supply of American energy.

America, in turn, must actively engage our friends and allies to provide alternatives to energy from rogue regimes.

Look what is happening in Europe.

For over a decade Russia has used their natural gas pipelines flowing into Eastern and Central Europe as a point of leverage over these countries.

Ukraine has been most affected, with Russia turning off their natural gas supply in the winter of 2008, and during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

By twisting a knob, and turning off Ukrainian heat, they were able to exert an outsized amount of influence on Ukraine.

Now, Russia’s proposed “Nord Stream 2” pipeline with Germany further threatens to expand Russia’s energy influence throughout Eastern and Central Europe.

Make no mistake: Russia is a destabilizing regime that constantly exploits the vulnerabilities posed by Europe’s reliance on their natural gas.

The United States must be involved to curb this influence.

Over the past decade the United States has reduced our reliance on foreign sources of energy in order to achieve energy independence.

As a result, we are now exporting energy abroad, including from my home state of Texas.

In fact, in 2015, I helped champion the repeal of the outdated crude oil export ban.  Now, U.S. producers are finding new customers in both Asia and Europe.

This is why I authored the Energy Diplomacy Act.

This legislation elevates the Bureau of Energy Resources at the State Department.

It replaces the International Energy Affairs Coordinator with an Assistant Secretary.  This Secretary will carry out the Department’s functions on behalf of the United States.

It also ensures the State Department is staffed with sufficient personnel to support this mission.

This will empower the State Department to promote and advance a bold U.S. energy diplomacy policy.

As energy-rich adversaries expand their malign influence, and our allies continue to purchase from such states, the United States must project strong energy diplomacy now more than ever.

It is not just Russia whom we must contend with.

One of Iran’s main goals in negotiating their nuclear deal – the JCPOA – was to open up their energy markets to more foreign investment, and to expand their oil exports globally.

Since the U.S. departed from the JCPOA, our European allies and our strategic partner India, are deciding between complying with U.S. sanctions, or ignoring them and buying Iranian oil.

We need our diplomats on the front lines, promoting reliable American energy.

These two circumstances underscore the need for an Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources to project U.S. energy diplomacy throughout the world.

I want to thank Chairman Royce, as well as Ranking Member Engel – an original cosponsor of this bill – for their work in bringing this bill to the Floor.

I yield back the balance of my time.