Rick Perry Vows To Defend Energy Department From Trump

Donald Trump's nominee for energy secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, promised senators during his confirmation hearing Thursday morning that he would defend the Energy Department from budget cuts reportedly favored by his prospective boss.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) called the proposed cuts, reported this morning in The Hill, "absolutely nuts" and asked Perry, "Will you commit to me that you're going to be lionhearted in this endeavor to protect this agency? Because they're cutting the legs out from under you."
Perry replied, "Senator, I have a rather interesting background, not unlike yours, of defending budgets, both from those who are in the know and sometimes people who—"
"It's hard for me to believe," King interrupted, "that the people who are recommending these cuts are in any kind of know."
"I'll—uh—allow your statement to stand," Perry said.
The budget cuts are being prepared by Trump's team, The Hill reported, and closely follow a blueprint the conservative Heritage Foundation has advocated for several years: "At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."
Earlier in the hearing, Perry joked that he hoped the Trump team would forget about the cuts, a reference to Perry's short-lived 2011 presidential campaign, when he forgot the name of one of the departments he wanted to eliminate:
“Maybe they’ll have the same experience I had and forget they said that," Perry said to laughter.
That department turned out to be Energy, the one he now seems likely to lead, considering the jovial and friendly hearing he is enjoying today. He regrets calling for elimination of the department, he told senators.
Watch Rick Perry's confirmation hearing live:

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