Democrats have long been leading the fight to make America energy independent, and with gas prices now hovering around $3.00 a gallon and turmoil with oil-rich countries like Iran on the front page of every newspaper in the country, this goal is as vital to our national security and economic security as ever. That is why I, along with Reps. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Democratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE and Bart Gordon, will offer an amendment to the FY07 Department of Defense Authorization Bill today that would shift over $300 million in excess funds from the $9.1 billion proposed for ballistic missile defense programs. The amendment would authorize $250 million for the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy in order to foster the development of cutting-edge energy technology.

ARPA-E, as embodied in a bill by Rep. Gordon and in the Democrats' Innovation Agenda, would reduce energy imports from foreign sources by 20% within 10 years. In addition, the amendment would require the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy, and Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress with an in-depth report on the strategic implications or our increasing dependence on foreign oil. It also includes provisions offered by Rep. Udall, and rejected by Republicans, last week in committee to help increase DoD's use of alternative fuels, as DoD is the largest single buyer of fuel in America.

Achieving energy independence is one of Democrats' top priorities, and I am hopeful that this important amendment will be made in order. Throughout our history, Americans have met every challenge we have faced, and I am confident that if we focus on energy independence, America will develop the technology to free our country from foreign oil and protect our environment for generations to come.