Perry ‘can’t answer’ whether Trump plans DOE cuts

Perry ‘can’t answer’ whether Trump plans DOE cuts
© Greg Nash

Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry wouldn’t say Thursday whether President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpClinton takes swipe at 'false equivalency' in media coverage of 2016 election Trump asked Netanyahu if he actually cares about peace: report Official: Trump to urge North Korea to dismantle nuclear program in return for sanctions relief MORE is planning large cuts to the Department of Energy (DOE).

Two Democratic members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee asked Perry at his confirmation hearing to confirm a report that morning in The Hill regarding cuts to physics, computing, energy efficiency, fossil energy and more at DOE.

Perry cautioned that the story may not be true.

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“I think all of us, having been in the business we’ve been in for the years that we have, know that there are always a lot of statements. Sometimes, just because it's on the internet, it's not true,” Perry told Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug Senators press administration on mental health parity Progressive groups launch M midterm initiative in three battleground states MORE (D-Mich.) regarding her concerns about cuts to programs that are important to her state.

“I can't answer whether that's true or not,” Perry continued, adding that he has a “commitment to make sound science, economic science, connected together.”

Perry later joked with Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFormer Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii dies at 93 Dems to top DOJ officials: Publicly promise not to interfere in Mueller's probe Zinke defends use of Japanese word: How could saying good morning 'be bad'? MORE (D-Hawaii) about the news report, connecting it to the time in 2011 when he forgot that he wanted to eliminate the DOE.

“Well, senator, maybe they’ll have the same experience I had and forget that they said that,” he said of the Trump officials who are planning the cuts, eliciting laughs.

Trump officials told The Hill that the president-elect's team is planning to follow closely a Heritage Foundation blueprint regarding dramatic cuts to numerous federal agencies.

That blueprint includes freezing nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research at 2008 levels and eliminating the offices of electricity, fossil energy and energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The funding cuts would require buy-in from Congress to enact.