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 TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland 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 StabenowTrump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan The farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Michigan county investigating ballot shortage in election 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 HironoThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump heads to New York to shore-up GOP districts They knew it would cause lasting harm, and still took children from parents Dem strategist: It's 'far-left thinking' to call for Nielsen's resignation 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.