Democrats' draft climate bill charts path to carbon neutrality by 2050
Rick Perry misunderstood Energy Secretary job: report
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) misunderstood the administration post that President-elect Donald Trump nominated him for, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
In a report getting attention on social media, the Times said that Perry accepted the nomination to be Energy secretary "believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state."
"In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing - that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States' nuclear arsenal" the Times continued.
But Michael McKenna, who at one point was part of Trump's transition team for the Energy Department, told the newspaper Perry is educating himself.
"If you asked him on that first day he said yes, he would have said, 'I want to be an advocate for energy,'" McKenna said.
"If you asked him now, he'd say, 'I'm serious about the challenges facing the nuclear complex.' It's been a learning curve."
A huge chunk of the Department of Energy's $30 billion budget - two-thirds, the Times reports - is dedicated to developing, maintaining, refurbishing and safely keep the nation's nuclear stockpile; combatting nuclear proliferation and maintaining and rebuilding nuclear production facilities. The department also oversees national labs "that are considered the crown jewels of government science" the Times added.
Perry during his 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination said he wanted to get rid of the Energy Department.
The report notes that Perry, while governor of Texas, was behind the effort to bring a facility for nuclear waste to the Lone Star State.
"No other state has licensed a nuclear waste facility like this, and it was all done on Governor Perry's watch," Charles McDonald, a spokesman for the private company that was to run the facility, told the newspaper. "He really understands this stuff."