Rick Perry's Energy Secretary Confirmation Hearing Underway

But Democrats were not prepared to let him do that. "In case you have may forgotten, you once called for the abolishment of this agency", Sen. Committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) reminded Perry in her opening remarks that he "once called for the abolishment of this agency".

Sen Al Franken, D-Minn., mentioned a Perry visit to his Senate office, and quipped: "Did you enjoy meeting me?"

In 2011, during a Republican primary debate hosted by CNBC, Perry made his infamous "oops" moment while attempting to name the agencies of government he wanted to abolish.

He listed the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education, but failed to recall the third - the Department of Energy.

"That questionnaire went out before I was ever selected", Perry said.

"As a former Air Force pilot during the days of the Cold War, I understand the deterrent value of our nuclear weapons systems, and the vital role they play in keeping the peace", he said. "Thank you so much for coming into my office", Franken said.

The comment and subsequent laughter shut down the questioning. Moniz said last week that he and Perry had discussed the "special role" of the Energy Department's 17 national laboratories and said he trusts that the labs - and scientists generally - will have Perry's "strong support".

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"I believe the climate is changing", he told senators.

He spent much of the hearing walking back a previous pledge he made to eliminate the Department of Energy.

"I am going to protect all of the science", Perry replied. I don't need that information. The headline and top of the story "don't really reflect what I said", McKenna told the conservative outlet. "The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn't compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs", Perry said.

Perry, however, studied "animal husbandry and led cheers at Texas A&M University".

Perry, like Trump's interior secretary pick Rep. Ryan Zinke (R. -Mont.) and secretary of state pick Rex Tillerson, acknowledged climate change as a real issue but didn't elaborate on what action the administration should take to combat it.

"So I have absolutely no doubt that Rick Perry will put forward an America-first energy policy at the Department, and it will help spawn the next great era of American energy". "We truly advocated an all-of-the-above" strategy, he said, and pushed a plan to "develop cleaner fossil fuel technologies "but also renewables". Current Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was the former chairman of M.I.T.'s physics department and oversaw an actual particle accelerator, and former secretary Steven Chu won a Nobel Prize for his work on atomic physics.

Perry's backers point to the statement he released upon being nominated for the energy secretary as evidence he knew what he was getting into.

  • Myrtle Hill