Monday, March 13, 2017

Heritage Foundation Fingerprints All Over White House Energy Budget

The Heritage Foundation has had a huge impact on many of the White House's early proposals, and dozens of the think tank's scholars have either been involved in the presidential transition, joined the Trump team, or provided advice to the administration.

In fact, more than 30 Heritage staffers were on Trump's transition team, the most from any think tank.

Here is more from E&E News about a Heritage scholar who is influencing the White House's energy budget:

When Nick Loris started sketching out budget proposals for the Department of Energy in 2012, he didn't realize his theories would actually go into practice.
Now the 33-year-old Heritage Foundation policy analyst's work might be the key to the Trump administration's energy strategy.
"It's fun," said Loris, an energy and environmental policy fellow at the conservative Washington-based think tank. "We certainly are writing what we're doing for a purpose, and that's to, in terms of energy, create a more market-oriented energy economy that works more efficiently and protects taxpayer dollars and rewards innovation."
The Heritage Foundation is poised to have a major role in President Trump's federal budget, and its small-government focus means big cuts are in store across federal agencies.
More than 30 Heritage staffers were part of the Trump transition team, and several now work at the White House, including Loris' boss at Heritage, Paul Winfree. Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the president of the Heritage Foundation, met with Trump at the White House this week.
Since his first foray into DOE's budget, he has co-authored several policy papers for Heritage, slicing DOE's close-to-$30-billion budget with his razor-thin view of the role of government.
In the Heritage Foundation's 137-page "Blueprint for Reform" published last year, meant as a comprehensive budget proposal for a new administration, Loris and his co-authors' razor became a chain saw, eliminating DOE's offices of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Fossil Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Nuclear Energy.
The White House Office of Management and Budget pushed back on Heritage's role and insisted that staffers are writing a budget from scratch.

The article goes on to note that people at the US Department of Energy are taking Heritage Foundation's "Blueprint" very seriously, and are speaking of it in "hushed tones."  [More on the Blueprint can be found in this previous Think Tank Watch post.]

It also notes that the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), "an innovation think tank that has collaborated with the Heritage Foundation and Center for American Progress (CAP) on a plan to reform national laboratories," has issued a report challenging some aspects of the Blueprint.

Mr. Loris is the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy with the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform at the Heritage Foundation.  His biography and writings can be found here.

Here is more on how former Heritage scholar Paul Winfree (mentioned above) is helping draft President's Trump first budget.

Update: Here is a piece by Zaid Jilani entitled "Trump the Outsider Outsources His Budget to Insider Think Tank."