The House of Representatives Wednesday passed its FY 2014 Energy & Water bill , funding the Department of Energy (DOE) and other agencies, with limited modifications to the version passed by the Appropriations Committee, and in spite of President Obama’s veto threat .
Amendments included a $15 million shift from solar energy R&D programs to the Bureau of Reclamation, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD); a $9.6 million shift from energy efficiency and renewables R&D to environmental cleanup, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA); a $20 million shift from fossil energy to the Corps of Engineers, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA); and $20 million boost to the ARPA-E budget, sponsored by Adam Schiff (D-CA). Several other proposed amendments that would have increased funding for clean energy R&D, ARPA-E, and Office of Science failed. The bill passed by a 227-198 party-line vote .
Per current AAAS estimates , the previously-reported contours of the bill remain largely in place, with most low-carbon energy technology R&D programs slated for hefty cuts, moderate cuts at the Office of Science, and National Nuclear Administration R&D programs slated for increases. The Fossil Energy R&D program would receive a somewhat smaller but still large increase of 39 percent above FY 2012 levels. In spite of the ARPA-E increase, the agency’s budget would still be slashed by 75 percent below FY 2012. Overall DOE R&D would amount to $10.3 billion, 6.9 percent below FY 2012 levels, 21.3 percent below the President's request, and about even with sequester levels. It is also 16.2 percent below the current Senate figure of $12.3 billion.
Floor action on the Senate version awaits; the committee passed its bill on June 27. As previously noted , the Senate bill is approximately $4 billion higher than the House version and, as with the other bills in play on the Senate side, violates the $967 billion spending cap established under sequestration, whereas the House versions meet this cap. With prospects for a budget conference still dim, it’s unclear how the two parties intend to rectify these differences.
NOTE: We have recently revised our FY13 estimates based on new DOE reporting.
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