The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation provides annual funding for national defense nuclear weapons activities, the Army Corps of Engineers, various programs under the Department of Energy, and other related agencies.
The bill totals $30.4 billion -- a cut of $2.9 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and a reduction of $4.1 billion compared to the President's request. This level is approximately $700 million below the level caused by sequestration for these programs.
"In these tight budget times, sacrifices must be made to safeguard programs critical to the nation's security and well-being. This bill reflects these hard choices, prioritizing funding to maintain our nuclear weapons and ensure the safety and readiness of the nation's nuclear stockpile, and to invest in essential infrastructure projects to enhance safety and encourage commerce. This is a good bill that guarantees these programs are maintained, while recognizing current budget constraints," Chairman Rogers said.
Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen also commented on the importance of the bill:
"This is a fiscally conservative bill that funds critical national security, jobs, and infrastructure programs," Chairman Frelinghuysen said. "In a challenging fiscal environment, we have to prioritize funding, and the Subcommittee chose to address the readiness and safety of the nation's nuclear stockpile and to invest in critical infrastructure projects to protect lives and property and support economic growth."
A summary of the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bill follows:
The legislation includes a total of $30.4 billion -- a cut of $2.9 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and a reduction of $4.1 billion compared to the President's request.
The bill prioritizes funding for our national security, providing increases for nuclear weapons programs above fiscal year 2013. The bill also protects funding for critical national and regional infrastructure projects through the Army Corps of Engineers, which handle commerce valued at more than $1.7 trillion annually; nuclear environmental site clean-up; and programs to encourage economic competitiveness. To meet these needs, the legislation contains strategic and targeted reductions from lower-priority or unnecessary programs, including many within the Department of Energy (DOE).
Nuclear Security -- The bill provides a total of $11.3 billion for DOE's nuclear weapons security programs, including Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. This is a $235 million (-2%) reduction from the fiscal year 2013 level, and an increase of approximately $661 million (+6%) compared to the sequestration level for these programs. This critical national defense funding will allow the U.S. to uphold its nuclear deterrence posture, and ensure that the nation is prepared for current and future nuclear threats by maintaining the safety and readiness of our nuclear stockpile.
This bill includes $7.7 billion for Weapons Activities and $1.1 billion for Nuclear Reactors -- both increases above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level -- and $2.1 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation -- a decrease of $334 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
Army Corps of Engineers -- The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $4.9 billion, a decrease of $104 million (-2%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $50 million above the President's budget request.
The bill focuses funding on navigation and flood control activities that will have an immediate impact on job creation and the economy, and ensure our waterways stay open for business. Within the total, the bill provides $285 million for essential flood control and navigation projects, which the Corps will prioritize. This funding will help address navigation and flood control needs across the country, while improving transparency and maintaining Congressional authority over budget decisions.
The legislation also advances American competitiveness and export ability by providing $2 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The bill supports public health and safety by funding flood and storm damage reduction activities at $1.4 billion -- including $274 million for the most critical dam safety improvements.
Environmental Cleanup -- Included in the legislation is $5.5 billion for environmental management activities, $243 million (-4%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, and an increase of approximately $185 million (+3.5%) compared to the sequestration level. This amount includes $4.75 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to safely clean sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production.
Energy Programs -- Funding for energy programs within the Department of Energy (DOE) is cut by $1.4 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The bill prioritizes this funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and growth, and that help advance the nation's goal of an all of the above solution to energy independence.
The bill includes $450 million for research and development to advanced coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy technologies, which will help the country make greater use of our rich natural energy resources and help keep down energy costs. The bill also includes $656 million for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities to further the next generation of economically beneficial nuclear power options while ensuring the safety and longevity of our current plants. In addition, the legislation provides $390 million in funding for programs that can help address rising gas prices.
To focus funding on those energy resources upon which the country currently relies, renewable energy programs are funded at $983 million -- a cut by $911 million (-50%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program is reduced by $215 million (-81%).
Science Research -- The bill includes $4.7 billion for science research -- a cut of $223 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. This funding will help strengthen the nation's science and technology innovation by supporting basic energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources. Within this amount, the bill restores many of the cuts to the fusion energy program that the President had proposed. This basic research will lay the groundwork for more efficient and practical domestic energy solutions to help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and help promote future growth in American businesses and industries.
Bureau of Reclamation - The legislation contains $965 million -- $104 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $85 million below the President's request-- for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation. This funding is intended to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of western states.
Yucca Mountain -- The bill continues Congressional efforts to roll back the Obama Administration's politically motivated Yucca Mountain policy that runs contrary to the will of the Congress and the American people. In this vein, the bill provides $25 million to support Yucca Mountain activities to continue the viability of the program for the future.