- A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday advanced a spending bill for the Department of Energy that would impose deep cuts on renewable energy and efficiency programs and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
- The $37.5 billion spending bill would fund DOE at higher levels than President Trump's proposed budget, but would still reduce funding for the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency by about half and impose cuts to nuclear and advanced fossil fuel programs.
- House members told E&E News the push to eliminate ARPA-E came from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, but that funding could be revived in a conference committee, as some Republican senators support the program.
Research and science at the Department of Energy still take a hit under a spending bill being considered in the House, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the White House's proposals.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would be funded at $1.1 billion — about half of this year's budget of $2.1 billion. The Office of Science would receive almost $5.5 billion, largely the same as this year. And the Office of Fossil Energy would be funded at $636 million, about $30 million less than this year.
As in the White House's proposed budget, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy would be eliminated.
The White House's proposed budget included deep cuts to research at DOE, including nearly a 70% cut to the renewables and efficiency office. Like the president's proposal, the House bill would shift funds from offices targeted for cuts to programs focused on nuclear weapons and radioactive waste.
The White House's budget proposal included even deeper cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, slashing its budget by $2.6 billion — a cut of more than 31%. But Senate lawmakers this week told Administrator Scott Pruitt that many of those cuts would not survive the appropriations process.
Reaching agreement on the budget for both agencies could take months, and so far it is not clear where lawmakers will find common ground. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said last week that eliminating ARPA-E would be a mistake, and it is "not what we are going to do."