- The U.S. Senate is considering funding the Department of Energy at $38.4 billion — more than $4 billion ahead of the White House proposal, and with record levels of spending on agencies where President Trump wanted cuts.
- The FY2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill includes $5.55 billion for the Office of Science, and $11.1 billion on energy programs.
- According to Sen, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the budget would provide "record levels of funding" for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which the White House had proposed shutting down.
The Department of Energy appropriations bill being considered by lawmakers looks little like the proposal that Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was defending a month ago. That budget made a lot of "difficult choices," according to Perry, and included wide cuts to science and energy innovation.
On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies approved on a voice vote, a bill to fund DOE and critical infrastructure projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation at $629 million above the 2017 enacted levels.
“This legislation approved today by the Appropriations subcommittee contains record levels of funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to improve our nation’s water infrastructure, the Office of Science, which conducts basic science and energy research, and ARPA-E, which supports transformational, high-impact energy technologies,” Sen. Alexander said in a statement.
Alexander added that he had worked with California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein to develop the bill "in a bipartisan way." The bill includes $6.2 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, almost $200 million above this year and $1.2 billion above the White House proposal.
The subcommittee statement said "rather than accept the administration’s proposal to cut U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funding by 17 percent, the bill includes a responsible level of funding to improve and maintain flood control projects and ensure the viability of national and regional ports and waterways."
Energy Programs took a small hit, with $11.1 billion in proposed funding. That's about $189 million below the 2017 level but $3.6 billion above the President’s request. According to the subcommittee, the bill "prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance an 'all-of-the-above' solution to U.S. energy independence."
Nuclear security, where the White House has focused its DOE priorities, would be funded at $13.7 billion, some $747 million above this year. The bulk of the spending, $10 billion, would go for weapons activities.
Nuclear Energy Research and Development would receive $917 million in funding under the Senate bill, more than $200 million above the White House request. The full Senate Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to mark up the bill this morning.