Energy and water spending bill up in House next week

"The President, in his State of the Union speech, emphasized the importance of continued work on clean energy technology research and development for American competitiveness," the House Appropriations Committee said in its report accompanying the bill.

"The Committee strongly agrees," it said. "However, the Committee was concerned to see very little in the President's request to justify nearly $2 billion in increased funding to support the President's pledges. Simply increasing funding for a worthy objective does not in itself constitute a success."

That report also acknowledged that the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other agencies funded by the bill help support the U.S. economy. However, it added that the focus needs to be on the private sector in light of the growing fiscal crisis.

"While the Committee remains supportive of their work, it is increasingly concerned that the balance between private sector innovation and public sector intervention has tilted too much toward the public sector," it said.

The bill funds covered agencies $30.6 billion, a little more than $1 billion lower than the FY 2011 level.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be funded at $4.8 billion, just $88 million lower than FY 2011.

The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation would be funded at $934 million, down $161 million.

The Department of Energy would be given $24.7 billion, down $850 million. Within DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration would be funded at $10.6 billion, a $76 million increase.

Independent agencies would get $267 million. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would get most of that, $137 million.

Also next week, the House is expected to take up a bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and help keep it financially viable.

H.R. 1309 would begin to phase in higher flood insurance risk premiums and reduce subsidies to properties that have made repeat flood insurance claims. The NFIP will expire on Sept. 30.