House turns away proposals to cut nuclear maintenance

One of the amendments to the bill, H.R. 2609, would cut the $7.5 billion weapons activities fund in the bill by $233 million, and use that money to boost science research funding. But this proposal from Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) was rejected 156-266.

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Another from Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) sought to cut $329 million from weapons activities and use it to fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, on the development of cutting edge energy technology. But the House killed this in a 155-266 vote.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) proposed cutting $1.2 million from weapons activities to boost the Department of Energy's administration fund, but this was also rejected 184-238.

Democrats have argued all week that the bill focuses too heavily on maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile, at the expense of programs that fund energy efficiency technology and other research. Those cuts — which reflect an overall 9 percent cut to the bill compared to 2013 — has led to a warning that President Obama would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The House also rejected a proposal from Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) to increase the weapons activities account by $14 million, and cutting defense nuclear nonproliferation. This proposal was defeated 86-338.

An amendment from Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) to cut $23.7 million in additional funding for the B-61 nuclear bomb was also defeated, 196-227. Quigley argued on Tuesday that this money was giving the government over and above what it requested for 2014.

Finally, the House killed a proposal from Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) to cut $6 million from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program. Members voted down this idea 165-252.

Once the House returns from its break this afternoon, expect more votes on other amendments, and then late-night debate on amendments that have not been addressed yet.

Several other amendments were disposed of by voice vote on Wednesday, from:

— Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), prohibiting the use of funds for paying salaries to presidential recess appointees until they are confirmed by the Senate. Passed in a voice vote.

— Steve Scalise (R-La.), prohibiting the use of funds by the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisiana to enforce a rule requiring developers to boost efforts to mitigate the environmental impacts of those projects, using what's known as the Modified Charlestown Method. Passed in voice vote.

— Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), prohibiting the use of funds for relocating or consolidating personnel or resources of the Buffalo and Chicago District Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. Accepted in a voice vote.

— Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), prohibiting the use of funds to create a federal campaign on alternative energy strategies and energy efficiency. Accepted in a voice vote.

— Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), prohibiting companies charged with a crime from contracting with the federal government. Accepted in a voice vote.

— John Barrow (D-Ga.), blocking the Department of Energy from buying any new vehicles. Rejected in voice vote.

— Steve Scalise (R-La.), moving $2 million from DOE's administration account to the Corps of Engineers construction budget. Accepted in voice vote.