House funds nuclear security programs with 14th 'mini' spending bill


It's the latest bill passed by the House to fund a part of the government, and comes as House Republicans are negotiating with President Obama over an end to the stalemate.

House GOP leaders met with Obama on Thursday on how to re-open the government and deal with the raising the debt ceiling. But with no immediate agreement in sight, Republicans seem likely to continue passing these "mini" spending measures in the hopes of mitigating the effect of the shutdown.

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GOP members defended their bill today as a way to fund activities at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that are critical to the national defense. The NNSA is an agency organized under the Department of Energy.

"The National Nuclear Security Administration is responsible for maintaining our nuclear deterrent, securing vulnerable nuclear materials around the world to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, and supporting our Navy's nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers," said Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenHouse panel advances 5B defense bill Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill House committee unveils 5 billion defense appropriations bill MORE (R-N.J.), the bill's sponsor.

Frelinghuysen said some of these missions are being sustained under the shutdown by using funding from fiscal 2013. But he said the funding situation is getting dire for some offices.

"While most of the Department of Energy's science and energy laboratories have enough carryover funding to operate through November, the national security laboratories and stockpile protection sites of the NNSA are not in the same position," he said.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the resolution would fund the NNSA at an annual rate of $10.6 billion, but only through Dec. 15, the same end-date as the GOP's other narrow spending bills.

Rogers acknowledged that the resolution has a narrow scope, and does not fund other programs typically funded in the annual energy and water spending bill. But he said funding for the NNSA is a "terribly important piece of the government."

As they have all week, Democrats criticized the GOP's piecemeal approach to funding the government, and said the bill shorts other energy programs by billions of dollars.

"This bill does nothing to address a number of other critical energy and water priorities, including the Army Corps of Engineers; the Department of Energy's Office of Science, ARPA-E; and the Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for cleaning up five decades worth of weapons development and nuclear energy research," said House Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said the cost of the full appropriations bill on energy and water should be about $31.6 billion, which means the GOP's bill is short about $20 billion. She said the failure to fund energy research programs would put the U.S. behind other countries in the race to develop new energy sources.

"Our Republic will not compete in the 21st Century and beyond if we further reduce investments in energy and cede our energy future to other countries," she said.  

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