McConnell moves to wrap up energy appropriations bill

Haiyun Jiang

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is moving the Senate toward wrapping up its first appropriations bill of the year.  

The Senate Republican leader filed cloture Monday on the energy funding bill and a substitute amendment. The move sets up an initial procedural vote for Wednesday, unless lawmakers can get a deal to speed up their work. 
{mosads}Leadership is hoping to clear the energy and water appropriations bill through the upper chamber this week. 
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said on Monday evening that senators are making “good progress” on the legislation. 
“We hope to continue to do that and wrap the bill up soon,” added Alexander, who has been managing the appropriations bill for Republicans. 
Senators approved an amendment from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Monday evening and are currently scheduled to vote on three additional amendments Tuesday morning. 
Alexander and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also cleared eight amendments by voice vote Monday. 
While the funding bill has managed to avoid partisan landmines in the Senate, it’s garnered a veto threat from the White House. 
“The bill underfunds critical energy research and development activities and fails to put us on an achievable path toward doubling clean energy research and development by [Fiscal Year] 2021,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. 

The Senate’s fiscal 2017 bill increases funding by $355 million over 2016 levels. That includes a $1.163 billion increase for the Department of Energy’s defense-related programs but an $808 million decrease for the nondefense portions of the bill.

Democrats, however, have given no indication they’re willing to oppose the legislation because of the White House’s concerns. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), referring to the bipartisan support for the bill, said that with “continued cooperation we’ll have an opportunity to pass the first of these bills on the floor this week.” 

The Senate Republican leader has repeatedly said his top goal for 2016 is to pass the 12 appropriations bills.

If the Senate passes the legislation, it will still need to be merged with a House-version of the bill. House lawmakers can’t take up spending bills until May 15 unless they first pass a budget.

Tags Dianne Feinstein Lamar Alexander Mitch McConnell Patty Murray

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