Partisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke
House energy bill spends $3.6B more than Trump budget
House appropriators on Tuesday introduced a spending bill for federal energy and water departments that spends $3.65 billion more in 2018 than President Trump requested for the agencies.
The bill, which funds the Department of Energy (DOE), nuclear weapons oversight, the Army Corps of Engineers and other departments, would spend $37.56 billion total in 2018, a $209 million cut from current funding levels.
But the measure is a rejection of Trump's budget proposal, which looked to deeply slash spending for the initiatives funded by the legislation.
The House bill would cut funding for several DOE programs, including energy agencies, research, nuclear power and renewable energy programs, though few are close to the cuts proposed by the Trump administration.
Renewable energy research, for instance, is cut by $986 million over current levels, but that is $468 million less than the cuts for which Trump had aimed.
Fossil fuel research offices would receive $635 million under the bill, a $33 million cut compared to the $388 million cut President Trump had requested.
The bill increases funding for the DOE's nuclear weapons security programs and the Army Corps of Engineers. It also contains $150 million to kickstart the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, a priority for Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, but one that has garnered opposition from Nevada officials and lawmakers.
"This bill prioritizes fulfilling our national security needs and maintaining critical investments to support American competitiveness within tight budget caps," Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), the chair of the energy and water appropriations subcommittee, said in a statement.
"It strikes a responsible balance between the modernization and safety of our nuclear weapons, advancing our national infrastructure and strategic investments in basic science and energy R&D."