Morning Briefing - May 08, 2019
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May 08, 2019

House Appropriators Envision More Energy and Water Funding for 2020

By ExchangeMonitor

The House of Representatives’ fiscal 2020 Energy and Water appropriations bill that contains the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission budgets will include about 4% more funding than the enacted 2019 bill did, according to spending limits published Tuesday by the House Appropriations Committee.

The total allocation for the 2020 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which funds DOE and other federal agencies, will be just under $46.5 billion, compared with just over $44.5 billion for the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The Energy Department budget — including funding for the nuclear weapon stockpile, legacy nuclear-weapons cleanup, and civilian nuclear waste projects — accounts for most of the annual Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. In 2019, DOE’s roughly $34.5-million budget was more than 75% of the total bill, by funding.

The Appropriations energy and water subcommittee allocation does not specify how much money appropriators will propose spending in 2020 on the various DOE nuclear programs. The subcommittee will decide funding levels in a markup that had yet to be scheduled at deadline for Weapons Complex Morning Briefing.

The Donald Trump administration requested that Congress cut DOE’s 2020 budget by about 10% from the current enacted level, to roughly $31.5 million. The White House’s 2020 budget slashed certain discretionary spending programs — the category that includes all federal programs except mandatory social safety nets — to keep their budgets level with spending limits that apply to the next fiscal year’s budget.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is one of the only parts of DOE for which the White House is not seeking a budget cut. The administration seeks $16.5 billion for the NNSA, up more than 8% from the 2019 budget.

For the Environmental Management office’s national portfolio of Cold War nuclear-weapons cleanup, the White House requested a 10% cut to less than $6.5 billion. The Trump administration also seeks $116 million for DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to prepare the agency’s application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to license Yucca Mountain in Nye County, Nev., as a permanent repository for civilian- and defense-nuclear waste.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself, the White House seeks about $920 million: about flat with the 2019 appropriation.