Morning Briefing - May 23, 2019
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May 23, 2019

White House Fumes House Spending Bill Would Shift DOE Nuke Money to Cleanup

By ExchangeMonitor

The Donald Trump administration this week lashed out at House appropriators for proposing to spend money the White House wanted for active Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs on cleanup of legacy nuclear-weapon sites.

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved an energy and water funding bill that would provide $7.2 billion for remediation of shuttered Cold War nuclear weapon sites in fiscal 2020 and just under $16 billion DOE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) portfolio of active nuclear weapons and nonproliferation programs.

That would be about $700 million more than the administration requested for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management and roughly $600 million less than requested for the NNSA.

“”[T]he bill shifts resources to Environmental Management and reduces funding for nuclear security activities, which jeopardizes critical investments to modernize the nuclear weapons enterprise to strengthen national security,” Russell Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a Monday letter to House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

A number of Republican members of the committee also complained about the nuclear-weapon spending cut in the bill, which passed largely along party lines.

House leadership had not scheduled a Rules Committee markup to draft rules for floor debate of the $46.4 billion bill at deadline for Weapons Complex Morning Briefing. Lowey has said she expects the legislation to go up for a floor vote in June.

If approved without major changes to nuclear weapons funding in the House, where Democrats hold a majority, the bill would still have to clear the GOP-controlled Senate. Republicans in that chamber last year gave the NNSA all $15-plus billion the White House requested.