Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the FY2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2609) by a vote of 227-198. The measure funds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) civil works projects, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and several other independent agencies. It is clear that Sequestration will continue to hit federal agencies hard through this budget. The $30.4 billion bill is $2.9 billion less than FY2013 funding levels and $4.3 billion below the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (S. 1245), which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 27.
In the House measure, Corps civil works projects are funded at $4.9 billion ($104 million less than FY2013 levels) and the bill prohibits new projects in FY2014. Corps civil works projects include improving and maintaining navigation channels, disaster relief, ecosystem restoration, flood and storm damage, water infrastructure and levee construction. The bill also contains language prohibiting the Corps from moving forward on navigable “waters of the U.S.” definitional changes.
While DOE receives $24.9 billion in the bill, renewable energy programs take a cut. After a proposal to consolidate renewable and energy efficiency and electricity delivery and reliability offices, total funding for those programs is cut nearly 50 percent for a total of $982.6 million. Another significant cut in the DOE budget is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E funds innovative and collaborative projects that focus on new energy technologies. Under the bill, APRA-A would receive $50 million, which is $215 million below FY2013 numbers. Fossil fuel research would receive $430 million, $19 million less than FY2013.
On July 8, the White House issued a veto threat over the House Energy and Water bill, stating that it “drastically underfunds critical investments” and “would hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities.”
This is the third appropriations bill passed this year in the House. The Senate has yet to move on the bill, and with a packed agenda, it is uncertain when the chamber will take up the measure. It is likely Congress will have to pass a continued resolution to keep the government funded until the appropriations process is resolved.
For more information, please contact Julie Ufner with NACo at (202) 942.4269 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.