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Senate Appropriations to Debate $38.4 Energy, Water Bill Thursday

The Senate Committee on Appropriations has scheduled a hearing Thursday to consider a $38.4 billion measure to fund the Department of Energy (DOE) and Army Corps of Engineers, which would be a significant increase from the Trump administration's funding request.

The fiscal year (FY) 2018 Energy and Water and Development Appropriations bill, which was approved by a subcommittee Tuesday, is $629 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $4.1 billion above President Trump's funding request, according to subcommittee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

The subcommittee began its deliberations "with an unrealistic budget proposal from the president," Alexander said. "The Department of Energy's budget request for FY2018 was only $28 billion, a decrease of about $2.9 billion or 10% below what Congress provided last year.

“The president's budget request recommended reducing funding for the Office of Science by a little over $919 million, proposed to significantly decrease federally funded research and development programs, and terminate ARPA-E,” DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

The bill approved by the subcommittee would, among other things, provide $5.6 billion in funding for the Office of Science and a record-high $330 million for ARPA-E.

Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee also broke with the administration when they agreed days ago to a $37.6 billion spending bill that calls for smaller budget cuts to DOE and the Army Corps than Trump had proposed.

Under the House energy and water appropriations bill, one of 12 to fund the federal government, lawmakers agreed to allocate $29.9 billion to DOE in FY2018. That amounts to a 2.8% decrease in funding from the $30.7 billion the DOE received in FY2017, but also 7.2% higher more than the $27.9 billion Trump proposed giving the department.

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