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Congress Sends $147.5B Minibus to Trump, Still Working on Interior/EPA Bill

Congress sent a $147.5 billion "minibus" package that includes funding for the Energy Department (DOE) and the Army Corps of Engineers to President Trump's desk for his signature, but lawmakers are still scrambling to pass appropriations for the Interior Department (DOI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Complicating matters is uncertainty over whether the mercurial Trump will sign the minibus or any of the other appropriations bills to fund the federal government in fiscal year (FY) 2019. The president has voiced support for the idea of a government shutdown if Congress doesn't provide funding for his controversial wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The House voted 377-20 on Thursday to pass House Resolution (HR) 5895, which includes funding for energy and water development, the legislative branch and military construction, and veterans affairs in FY 2019. The three-bill minibus cleared the Senate on the previous day, 92-5.

Under HR 5895, the energy and water appropriations bill totals $44.7 billion, a $1.5 billion increase from FY 2018 and $8.17 billion more than what Trump outlined in his budget request. The bill provides $35.5 billion to DOE, a $974.2 million increase from FY 2018 and $5.35 billion above the budget request. DOE's allocation includes $13.42 billion for energy programs. Meanwhile, the bill allocates $7.28 billion to the Army Corps.

House and Senate lawmakers were still in conference to advance another spending bill, HR 6147, which would fund DOI and EPA in FY 2019. The current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

Business Council for Sustainable Energy President Lisa Jacobson thanked Congress for passing the energy and water appropriations bill and urged Trump to sign it.

"The market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE's world class research, both pure and applied," Jacobson said. "Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets."

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