The House of Representatives approved a $3 billion spending cut for the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, and related agencies last week. Energy’s Office of Science would be funded at $4.7 billion, a cut of $223 million. The Biological and Environmental Research program would be cut by 21.5 percent to $494.1 million, by far the largest cut proposed for any Office of Science research program. HR 2609 passed the chamber after considerable floor debate and consideration of dozens of amendments.
President Obama’s advisers “would recommend that he veto the bill” because of its steep cuts to clean energy and research programs, among other reasons, according to a statement from the White House.
Several lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to undo the 5 percent cut proposed for the Department of Energy Office of Science. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member on the House Science Committee, offered an amendment during the floor debate to fund the office at $430 million more than the current legislation; this would have been achieved by cutting funding for the Defense Environmental Cleanup account. Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) proposed an increase of $25 million for the Office of Science offset by an equivalent cut to nuclear energy funding. Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Bill Foster (D-IL) sought to transfer $223 million and $500 million, respectively, from the Weapons Activities account to Office of Science. All of these amendments were rejected.
House Science and Technology Committee member Representative Paul Broun (R-GA), a candidate for an open Senate seat in 2014, offered an amendment to further reduce research funding at Department of Energy by $158.3 million in order to decrease the deficit. The chamber also rejected this amendment.
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