Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have made progress on legislation to fund the Department of Energy in fiscal year 2015.

The House committee passed its bill on 18 June 2014. The House plan would flat fund the Office of Science, which is below the level requested by the President. Included is $540 million for the Biological and Environmental Research program. This is $70.2 million less than the 2014 funding level. Details on how the cuts would be allocated are not yet available.

The Senate bill would provide $5.1 billion for the Office of Science, which is $20 million more than the current level. After passing the bill from subcommittee, the Senate canceled a markup over concerns about possible amendments regarding climate change and clean water regulations.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had threatened to offer an amendment that would have undermined a recent rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which proposed the rule, is not funded in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, leading some to question the appropriateness of the amendment.

“I can’t recall an amendment in the 21 years that I’ve been here that is so far outside the jurisdiction of this subcommittee — we don’t handle EPA,” said Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

 


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