House Appropriations panel approves $56 billion energy spending bill
A draft fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Development bill, released Monday by the House Appropriations Committee, received the imprimatur of the Energy and Water Development (EWD) Subcommittee yesterday and now moves to the full committee for consideration.
The measure, totaling $56.275 billion—$3.4 billion more than the FY 2022 enacted level—includes funding for the Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and a number of independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The DOE is allocated a total of $48.2 billion in the draft bill, a $3.3 billion, or 7.3 percent, increase from the FY 2022 level of $44.9 billion (and a $6.3 billion, or 15.1 percent, bump from FY 2021). This matches the Biden administration’s requested total for the department.
Following are some specific numbers within the proposed DOE budget:
- Nuclear energy programs would receive $1.78 billion, $125 million above the FY 2022 level and $105 million above Biden’s request.
- The National Nuclear Security Administration would receive $21.2 billion, including $16.3 billion for weapons activities, an increase of $413 million from FY 2022; $2.42 billion for defense nuclear nonproliferation, an increase of $70 million from FY 2022 and $77 million more than the request; and $2 billion for naval reactors, an increase of $82 million from FY 2022.
- The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy would receive $550 million, an increase of $100 million from FY 2022.
- Environmental management would receive $7.88 billion, a $45 million increase from the request.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would receive a total net appropriation of $137 million, equal to the administration’s request.
What they're saying: “Our bill continues the intensive focus on diversifying energy sources and managing increasingly precious water resources to sustain life on Earth,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio), EWD Subcommittee chairwoman, at the June 21 markup hearing. “In the 20th century, America slid into reliance on imported oil for the nation’s energy needs. Thanks to the diligent work of the DOE, our research labs, our precious inventors, our universities, and the private sector, America now leads the world as the largest net exporter of natural gas, a major producer of renewables, nuclear sources, hydro, biofuels, and so much more. We are making progress.”
The subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Mike Simpson (R., Idaho), expressed his appreciation for Kaptur’s efforts to address his concerns with nuclear energy programs, saying that while he might have allocated funding somewhat differently, he was “pleased to see continued support for work on microreactors, including the MARVEL program, [and] for work to ensure a supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium, which will be necessary for many of the next generation of reactors and for the national laboratory infrastructure necessary to enable these activities to succeed.”
Simpson was less pleased, however, with the draft legislation’s total funding level. “Like the president’s budget request, the majority’s energy and water bill overfunds certain nondefense programs and shortchanges our national security needs,” he said. “For example, the bill before us is below the budget request for weapons activities and naval reactors—a budget request that was insufficient, considering the current global threat situation. On the other hand, the bill increases energy efficiency and renewable energy activities by more than 25 percent over last year, and that’s on top of the tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure bill programs still in the early stages of development. With inflation at the highest level in 40 years, we need to be more judicious about how much and where we allocate discretionary appropriations.”