June 28, 2013

House Panel Approves 2014 Energy Spending Bill

The full House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a 2014 Energy and Water spending bill with deep cuts to renewable energy projects on a party-line 28-21 vote.

The committee beat back Democratic attempts to restore spending on renewable energy, a key priority for President Obama, which would be cut to $1 billion, a reduction of $911 million compared to 2013.

The cut comes as part of an Energy and Water appropriations bill, the fifth that the House is moving as part of a plan to produce all 12 annual spending bills at the top-line $967 billion level called for under the sequestration law.

This plan is sharply at odds with that of Senate Democrats meaning that without a wider congressional budget deal, none of the bill are likely to be enacted into law. President Obama has threatened to veto all the House bills produced conforming to the $967 billion level. 

The bill totals $30.4 billion, which is $2.9 billion below 2013 enacted level and $700 million below the sequestration level that went into effect on March 1.

“The end product is a good bill and one that I heartily endorse,” said Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) “This bill gets back to the basics — protecting our national defense and investing in the infrastructure that is the foundation of a thriving American economy and critical to the safety of our people.”

Ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) noted that a year ago, the same committee wanted $700 million more for renewable energy. 

 “We should continue — not stall — progress toward clean and renewable energy that will power economic growth, increase energy security and mitigate the risk of climate change,” she said.

In addition to the renewable energy program cuts, the House GOP plan would also require steep cuts to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a program authorized in 2007 legislation that first received funding under the 2009 stimulus law.

ARPA-E funds so-called high-risk, high-reward research into cutting-edge, breakthrough energy technologies.

“It is our job to make do with what we have not with what we hope to have,” Energy subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said. 

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