Senate Passes Energy Appropriations Bill, Includes Funding for Energy Efficiency
Originally published by: The Hill — May 12, 2016
The following article was produced and published by the source linked to above, who is solely responsible for its content. SBC Magazine is publishing this story to raise awareness of information publicly available online and does not verify the accuracy of the author’s claims. As a consequence, SBC cannot vouch for the validity of any facts, claims or opinions made in the article.
The Senate on Thursday passed a $37.5 billion package to fund energy and water programs in 2017.
Senators approved the bill in a 90-8 vote after weeks of work that included a protracted fight over an amendment related to Iran.
With Thursday’s vote, the energy and water funding becomes the first 2017 appropriations measure approved this year.
“We know that this bill is the result of a great deal of effort, research and collaboration across the aisle,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
“The energy security and water infrastructure bill is important for our country,” he said. “We know it will support public safety, waterways infrastructure, energy innovation [and] our nuclear deterrence posture.”
Much of the legislation is uncontroversial. It increases funding $355 million over 2016 levels, with a $1.163 billion increase for the Department of Energy's defense-related programs and an $808 million decrease for the nondefense portions of the bill, including other DOE programs and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Senators went out of their way to leave out the policy riders lawmakers included in the House version of the bill, and the Appropriations Committee in April approved it unanimously.
But debate over an amendment dealing with the Iran nuclear deal had held up action on the legislation.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had hoped to use the bill to block future American purchases of heavy water — a component of some nuclear reactors — from Iran. Democrats opposed the provision, saying that because its inclusion would draw a veto from President Obama, it shouldn’t even get close to the final bill. They voted three times against ending debate on the spending bill before finally voting down the Iran measure on Wednesday.
That action cleared the way for Thursday’s approval.
Despite the bill's popular support in the Senate, the White House has threatened to veto it, saying the measure doesn't provide enough research funding for advanced energy projects or renewable energy sources.