Carl E. Behrens
Coordinator, Specialist in Energy Policy
The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
FY2013 Energy and Water Development appropriations were considered in the context of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25), which established discretionary spending limits for FY2012-FY2021. On March 26, 2013, the President signed H.R. 933, the FY2013 Defense and Military Construction/VA, Full Year Continuing Resolution (P.L. 113-6). The act funds Energy and Water Development accounts at the FY2012 enacted level for the rest of FY2013, with some exceptions. However, under BCA, an automatic spending reduction process, consisting of a combination of sequestration and lower discretionary spending caps, went into effect March 1, 2013. The effect of these reductions on the budgetary resources that will ultimately be available to an agency at the account level remains unclear until further guidance is provided by the Office of Management and Budget as to how these reductions should be applied.
President Obama’s FY2014 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in April 2013. The request totaled $34.4 billion. On June 26 the House Appropriations Committee reported a bill, H.R. 2609, with a total of $30.4 billion; the bill passed the House, with amendments, on July 10. The Senate Appropriations Committee reported out a bill, S. 1245, on June 27, with a total of $34.4 billion. On October 16, 2013, Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, H.R. 2775, P.L. 113-46, extending funding for all federal programs, including Energy and Water Development, through January 15, 2014, at the FY2013 postsequestration spending level.
For FY2014, as in previous years, the level of overall spending will be a major issue. On March 21, 2013, the House passed H.Con.Res. 25, setting FY2014 spending at $2.77 trillion. On March 23, the Senate passed S.Con.Res. 8, with a spending level for FY2014 of $2.96 trillion. On June 4 the House Appropriations Committee issued budget allocations for the individual subcommittees (H.Rept. 113-96). The suballocation for Energy and Water Development programs was set at $30.4 billion. On June 20 the Senate Appropriations Committee announced subcommittee allocations for FY2014; the Energy and Water Development suballocation was $34.8 billion.
In addition to funding levels, issues specific to Energy and Water Development programs include
- the distribution of appropriations for Corps (Title I) and Reclamation (Title II) projects that have historically received congressional appropriations above Administration requests;
- alternatives to the proposed national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which the Administration has abandoned (Title III: Nuclear Waste Disposal);
- proposed FY2014 spending levels for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs (Title III) that are more than 50% higher in the Administration’s request than the amount appropriated for FY2012; and,
- funding for the nuclear weapons program and other defense activities, which make up half of the total Department of Energy budget.
Number of Pages: 70
Order Number: R43121
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