Lawmakers approve more money for Energy Department than Trump wanted - again

September 28, 2018

Lawmakers and President Trump only recently settled on a package to fund most of the government through December, which the president is expected to sign this morning.

But funding for the Department of Energy for the next 12 months -- almost a record in Washington -- has already been agreed to by boosting funds for the agency. Earlier this month, Congress sent the White House a spending package that boosts funding for the Department of Energy by $974 million to a total of $35.5 billion.

That uptick for one of the federal government's biggest backers of scientific research amounts to another bipartisan rejection of deep budget cuts called for by President Trump around efforts to develop alternative  energy production seen as central to addressing climate change. Despite the discrepancy, Trump signed the department’s budget into law late last week.

Since Trump took office, the head of the White House’s Office of Budget and Management, fiscal hawk Mick Mulvaney, sent budget proposals to Congress that attempted to shift responsibility for developing new energy technologies away from the federal government and toward the private sector.

“It's an ideologically based view that the marketplace will undertake whatever investments needed in innovation and that there there's no need for a large government role here,” said Joseph Hezir, former chief finance officer at the Energy Department under Barack Obama and now principal at the Energy Futures Initiative.

But as it has done in years past, both Republicans and Democrats rejected the Trump administration's suggestions for reining in spending on research across the country at national laboratories — often found in lawmakers in charge of doling out cash to states and districts.

Trump’s budget shop, for example, proposed slashing funding for...

Read entire article at The Washington Post (The Energy 202).

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