Fundamental differences between the political parties about spending and conflicting demands from the electorate dim the outlook for prompt passage of appropriations bills funding the Department of Energy.

DOE-SealFundamental differences between the political parties about spending and conflicting demands from the electorate dim the outlook for prompt passage of appropriations bills funding the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Institutes of Health. Congress will pass legislation continuing current funding levels until final FY 2011 appropriations legislation is enacted, most likely in the form of an omnibus funding bill. When that omnibus bill passes will depend on the outcome of November’s elections and whether party control of the House or Senate changes. What follows is a brief recap of the status of FY 2011 appropriations bills:

Department of Energy

The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed its version of the FY 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. It would increase funding for the Office of Science by 2.2 percent. While the companion bill has not cleared the full House Appropriations Committee, the subcommittee’s bill provides essentially flat funding. The funding outlook is much more promising for Weapons Activities, with the bills recommending 8.2 percent and 10.0 percent increases. Funding for Nuclear Energy would decline by a half-percent in the Senate bill, and increase 4.7 percent in the House bill. There is considerable disagreement about the future funding of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository that must be resolved.

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Source: Richard M. Jones | The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News
Photo: U.S. Department of Energy