Obama Administration Responds to House FY 2012 Defense and DOE Funding Bills

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Publication date: 
7 July 2011
Number: 
83

The  House of Representatives is now considering the FY 2012 appropriations bill for  the Department of Defense, and may start its consideration of the Energy and  Water Development Appropriations bill tomorrow.   A good indication of the Obama Administration’s positions on these bills  is provided by two “Statement of Administration Policy” that were issued by the  Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The  House could pass H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act later  today.  In a three-page Statement of  Administration Policy issued on June 23, OMB told Congress:

“The Administration strongly opposes a number of  provisions in this bill. If a bill is presented to the President that  undermines his ability as Commander in Chief or includes ideological or  political policy riders, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a  veto.

“While overall funding limits and subsequent  allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral  discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the  Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding  the level of resources the bill would provide for programs necessary to meet  national security, including:”

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) Spacecraft.  The level of resources the bill would provide for the Air Force’s Rocket  Systems Launch Program would prevent DOD from launching the refurbished DSCOVR  spacecraft, part of an interagency partnership with the Department of Commerce,  which would provide forecasts of geomagnetic storm conditions and imminent  warnings of adverse solar events, helping to protect the Nation's military and  economic assets including our commercial electric grid and communications and  airline operations.”

Investment in Innovation. The bill’s funding level  for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for high-priority science and  technology programs would undermine the Nation’s ability to invest in  innovation and ideas that would have long-term benefits for the country’s  national security and economy.”

The Statement later concludes: “The Administration  looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012  appropriations process moves forward to ensure the Administration can support  enactment of the legislation.”

Yesterday OBM issued a three-page Statement of  Administration Policy on H.R. 2354, the Energy and Water Development  Appropriations Act.  Seven items were  included in this Statement regarding the Department of Energy, which declared  at the outset:

“While overall funding limits and subsequent  allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral  discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the  Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding  the level of resources the bill would provide for a number of programs in a way  that undermines core government functions, investments key to economic growth  and job creation, as well as national security. Programs adversely affected by  the bill include:

Clean Energy Research and Development (R&D).  The level of funding provided for R&D of renewable energy and energy  efficient technologies would undermine the ability of the United States to  develop a clean energy economy and create jobs for the future. By reducing  funds for key programs including Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy,  the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, and the Office of Science,  the bill places at risk U.S. competitiveness in technologies and expanding  markets such as electric vehicles and batteries, new ‘drop-in’ hydrocarbon  biofuels, cost-saving energy-efficient systems for homes and businesses,  advanced manufacturing materials and processes, and cost-competitive solar energy  and offshore wind power.”

Climate Research. The funding level for the Office  of Science's Biological and Environmental Research program would hamper the  Administration’s efforts to conduct and support scientific research on the  relationship between energy production and the environment. The Administration  also strongly disagrees with the Committee Report suggestion that climate and  atmospheric research are unrelated to DOE's core basic science mission.”

Yucca Mountain License. Continued funding of the  Yucca Mountain license application will divert funds from the Nation’s efforts  to advance fuel cycle technologies and develop waste management options. The  Administration has established a Blue Ribbon Commission to inform the  development of a new strategy for nuclear waste management and disposal.”

Nuclear Posture Review Goals and Maintaining a  Safe, Secure and Effective Nuclear Deterrent. The Administration objects to the  funding reduction in Title III, Weapons Activities, which will delay the  achievement of a number of important Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) goals. The  full request supports the Administration's commitment to modernization of the  nuclear weapons complex made in the NPR and reaffirmed as part of the New START  treaty ratification process.”

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. The  Administration objects to funding reductions in Title III, Defense Nuclear  Nonproliferation in the Fissile Materials Disposition and Highly Enriched  Uranium (HEU) Reactor Conversion. These reductions will undermine U.S. ability  to begin disposing plutonium in 2018 and delay efforts to reduce usage of HEU  in nuclear reactors worldwide.”

The Statement, which does not include a veto threat,  concludes as follows: “The Administration looks forward to working with the  Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.”

Information on the Administration’s budget requests  and subsequent congressional action is available here.

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