An integral part of the appropriations process are requests that representatives and senators make to the appropriations committees regarding future funding legislation. These requests can take the form of “Dear Colleague” letters that are signed by many members, or a letter from an individual representative or senator.
Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) wrote to House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) about FY 2014 funding levels and committee report language for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Office of Nuclear Energy. Committee report language, while not having the force of law, provides clear direction to federal departments and agencies regarding specific programs. Examples of committee report language for the Office of Science from last year can be viewed here.
Earlier this year, Foster testified before the House Budget Committee on the importance of R&D and education.
The text of this April 19 letter follows:
“Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Kaptur:
“As a scientist with a long history and deep understanding of the operations and value of national laboratories and the importance of the Department of Energy’s investment in scientific research, I respectfully request the following programmatic levels and report language for various programs under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.
“Department of Energy - Office of Science
“Basic Energy Sciences: I support President Obama’s budget request.
“I request including the following report language: ‘The Committee approves the President’s budget requests of $64,200,000 for Major Items of Equipment, $464,000,000 for the operations of the synchrotron radiation light sources, and $24,237,000 for the Batteries and Energy Storage Energy Innovation Hub.’
“High Energy Physics: I support $801.5 million for High Energy Physics, which is an increase of $25 million over the President’s budget request.
“I also request this accompanying language request: ‘The Committee approves an additional $25 million above the President's budget request for High Energy Physics for project engineering and design for an ongoing neutrino experiment and related laboratory facilities.’
“Scientific Laboratories Infrastructure: I support the President’s budget request.
“Advanced Scientific Computing Research: I support robust funding for the Leadership Computing Facilities program.
“Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
I support President Obama’s requests for the Vehicle Technologies and the Advanced Manufacturing programs.
“Department of Energy - Office of Nuclear Energy
“I support the President’s request for the Reactor Concepts Research, Development and Demonstration and the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies programs.
“I also request the following report language: ‘The Department of Energy should work to develop a plan for demonstrating a new advanced nuclear reactor by 2030. In addition, the Department should ensure that sufficient funding is provided to the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NEAMS) program, including a focus on advanced reactors.’
“Thank you for your consideration of these requests. If you have any questions or need any further information, please contact . . . .
Member of Congress”