DOE Funding Bill Passes Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate

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Publication date: 
2 August 1995
Number: 
111

Floor

Yesterday, the Senate passed H.R. 1905, the Energy and Water
Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 1996.  The bill,
which makes appropriations for the Department of Energy, made its
way through the Senate appropriations process quickly.  The Senate
Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee held its
mark-up of H.R. 1905 on July 25, the full Appropriations Committee
marked up the bill two days later, and floor consideration was
begun on July 31 and completed yesterday. 

Few details of the Senate-passed bill are available yet.  Below,
information is provided from the Senate Appropriations Committee's
version of the bill, and its accompanying report, S. Report
104-120.  The Committee report proposed to reduce funding for
several DOE science programs, including high energy physics and
fusion, below the House's recommendation (see FYIs #84, 85 and 100
for the House's actions.)  However, keep in mind that changes may
have been made on the Senate floor, and further details will be
provided, if necessary, as available. 

GENERAL SCIENCE AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:  This account provides
funding for High Energy and Nuclear Physics.  The Senate
Appropriations Committee recommended $971.0 million for the total
account [House recommendation: $991.0 million; Request: $1,017.5
million; FY95 funding: $984.0 million.]

For High Energy Physics, the Committee recommended $657.0 million
[House recommendation: $677.0 million; Request: $685.6 million;
FY95 funding: $642.1 million.]  For Nuclear Physics, the Committee
recommended $304.5 million, equal to the House allowance [Request:
$321.1 million; FY95 funding: $331.5 million.]  Program Direction
would receive $9.5 million, equal to the House allowance [Request:
$10.9 million; FY95 funding: $10.4 million.]

The report states, in part, "The Committee's funding recommendation
for general science and research activities reflects the continued
role of the Federal Government in fundamental scientific research
where research is not market driven and is difficult for the
private sector to conduct.  The Committee strongly supports the
budget request for the scientific facilities utilization initiative
to enhance and increase the use of fundamental science and user
facilities, but due to severe funding constraints, has found it
necessary to reduce the overall budget request.  It is the
Committee's hope that congressional actions such as merging
operating and capital funding along with a lessening of
departmental internal regulations and oversight reviews will
compensate in part for this reduction."

In addition, the Appropriations Committee report provided the
following views on management of the national laboratories, and
restructuring of the Department:

LABORATORY MANAGEMENT:  "The Committee concurs with the insights of
the Galvin task force regarding the management of Department
laboratories, and expresses its frustration with the Department's
lack of progress in either implementing the far-reaching solutions
proposed by the Galvin report or proposing alternative solutions to
the inefficient and oppressive oversight and regulation endured by
the laboratories.  The Department's inability to make meaningful
reforms in these areas has resulted in increased cost and reduced
productivity at the national laboratories that, if allowed to
continue, could jeopardize the laboratories' ability to fulfill
their missions.

"The Committee is encouraged by DOE's ongoing consideration of
moving to outside regulation of the laboratories and strongly
endorses any approach that removes the duplication of oversight
that currently exists between DOE and outside regulators."

DEPARTMENTAL RESTRUCTURING:  "The Committee is aware of the
Secretary of Energy's efforts to restructure operations enabling
the Department to deliver its core critical missions to the Nation
at a lower cost to the taxpayer.  Reducing Federal costs through
downsizing and management will help the Department maintain its
essential defense, research, energy security, and environmental
cleanup activities vital to the Nation's security.  The Department
has announced a comprehensive plan to achieve $14,000,000,000 in
savings over the next 5 years....  The Committee is pleased that
the Department is taking these steps to downsize and increase the
efficiency of its operations.  The Committee emphasizes, however,
that the very survival of the Department may depend upon the
success of its efforts.  The Committee urges the Department to
attain its goals in this regard, and to continue to seek ways to
further streamline its operations." 

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