Updates to Appropriations Process: DOE, DOD Bills

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Publication date: 
7 August 1995

Beginning August 5, members of the House of Representatives left
town for their August recess, or "district work period."  The
Senate hopes to follow them out of town at the end of this week,
although a number of issues remain on the Senate's calendar.  This
FYI provides updates on recent action on DOE and DOD
appropriations, while FYI #113 gives additional information on the
VA/HUD funding bill, and the rescissions bill for current-year

FYIs #110 and #111 reported that the FY 1996 ENERGY AND WATER
DEVELOPMENT Appropriations bill, H.R. 1905, had passed the Senate
floor on August 1.  At the time, details of changes made on the
floor were not available, but information was provided on the
recommendations made by the Senate Appropriations Committee in S.
Report 104-120.  The amounts recommended in the committee report
still hold, except for fusion funding.  An amendment accepted on
the floor would allow continued use of the TFTR, as follows:
"...within available funds $56,000,000 may be available to continue
operation of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (for which purpose,
the Secretary may use savings from reducing general administrative
expenses in accordance with the Department of Energy's strategic
alignment and downsizing effort, but none of the savings used for
this purpose shall come from programmatic accounts within this

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) noted, "This amendment is a smart one
because it makes use of existing Department of Energy resources.
It is also a no-cost amendment.  It does not increase any account
in this bill.  And it does not take one cent from any other
Department of Energy research program."

Bingaman continued, "...the current language in the energy and
water bill is ambiguous about the TFTR machine.  Therefore, this
amendment seeks to clarify that the Secretary of Energy will have
the authority to keep TFTR effectively operating for another three
years.  And it accomplishes exactly what the PCAST report called
for with regard to TFTR."  (see FYIs #98, 105 for more on the PCAST
fusion report.)

H.R. 2126, the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Appropriations bill for FY
1996, has been reported out of both the House and Senate
Appropriations Committees.  The House Committee passed the bill on
July 25, the Senate Committee on July 28.  Discussion of the bill
was begun on the House floor on July 31, but was not completed by
the time the House went out on recess.  Last year, then-Chairman
John Murtha (D-PA) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Defense raised concern in the scientific community by cutting $900
million from a request of $1.8 billion for DOD-sponsored university
research; the amount of the reduction was changed to $200 million
in conference (see FYI #146, 1994.)  This year, the House
Appropriations Committee has recommended $7.7 billion more than
President Clinton's request for DOD, and the $1.6 billion more than
the President's request for the Research, Development, Testing and
Evaluation account.  These increases make a reduction to university
research this year appear unlikely.