On Thursday, July 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act of 2018, by a vote of 235 -192. The package includes the individual appropriations bills for Military Construction, Legislative Branch, Veterans Affairs, Energy & Water and Defense and is intended to clear the appropriations bills that cover our national security. The five-bill package totals nearly $800 billion. Passage of the bill came after a long series of amendments were considered on each individual package.
For its part, the Department of Energy (DOE) would be funded at $29.9 billion — $857.6 million less than FY17 spending levels, but $2.02 billion more than the spending proposed in President Trump’s budget. Importantly, the bill also includes a number of controversial provisions aimed at:
- Restarting the development of the nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain
- Eliminating funding for ARPA-E
- Withdrawing of the Waters of the U.S. rule
- Partial funding for the construction of a border wall with Mexico
In addition, a number of amendments were considered, which covered a wide range of targets, including:
- Striking funding for Yucca Mountain
- Blocking the development of regulations related to the social cost of carbon
- Blocking the removal of references to climate change by the DOE
- Blocking implementation of light bulb and other appliance efficiency standards
- Prohibiting the use of federal funds for the construction of a border wall
- Restoring funding for Energy Innovation Hubs in the DOE’s Offices of Science, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and Nuclear Energy
- Several amendments blocking reimbursement for federal employee expenses at Trump properties and other targeted efforts
Passage of the package marks the first of the appropriations bills to move in either Chamber of Congress. The outlook for the package in the Senate is less certain, as they have yet to consider any of their appropriations bills to date. That body continues to work through its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).