White House Expresses 'Concerns' About Energy Funding Bill

House Republicans and the House Republicans and the White House are sparring over research funding for the Department of Energy in the upcoming fiscal year.

Rep. Harold 'Hal' Rogers, R-Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)House Republicans and the White House are sparring over research funding for the Department of Energy in the upcoming fiscal year.

Science Magazine reports that the House Appropriations Committee's markup of an energy and water spending bill included just a fraction of the boost originally sought by the Obama administration.

The DOE's Office of Science would see a 0.6 percent increase to $5.1 billion under the committee's bill, while the administration asked for a 5.3 percent increase.

Lawmakers and the White House particularly disagreed on applied research and renewable energy programs. The Appropriations committee's bill maintained the current spending level for the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy budget and cut its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program by 13.8 percent.

The administration sought increases to those programs of 16 percent and 41.5 percent, respectively.

White House budget chief Shaun Donovan wrote in a letter to Committee Chairman Hal Rogers that the bill "slashes support for U.S. innovators — scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs pioneering new clean energy technologies that will spur America's long-term economic competitiveness."

Rogers, R-Kentucky, countered that the proposal "smartly utilizes and improves the way we use the energy sources we have now and that works to develop new technologies that will make energy production in this country safer and more efficient."

The full energy and water bill increases the 2016 funding level by $1.2 billion compared to the current fiscal year but that would amount to less than two-thirds of the proposed White House increase.

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