FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Obama Administration Responds to House FY 2012 Defense and DOE Funding Bills

Richard M. Jones
Number 83 - July 7, 2011  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

Adjust text size enlarge text shrink text    |    Print this pagePrint this page    |     Bookmark and Share     |    rss feed for FYI

The House of Representatives is now considering the FY 2012 appropriations bill for the Department of Defense, and may start its consideration of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill tomorrow.  A good indication of the Obama Administration’s positions on these bills is provided by two “Statement of Administration Policy” that were issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The House could pass H.R. 2219, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act later today.  In a three-page Statement of Administration Policy issued on June 23, OMB told Congress:

“The Administration strongly opposes a number of provisions in this bill. If a bill is presented to the President that undermines his ability as Commander in Chief or includes ideological or political policy riders, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.

“While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding the level of resources the bill would provide for programs necessary to meet national security, including:”

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) Spacecraft. The level of resources the bill would provide for the Air Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program would prevent DOD from launching the refurbished DSCOVR spacecraft, part of an interagency partnership with the Department of Commerce, which would provide forecasts of geomagnetic storm conditions and imminent warnings of adverse solar events, helping to protect the Nation's military and economic assets including our commercial electric grid and communications and airline operations.”

Investment in Innovation. The bill’s funding level for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for high-priority science and technology programs would undermine the Nation’s ability to invest in innovation and ideas that would have long-term benefits for the country’s national security and economy.”

The Statement later concludes: “The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward to ensure the Administration can support enactment of the legislation.”

Yesterday OBM issued a three-page Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 2354, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act.  Seven items were included in this Statement regarding the Department of Energy, which declared at the outset:

“While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding the level of resources the bill would provide for a number of programs in a way that undermines core government functions, investments key to economic growth and job creation, as well as national security. Programs adversely affected by the bill include:

Clean Energy Research and Development (R&D). The level of funding provided for R&D of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies would undermine the ability of the United States to develop a clean energy economy and create jobs for the future. By reducing funds for key programs including Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, and the Office of Science, the bill places at risk U.S. competitiveness in technologies and expanding markets such as electric vehicles and batteries, new ‘drop-in’ hydrocarbon biofuels, cost-saving energy-efficient systems for homes and businesses, advanced manufacturing materials and processes, and cost-competitive solar energy and offshore wind power.”

Climate Research. The funding level for the Office of Science's Biological and Environmental Research program would hamper the Administration’s efforts to conduct and support scientific research on the relationship between energy production and the environment. The Administration also strongly disagrees with the Committee Report suggestion that climate and atmospheric research are unrelated to DOE's core basic science mission.”

Yucca Mountain License. Continued funding of the Yucca Mountain license application will divert funds from the Nation’s efforts to advance fuel cycle technologies and develop waste management options. The Administration has established a Blue Ribbon Commission to inform the development of a new strategy for nuclear waste management and disposal.”

Nuclear Posture Review Goals and Maintaining a Safe, Secure and Effective Nuclear Deterrent. The Administration objects to the funding reduction in Title III, Weapons Activities, which will delay the achievement of a number of important Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) goals. The full request supports the Administration's commitment to modernization of the nuclear weapons complex made in the NPR and reaffirmed as part of the New START treaty ratification process.”

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. The Administration objects to funding reductions in Title III, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in the Fissile Materials Disposition and Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Reactor Conversion. These reductions will undermine U.S. ability to begin disposing plutonium in 2018 and delay efforts to reduce usage of HEU in nuclear reactors worldwide.”

The Statement, which does not include a veto threat, concludes as follows: “The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward.”

Information on the Administration’s budget requests and subsequent congressional action is available here.

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095