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House GOP Proposes $34B Energy Budget

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(POLITICO)—House Republicans met on Capitol Hill on Monday to propose a $34 billion energy and water budget, pushing to heal the wounds created by about a billion dollars in budget cuts from the Army Corps of Engineers, alternatively reallocating funds from president-preferred renewable energy programs.

The drafted bill accommodates $5.5 billion for the Corps, a near-standstill for their 2014 spending limits. The House GOP’s request, however, digs a hole with a depth of some $960 million more than President Barack Obama’s original proposition, a cost that is covered by an additional $327 million attached to the bill.

In legislation surrounding renewable energy programs Obama vied for $2.3 billion whereas the House bill provided just south of $1.8, an approximated 23 percent reduction for 2014 levels. In thinking ‘big-picture’ within the Energy Department’s fiscal profile, $5 billion is appropriated for their larger science budget; again, a freezing of accounts for 2014 levels. The House GOP, like the Senate Democrats, are starting to sweat over how to rebuild those funds removed from the Corps.

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In response the Senate Appropriations Committee has allotted close to $34 billion, comparative to Obama’s request of $33.7 billion, for the same bill. Threats of incoming climate change, the ‘gas-in-the-greenhouse,’ will make the redistribution of wealth in renewable energy programs that much more difficult for Democrats to deal with.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and the manager of the bill, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) were sure to spotlight infrastructure investments in their proposal, as Obama had hoped someone might. The double-edged sword now wedged between the Army Corps and investments in renewable energy is sharp, waiting for guidance one way or the other.

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