Simpson’s Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Funding Bill Heads to President’s Desk with Big Wins for Idaho
Simpson’s Energy and Water Legislation Marks a Return to Regular Order in Congress
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised the passage of H.R. 5895, which includes the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation, which also includes legislation to fund the Veterans Administration, Military Construction projects and the Legislative branch, by a vote count of 377-20. H.R. 5895 provides funding for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and cleanup activities in Idaho. Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and had the lead role negotiating funding decisions for Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and other agencies. The three-bill package is the first time in more than a decade that more than one Appropriations bill reached the President’s desk before the end of the fiscal year.
“I am proud of the fiscal year 2019 Energy and Water bill and the critical investments it makes at the Idaho National Laboratory,” said Chairman Simpson. “This bill reaffirms INL’s leadership in nuclear energy research, and also expands capabilities at the lab to bolster national security. Passing this legislation today
The FY 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill sets record funding for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy at $1.326 billion. The bill directs funding to the following INL priorities:
Other vital priorities funded within the Energy and Water division include:
The bill also provides $420 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with INL. The funding level will allow the significant cleanup activities currently underway to continue. The bill also includes an additional $5 million for the National Spent Fuel Program, putting the unique expertise of INL to work in order to provide solutions for managing the Department of Energy’s inventories of spent nuclear fuel and $10 million to decommission and disposition INL facilities and infrastructure.
The bill also provides $397 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Project that continues to receive record shipments of transuranic waste from INL, including $85 million for necessary safety-related infrastructure upgrades.
Simpson also praised the inclusion of the crucial Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill in the package.
“The MilCon-VA title provides a much-needed $5.4 billion increase for Veterans and military construction programs,” said Simpson. “I am pleased to support this title which addresses the most critical issues facing our Veterans, including funds for increased mental health services and addressing the claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
The MilCon-VA title, which includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs, also includes increases for military base housing and facilities and upgrades to infrastructure for deterrence operations.
By supporting H.R. 5895, the House voted to provide:
“Beyond the important funding for Idaho, the three-bill package marks an important return to regular order. I have long pressed for Congress to fulfill its responsibility and provide budget certainty by passing appropriations bills on time. I am pleased my Energy and Water legislation fulfills that responsibility and I look forward to passing more appropriations bills by the end of fiscal year 2018.”
The Senate passed H.R. 5895 on Wednesday and the President is expected to sign the bill into law.