Lawmakers Pass $1.3 Billion Spending Bill
The Omnibus bill addresses funding for Energy Information Administration, Energy Star, and more
Editor’s Note: The following information is courtesy of ASHRAE’s Government Affairs Update. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/ASHRAEGOVT.
WASHINGTON — Congressional lawmakers passed a $1.3 trillion (Omnibus) spending bill that was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 23. The spending plan will fund the government until Sept. 30. Below are highlights from some key programs of interest.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): The omnibus will increase the DOE’s budget to $34.5 billion (almost $4 billion more than fiscal year 2017). This includes additional funds to the following programs:
- The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE) will see a $300 million increase to $2.3 billion. Below are the funding levels for programs of interest:
- The Building Technology Office will be funded at $221 million ($21 million more than fiscal year 2017):
- Emerging Technologies (ET) – $90 million;
- Residential Buildings Integration (RBI) – $50 million;
- Commercial Building Integration (CBI) – $32 million; and
- Efficiency Standards, Building Codes, and Test Procedures – $23 million.
- The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Activities will see funding levels at $306 million ($28 million more than fiscal year 2017).
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) – $251 million ($26 million more than fiscal year 2017); and
- State Energy Program (SEP) – $55 million ($5 million more than fiscal year 2017).
- The Energy Information Administration will see funding levels at $125 million ($3 million more than fiscal year 2017).
- The Federal Energy Management Program will see funding levels at $27 million (same as fiscal year 2017).
- The DOE’s national laboratories will likely see an increase as the Office of Science would see its budget grow by $869 million for a total of $6.26 billion.
- Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be funded at $353 million even though the Trump Administration has pushed to cut the program completely.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA will be funded at $8.1 billion, which is equal to current funding levels, despite a request in the president's budget proposal to cut EPA funding by almost one-third.
- The Office of Indoor Air and Radiation is level funded at about $33.5 million, despite the president's budget request to eliminate most of the funding for this office.
- Energy Star: The spending plan maintains funding for the Energy Star program at the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. It also directs the EPA to work with the DOE to review the 2009 memorandum of understanding, which shifted some functions related to home appliance products from the DOE to the EPA. The EPA is required to report to Congress within 90 days whether this shift in responsibilities resulted in the expected efficiencies that hoped to be achieved.
U.S. General Services Administration: Congress added specific report language to the omnibus on energy efficiency in the GSA funding section: “Energy Efficiency — It is important to provide energy-efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective measures that address more effectively the infrastructure needs of federal agencies, including energy savings performance contracts, which allow federal agencies to partner with the private sector to modernize Federal infrastructure.”
The full text of the 2,232 page bill is available at http://bit.ly/2018OMNIBUS.