The House on Tuesday evening voted down two Democratic amendments to the 2014 energy and water bill aimed at giving the Obama administration flexibility to impose environmental regulations, and others aimed at boosting funding for renewable energy programs.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) proposed two of these amendments to the bill, H.R. 2609, both of which were rejected in roll call votes.
His first proposal was to eliminate language in the bill that would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from changing current guidance on how the federal government defines waters subject to the Clean Water Act. Republicans say the Obama administration is seeking to broaden the definition of covered waters in a way that would prove too intrusive, and favor the funding limitation language in the bill.
Members killed Moran’s proposal in a 177-236 vote.
Moran also proposed language that would strike a provision of the bill preventing the Army Corps from enforcing any change to regulations dealing with discharge of fill material under the Clean Water Act. This idea was rejected 188-226.
Democrats offered a few other amendments aimed at restoring funding to renewable energy programs under the bill, which funds the Department of Energy and other agencies. But the House rejected these ideas as well.
One amendment from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) would have used $1.65 billion in a defense environmental cleanup program to fund renewable energy, science and advanced research programs. But this was killed in a voice vote.
Another, from Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), would have increased funding for renewable energy programs by $245 million and cut National Nuclear Security Administration funding by the same amount. This was rejected 152-264.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) proposed adding $1.1 billion in funding for renewable energy programs without offsetting with cuts elsewhere. Because this did not offset the spending increase, it was killed in point of order.
Democrats have criticized the bill broadly for focusing mostly on the security side – the maintenance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal – while ignoring various energy programs.
The bill cuts non-security related spending by $2.5 billion compared to 2013. That includes a $100 million cut to civil works programs in the Army Corps of Engineers, another $100 million cut to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation, and a $2.1 billion cut to the Department of Energy.
The House did reject two Republican attempts to alter the funding decisions in the bill. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) proposed increasing funding for renewable energy programs by $31 million and reducing departmental administration by the same amount, but the House killed this in a 140-275 vote.
Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) proposed cutting another $9.8 million from renewable energy programs, but the House also turned this away 153-257.
Two other GOP proposals were accepted in voice votes, from:
— Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), moving $15 million from Department of Energy’s administrative account, and $15 million from solar energy programs, to boost funding for rural water projects, and
— Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), increasing funding for Defense Environmental Cleanup by $22.5 million, using funds from renewable energy programs and departmental administration.
Finally, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) proposed language that would have required efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp in the United States, but he withdrew his proposal without asking for any vote.
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