FY2019 Appropriations for the Department of Energy

Overview

The Department of Energy (DOE) is funded through the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The President's fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request and the addendum include $30.7 billion for the DOE, approximately $3.8 billion (11%) less than the FY2018 enacted level of $34.6 billion (see P.L. 115-141 and Title III of Division D, Explanatory Statement on page H2481). The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2019 bill on May 16, 2018. According to the draft committee report, the bill would fund DOE at $35.5 billion. Proposed changes to the DOE budget are illustrated in Figure 1, which compares the FY2018 enacted levels to the FY2019 request and FY2019 House draft bill.

Funding Proposed in the Request

The President's request would increase overall funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and reduce funding to other programs. The request would reduce funding for the Offices of Environmental Management (EM), Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Nuclear Energy (NE), and Fossil Energy (FE, including the FE Research and Development [R&D] program). It would also split the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) into two accounts—grid reliability (Electricity Delivery, OE) and cybersecurity (Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, CESER)—and reduce total combined funding to these offices. It would eliminate funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), State Energy Program (SEP), Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, and programs within the Loan Programs Office.

Funding Proposed by the House Appropriations Committee

The FY2019 draft House bill as approved by the Committee would fund NNSA at $15.3 billion (a 4% increase over the FY2018 level of $14.7 billion). The bill would also provide $190 million to restart licensing activities for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository ($100 million above the request) and to initiate an interim nuclear waste storage program. In line with the President's request, the bill would replace the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability account with two accounts: OE and CESER.

Most offices would see funding increases with the exception of EM, EERE, and ARPA-E. Within EERE, the WAP and SEP would receive the same level of funding as in FY2018.

Figure 1. Department of Energy Budget Comparison

billions of current dollars

Sources: FY2017 Enacted and FY2018 Enacted from P.L. 115-141 and Division D, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, Explanatory Statement. FY2019 request from FY2019 Congressional Budget Request: Budget in Brief. FY2019 H. Com. from draft committee report.

Notes: "Other" refers to programs and funding not within the specified categories. "Energy" refers to the Offices of EERE, NE, OE (and the newly proposed OE and CESER), and FE, which includes FE R&D.

Table 1 shows a summary of appropriations comparing the FY2019 draft House bill and FY2019 request with the FY2017 and FY2018 enacted levels.

Table 1. FY2019 Request for Selected DOE Offices and Programs

dollars in millions

Office/Program

FY2017 Enacted

FY2018 Enacted

FY2019 Request

FY2019 H. Com.

NNSA

$12,938

$14,669

$15,091

$15,313

EM

6,420

7,126

6,601

6,869

Nuclear Waste Disposal

0

0

120

190

Science

5,392

6,260

5,391

6,600

Energy Programs

4,249

4,774

2,307

4,813

EERE

2,090

2,322

696

2,079

Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliabilitya

230

248

-

-

OEa

-

-

61

175

CESERa

-

-

96

146

NE

1,017

1,205

757

1,346

FE

912

999

697

1,067

FE R&D

668

727

502

785

ARPA-E

305

353

0

325

Credit Programs

13

29

-1

29.5

Source: FY2017 Enacted and FY2018 Enacted from P.L. 115-141 and Division D, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, Explanatory Statement. FY2019 Request from FY2019 Congressional Budget Request: Budget in Brief. FY2019 H. Com. from draft committee report.

Notes: "Credit Programs" refers collectively to the Title XVII Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, ATVM Loan Program, and the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program.

a. In FY2019, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability account is proposed to be divided into two newly proposed offices (OE and CESER).

Key Changes

Several issues are likely to generate debate during congressional consideration of DOE appropriations for FY2019. The FY2019 request would reduce funding for energy programs by 52%, with the majority of the proposed reductions in EERE to "[focus] DOE resources toward early-stage R&D." The House draft bill would increase funding for energy programs by approximately 1% (compared to FY2018), and the draft report states that "the Committee believes that a focus on only early-stage activities will forego the nation's scientific capabilities in medium- and later-stage research and development and may not fully realize the technological advancements possible under the Department's applied energy activities."

The request would eliminate funding for the Title XVII Loan Program and ATVM Loan Program while continuing to administer the existing loan portfolio through the use of unobligated balances and fees collected from borrowers. The House draft bill would continue to support operations of these programs.

The FY2019 request would reduce funding for the Office of Science by 14% (compared to FY2018) and would change funding levels for individual Science programs "to focus on its core mission of conducting cutting edge, early-stage research." The House draft bill would increase funding to the Office of Science by $340 million (approximately 5%) as compared to FY2018 funding levels, and according to the draft report, "the Committee has placed a high priority on funding these activities in fiscal year 2019, given the private sector is not likely to fund research whose findings either have high non-commercial value or are not likely to be commercialized in the near or medium term."

The FY2019 request would eliminate ARPA-E. The House draft bill would fund the program at $325 million, a decrease of approximately 8% compared to FY2018 funding levels.

For additional information on FY2018 appropriations for DOE, see CRS Report R44895, Energy and Water Development: FY2018 Appropriations.