TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
As the House prepares to debate H.R. 5895 - Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019 [Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019], the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to consider the following recommendations. Given the need to restrain overall federal spending and the discretionary spending caps currently in effect, the Chamber urges you to focus federal resources on projects and activities that offer the greatest potential to contribute to an environment conducive to stronger economic growth.
- Support the bill’s funding level for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). Energy innovation is essential to securing America’s energy future and while ARPA-E is a small part of the Department of Energy’s budget, it continually provides outsized results advancing this goal.
- Annual revenues collected and deposited into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund must be made available to the Army Corps of Engineers for their intended purposes.
- Funding for the Army Corps should be largely targeted to navigation and flood protection priorities.
- Support full funding to continue the licensing process for Yucca Mountain.
- Preserve the Loan Programs Office, including the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, and maintain existing authorization levels.
- Support funding to implement the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement and for the establishment of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center (Center for Excellence).
The Chamber encourages the House to support full funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works Program authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The Chamber also encourages the House to invest all revenues collected into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for their intended purpose of port dredging and maintenance.
The draft bill appropriates $7.278 billion for the regular (non-emergency) activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program. This is $451 million (6.6%) higher than the fiscal year (FY) 2018 level enacted in the omnibus appropriations law and is $1.24 billion (20.5%) above the level enacted for FY 2017. This critical investment will allow water navigation projects that had been delayed due to funding constraints to move into construction.
The Chamber commends the House for its longstanding support of energy research and development programs that are vital to the nation’s economic and national security. As you consider FY 2019 funding levels for these programs, the Chamber encourages continued strong support for energy innovation and R&D efforts that help advance solutions to important national priorities such as economic growth and environmental protection. Specifically, the Chamber recommends strong and sustained funding for the ARPA-E, and offices of nuclear energy, fossil energy, electricity delivery and energy reliability, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and science, as well as the National Laboratories.
The Chamber encourages the House to provide $4 million for the U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The Center will advance energy and water innovation by facilitating cooperative industrial R&D, technology sharing, regulatory convergence, training, and education among national laboratories, academic institutions, and companies in both nations. Israel has earmarked a minimum of $4 million per year for the Center, and we believe that the private sectors in the U.S. and Israel would be able to match each government’s contribution.
The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations as you debate H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019.
Neil L. Bradley