On Tuesday, February 9, President Obama released his FY2017 budget proposal. The $4.1 trillion proposal is largely perceived as a statement of the White House’s priorities from a president in his final year in office rather than a budget that would be accepted and passed by a Republican-controlled Congress. Indeed, many Republican Members of Congress have already indicated that the budget proposal will be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.
That being said, the budget proposal is the official starting point of the FY2017 budget process, and there’s much to take note of for NEMA Members. Below is a sketch of budget priorities mentioned in the budget proposal.
A major theme of President Obama’s budget is creating a “climate-smart economy,” and that includes increased funding for energy programs at multiple agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy. The president’s budget provides $30.2 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE). This is up from $29.7 billion FY2016 enacted level and includes $2.9 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and $262 million for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE). Specific energy programs highlighted in the budget proposal include:
- $7.7 billion for clean energy research and development across 12 agencies ($5.9 billion of which would be spent within DOE on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies); this is part of a larger international effort called Mission Innovation, agreed to by 20 countries at the Paris climate negotiations to double clean energy technology research and development within five years
- $4 billion in loan guarantee authority for innovative energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- $512 million for the National Science Foundation to research energy storage and distribution
- $500 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E)
- $468 million for the Vehicle Technologies Office
- $289 million for the Building Technologies Office
- $282 million for the EV Everywhere Initiative to increase the adoption of electric vehicles
- $261 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Office
- $169 million for emerging technologies in the building sector
- $54 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to harden infrastructure as part of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (a 46-percent reduction)
- $43 million for the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)
- $27.8 million for solid-state lighting research and development and to administer the L Prize for a lamp that can reach 150 lumens per Watt
- $25 million for a DOE Energy-Water Desalination Hub focused on developing technologies to reduce the cost and energy intensity of water desalination
During his 2016 State of the Union address, President Obama announced a Cancer Moonshot program to be led by Vice President Joe Biden. To support this effort, the FY2017 budget request includes $680 for the National Institute of Health to fund research and clinical trials to help understand the causes of cancer, discover new prevention techniques, improve early detection and diagnosis through medical imaging technologies, and improve treatment options. President Obama also requested $75 million for the Food and Drug Administration to develop regulatory pathways for new technologies and to share information between the public, private, and academic sectors.
President Obama is asking Congress for $19 billion to fund a Cybersecurity National Action Plan, including a new high-level Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity to make recommendations on actions that the federal government and private industry can undertake to improve cybersecurity and privacy. The president’s budget proposal would also create and fund a new position, the Federal Chief Information Security Officer, and would set aside $3.1 billion to upgrade federal information technology systems. $62 million would be spent on cybersecurity education and training.
President Obama is proposing a $10.25-per-barrel fee on oil to raise $495 billion over 10 years to pay for clean transportation projects that would modernize U.S. transportation infrastructure. $400 million per year would be spent on research, development, and deployment of autonomous vehicles and supporting infrastructure. $600 million would be spent within the Department of Energy to develop regional fueling infrastructure like electric vehicle supply equipment. The budget proposal also includes $6 billion in grants to encourage regional transportation planning across metropolitan and regional areas and $1.25 billion to nearly double the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. President Obama also asked for $280 million to fund the Department of Energy’s EV Everywhere initiative to increase the adoption of electric vehicles, including the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge.
To ensure that U.S. companies have the highly trained workforce they need, President Obama’s budget includes $4 billion over four years to fund computer science classes for K-12 schools as part of the Computer Science for All initiative and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. The budget also requests $500 million annually from 2017 to 2021 to fund a new Community College Partnership Tax Credit to encourage businesses to work with community colleges to fill technology and instructor gaps; in return, those businesses would receive a $5,000 tax credit for each employee they hire from the community college they have been working with.
For More Information