This piece was originally published in the May 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Before leaving for its April recess, Congress passed HR 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. Most of NEMA’s appropriations work over the past year has focused on ensuring proper funding for research programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). NEMA Members have a long history of utilizing many of the DOE programs, including the Solid-State Lighting Program, the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), the Advanced Manufacturing Office, and ENERGY STAR Building Portfolio Manager®.
The President’s original budget request in February 2017 contained significant reductions in funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, coal, and nuclear research. By the end of July 2017, both House and Senate lawmakers released their proposed appropriations for America’s energy programs. Since that time, congressional leadership and the White House have been debating a long-term funding solution. It was not until February 2018 when Congress agreed on the overall funding numbers at levels similar to those during the Obama Administration.
NEMA also worked to remove the Burgess rider affecting the ability of DOE to enforce and implement energy-efficiency standards for general service incandescent lamps and to maintain the ENERGY STAR program at EPA. The final result is aligned with our request: The Burgess rider is not included in the FY18 bill, and ENERGY STAR stays at EPA.
NEMA continues to advocate in support of DOE programs that provide value to our industry in the FY19 appropriations process, which is already underway. As soon as Congress returns from its two-week recess, we expect both chambers to hold hearings with agency officials to discuss the FY19 budget request from the Administration. NEMA will post appropriation updates to the NEMA Portal.
The chart below illustrates how our key energy programs fared compared to FY17 funding levels, the President’s request, the initial bills from Congress, and the final numbers for FY18. For more information about the federal budget or NEMA advocacy initiatives, contact Joseph Eaves (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Patrick Hughes (email@example.com).
* Program would offer grants but no longer support the Hubs