House Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water Bill

By Greg Terryn and Sarah Tully

Earlier today, the House Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY 2016 Energy and Water appropriations bill, in conjunction with the release of the FY 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Report. The report recommends spending levels for nuclear weapons activity and programs to counter nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and provides stipulations for implementation. No amendments were offered regarding nuclear weapons or nuclear non-proliferation during the markup.

Nuclear Weapons Activities:

  • The committee recommends that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) receive $8.71 billion for nuclear weapons activities, which is an increase of $526 million from FY15 and a decrease of $133 million from the administration’s budget request.
  • Recommends fully funding nuclear warhead life-extension programs for B-61, W76, and W88 nuclear warheads. The report also expresses concern about the concurrent life extension of the B-61 and the W88 from 2020-2025.
  • Recommends establishing a “Red Team” to evaluate alternatives to the W-80 Life Extension Program (which would be used in a new nuclear-armed cruise missile).
    • Committee recommends that JASONs Defense Advisory Group, or another independent group, conduct the evaluation.
  • Recommends $682.9 million for the security of nuclear facilities, $46.8 million above FY15 and $50 million above the President’s budget request.

DNN and Weapons Activity comparison

FY 2015 enacted FY 2016 President Request House Energy and Water bill FY 2016 recommendation
Nuclear Weapons Activity $8.19 billion $8.85 billion $8.71 billion
Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation $1.62 billion $1.94 billion $1.91 billion

Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation

  • The report provides no new funding for projects with Russia and even withholds the $1 million requested by the President to assist in the disposition of excess fissile material in Russia.
  • The committee recommends that NNSA receive $1.908 billion for its Defense Nuclear Non-proliferation (DNN) programs tasked with preventing nuclear terrorism and the illicit spread of nuclear materials. This is $290.9 million above FY15 and $32.6 million below the President’s budget request.
  • The DNN programs were restructured in the President’s FY16 request to include migration of nuclear counterterrorism programs – a program that was previously under Weapons Activity but is now included in the Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation budget. The subprograms within DNN were also restructured. For clarity on the restructuring and the responsibilities of each program, visit our DNN restructuring analysis.

Defense Nuclear Non-Proliferation (DNN)

FY 2015 enacted FY 2016 President Request House Energy and Water bill FY 2016 recommendation
Global Material Security $424.24 million $426.75 million $422.95 million
Material Management and Minimization $272.92 million $311.58 million $310.58 million
Non-Proliferation and Arms Control $125.85 million $126.70 million $130.20 million
Research and Development $393.40 million $419.33 million $419.33 million
Non-Proliferation Construction $345.00 million $345.00 million $345.00 million
Nuclear Counterterrorism and Incident Response $224.03 million $234.39 million $234.39 million
Legacy Contractor Pensions $102.91 million $94.62 million $94.62 million