Senate bill would increase DOE basic energy research funding

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May 22, 2015

A Senate bill (S. 1398) introduced on May 20 would provide an alternative to the energy research funding levels proposed in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, which passed the House on May 19. While the House bill would authorize funding for science and applied research at the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the S. 1398 reauthorization targets only DOE. The House and Senate bills are separate reauthorizations of the America COMPETES Act of 2007.

The Senate bill offers more generous funding than the House version; DOE’s basic energy research budget would increase by 4 percent each year through fiscal year (FY) 2020. This increase would include the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which the House bill would cut by 50 percent.  Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the bill which is cosponsored by six other senators, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Sen. Alexander noted, “Governing is about setting priorities, and this legislation will put us on a path to double basic energy research—one of the best ways to keep good-paying jobs from going overseas—while streamlining basic energy research programs at the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science,, E&E News,

Updated June 8, 2015