Mar 22, 2018

Congress rebuffs Trump on green energy cutbacks

A field of solar panels in Germany. Photo: Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

The newly-released Capitol Hill government spending plan rejects the White House's push to sharply cut renewable energy R&D and kill an Energy Department program that seeds breakthrough technology innovation.

Why it matters: There's little GOP appetite on Capitol Hill for the White House's energy spending agenda, even as Republicans largely support the Trump administration's efforts to unwind regulations and expand fossil fuel development.

A few numbers: The sweeping fiscal year 2018 spending plan would . . .

  • Provide over $2.3 billion for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, an increase over current levels that rejects the White House's proposal to cut funding by two-thirds.
  • Provide $353 million for DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency — a roughly $48 million boost that bats aside the White House effort to end the program that's popular on both sides of the aisle.
  • Increase funding for DOE's fossil energy arm to roughly $727 million, in contrast to the White House request for a cut in its fiscal year 2018 request. The Office of Fossil Energy includes work to develop low-carbon coal tech.
  • DOE's Office of Science would see an $868 million boost to $6.26 billion, per Science Magazine — instead of the 15% cut the White House wanted.

Our thought bubble: While the White House budget plan is always DOA, it nonetheless helps to set parameters around decisions. So that's one reason — though hardly the only one — that advocates for a huge increase in clean tech R&D spending won't have traction anytime soon.

Go deeper: This Washington Examiner piece looks at EPA funding and the bill's mandate for another round of sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Go way deeper: You can read the whole 2,232 page, $1.3 trillion federal spending bill here.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to compare the omnibus to the White House's FY 2018 proposal and not FY 2019 proposal.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow30 mins ago - World

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World