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Go deeper on the spending bill

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We've already flagged lots of what was in the first spending package. But here are more nuggets to share.

Why it matters: There are teeny policy wins tucked throughout this bipartisan package, which may be one of the only avenues available for lawmakers to get anything substantive done this Congress.

Catch up quick: EPA and Interior offices would get trimmed under the bill, while Democrats' priority programs and IRA spending would be largely untouched.

  • We spotted a few riders, too, including language banning sales from the strategic petroleum reserve to China.

Driving the news: There's way more policy stuffed in the finer details and explanatory statements, including mandatory briefings to Congress on coal leasing and management of specific imperiled species, like the grizzly bear.

  • EPA will also have to brief Congress on new PFAS and renewable fuels rulemakings.

What's inside: The package repurposes a whole bunch of IIJA money — $3.6 billion — for nuclear.

  • In addition to the $2.7 billion for enriched uranium supply we told you about last night, there's support for nuclear workforce training and small modular reactors.

What's not inside: Lawmakers eschewed the Biden administration's request for $65 million to fund Energy Department purchases under the Defense Production Act.

  • They also ditched the overwhelming majority of riders in the House bills that would've restricted specific regulations.
  • That means no more rider on ethylene oxide, which we told you about last summer.
  • Republicans, unsurprisingly, didn't get much in the way of IRA cuts, but it would make more money available to the DOE inspector general to conduct oversight of IRA and IIJA programs.

Between the lines: Predictions of a tough budget cycle for Interior and EPA have come true.

  • Interior's topline budget would be similar to last year's, but a bunch of individual agencies are looking at cuts: the National Park Service, BOEM, USGS, Fish and Wildlife.
  • The package also maintains a longstanding rider blocking an endangered species listing for the sage grouse.
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