Mr. TURNER. Mr. Chairman, I intend to offer this amendment and then request unanimous consent for its withdrawal.
This amendment would restore funding to the most critically and historically underfunded portions of this bill: the defense activities of the Department of Energy as carried out by the semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration, the NNSA. I thought it was important to offer this amendment so that the record of the discussion of this bill could focus also on the importance of funding shortfalls that are occurring in this bill.
The amendment would restore $241 million to NNSA defense activities, our nuclear weapons activities, with an offset from two water project catch-all funding lines, in the Corps of Engineers' account that were not requested by the President. This restoration is critically important to revitalize and modernize our nuclear security enterprise.
I encourage my colleagues to consider these charts that depict the cuts in this bill to the vitally important national security programs:
The FY12 Defense appropriations bill, as reported by the Appropriations Committee, cut Department of Defense spending by 1 percent below the President's budget request, the smaller amount. The FY12 Energy and Water appropriations bill before us cuts funding for the defense activities of the NNSA by 10 percent, including a 7 percent cut for nuclear weapons activities and nuclear modernization.
Again, there is only a 1 percent cut that is occurring as policy to DOD, but as you can see, NNSA, which is a defense activity, is being cut by 10, our nuclear weapons activities by seven. Meanwhile, the energy and water bill increases spending on water projects through the Corps of Engineers by over 4 percent of the budget requests, and that is leaving aside the $1 billion energy supplemental for water projects to address funding on the Mississippi River.
The problem is that nuclear weapons spending is considered part of the Energy and Water appropriations bill instead of Defense appropriations. The funds cut from NNSA support critically needed nuclear modernization efforts that are strongly supported by people on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of this Capitol, and by the administration.
I would like to yield at this point to the gentleman from Louisiana, Dr. Fleming.
Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the amendment being offered by the gentleman from Ohio, which would restore a modest 20 percent of over $1.1 billion in funding this bill cuts from the defense activities of the Department of Energy, which ensures the safety, security and reliability of our Nation's nuclear weapons.
The FY12 Energy and Water appropriations bill sharply reduces overall funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration from the President's budget request by more than 10 percent, or $1.1 billion, while increasing funding for Army Corps of Engineers water projects by 4 percent above the budget request. This is in addition to the $1 billion plus-up in emergency supplemental disaster relief added to the bill for the Mississippi River flooding.
As a Member who represents Louisiana, I can appreciate how critical funding for the Army Corps of Engineers is, but we have to consider those [Page: H4802]
priorities in light of the vital need to maintain our national security which since the end of World War II has rested on the strength of our strategic nuclear deterrent.
The reductions set forth in this measure would significantly impact NNSA's ability to implement the goals and policies established in the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and our Nation's nuclear modernization plans. Most concerning is a $498 million cut that this bill makes to the Weapons Activity account which provides the necessary technical support to ensure safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
This bill also places at risk the timely replacement of Cold War-era nuclear infrastructure, specifically the construction of the Nation's plutonium capability at Los Alamos--the Chemistry and Metallurgy Replacement Facility, which is cut by $100 million out of the $300 million necessary for the FY12 activities.
Mr. Chairman, at a time when major defense spending cuts are on the horizon, we can ill afford to undercut our Nation's last line of defense, which has always been our nuclear deterrent.
I strongly urge support of this amendment.
Mr. TURNER. Mr. Chair, this House has three times previously confirmed our commitment to fully funding the NNSA activities. I would urge that as we go through the process of this bill that this funding be restored.
I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.