The Energy Department is seeking $8.3 billion in fiscal 2015 funds for nuclear-arsenal activities — a proposed $534 million increase over current fiscal-year levels.
The department’s total budget proposal for the semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration is $11.7 billion, which includes $1.4 billion for naval atomic propulsion systems, according to a Tuesday agency press release. The next fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
“The [fiscal 2015] request provides the resources we need to modernize and maintain an aging nuclear weapons stockpile and supporting infrastructure,” Acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held said in provided comments.
Some $2.7 billion of this year’s budget request would go toward refurbishing aging U.S. warheads, including the B-61 gravity bomb. An additional $1.7 billion would be allocated to the “science, technology and engineering base” conducting warhead life-extension research activities, according to the release.
About $2.4 billion would be dedicated to modernizing the National Nuclear Security Administration’s “nuclear security capabilities,” including further design work for the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 complex in Tennessee.
The requested $335 million for the uranium-enrichment facility would be an increase over enacted fiscal 2014 levels, which at different times have been said to be $309 million or $326 million, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
At the same time, the Energy Department is mothballing an uncompleted South Carolina mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility, which was intended to turn excess plutonium into nuclear-reactor material.
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President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.