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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In light of his recent confessions, the speakership of Dennis Hastert is being judged far more harshly. The New York Times' Carl Hulse notes that in hindsight, Hastert now "fares poorly" on a number of fronts, from his handling of the Mark Foley page scandal to "an explosion" of earmarks to the weakening of committee chairmen. "Even his namesake Hastert rule—the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority — has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise."
Even if "[t]he Republican presidential nomination may be in his sights ... Trump has so far ignored vital preparations needed for a quick and effective transition to the general election. The New York businessman has collected little information about tens of millions of voters he needs to turn out in the fall. He's sent few people to battleground states compared with likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accumulated little if any research on her, and taken no steps to build a network capable of raising the roughly $1 billion needed to run a modern-day general election campaign."
Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.
Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."
Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."