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GAO: Trump Admin. Improperly Withheld Funding for Energy Research

Image: GAO: Trump Admin. Improperly Withheld Funding for Energy Research
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By    |   Wednesday, 13 December 2017 02:26 PM

President Donald Trump's administration inappropriately withheld funding from a research office in the Department of Energy, a government watchdog group reports.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the Trump administration improperly withheld $91 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. In Trump's first budget proposal, he suggested that the office be shuttered by 2019, and earlier this year failed to allocate $91 million in obligated funding, though that is "now available" to ARPA-E.

"ARPA-E told us that it withheld the obligation of $91 million in FY 2017, per the Department of Energy's instructions, in anticipation of the enactment of the legislative proposals in the budget request," reads the report, signed by GAO general counsel Thomas H. Armstrong.

"Since the purpose here is to ensure funds are made available for obligation and we have confirmed that the agency has done so, we are not transmitting a report to Congress under the Impoundment Control Act. In the past, we have declined to transmit a report to Congress under similar circumstances," the report concludes.

"The Department of Energy's recent apportionment schedule and allotment record show that all of ARPA-E's unobligated balances from previous fiscal years are currently available for obligation. ARPA-E officials also orally confirmed that the budget authority is now available."

The GAO began investigating the lack of funding after prompting from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, the ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

"I hope that the administration now understands that federal agencies must provide lawfully directed appropriations to the programs to which they are dedicated," Johnson said in a statement, according to The Hill. 

"It cannot attempt to shut down an agency or starve a program it doesn't like by withholding funds. It is illegal and we in Congress will not allow it."

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President Donald Trump's administration inappropriately withheld funding from a research office in the Department of Energy, a government watchdog group reports.
gao, trump, withheld, funds, energy, research
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2017-26-13
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 02:26 PM
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