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Trump budget cuts renewable energy office, ups nuclear weapons spending

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts spending by more than 65 percent for a research office on renewable energy and efficiency, reductions a Department of Energy official said reflected the success the bureau has had with electric vehicle batteries and wind and solar technologies.

The budget called for the office to be cut by $1.3 billion, compared to the level enacted for 2017, to $696 million for fiscal year 2019.

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“The biggest reason for that is the accomplishments that these individual programs have made,” DOE under secretary Mark Menezes told reporters.

The budget is primarily a political document and is not likely to be embraced by Congress, but it represents a starting point for the administration on negotiations.

Menezes said the DOE is attempting to refocus its mission on renewable energy and efficiency to aid technologies that have a low probability of success, but are highly risky to invest in, calling it a “more appropriate role for the government.”

But the budget calls for the “termination” of the loans programs and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, while maintaining the existing loan portfolio and making sure existing awards are completed.

And it calls for a more than 19 percent boost to the fossil energy research and development office to $502 million for making advanced power systems based on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas more efficient.

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A nonpartisan research institute decried the proposed cuts.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said the cuts “would undercut progress toward cheaper, cleaner energy in the United States and damage the nation’s prospects for global leadership in key growth industries of the 21st century.”

The White House proposed an overall DOE 2019 budget request of $30.6 billion, a $500 million boost from current levels. That included a nearly $1.2 billion hike, compared to last year’s request, for the National Nuclear Security Administration, to help pay for a revamp of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal.

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But the budget cuts funding for the nuclear energy office by $259 million below enacted 2017 level to $757 million. The department handles research and development for advanced reactor technologies.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Grant McCool)

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2020 Election

Here is why these Nevadans are betting on Sanders

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LAS VEGAS — Any doubts that Nevadans wouldn't show up for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were quickly squashed by the amount of people lined up to get into his Friday night rally in Las Vegas on the eve of the Nevada caucus: an estimated 2,020, according to his campaign. One would have been forgiven for assuming the crowd spilling out the main entrance and down the street had lined up to get into one of the city's hottest shows, not a "Get Out the Vote" event. Despite stereotypes that Sanders only draws support from the young (and mostly white), the crowd was visibly diverse in age, ethnicity and race. And anyone who didn't arrive already wearing the requisite Bernie gear had plenty of opportunities to buy some as they waited to enter the venue.

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Breaking Banner

Roger Stone’s dream of booting judge for sentencing comments brutally crushed by ex-US Attorney: ‘He’s met his match’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance crushed any hopes former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone might have that his prison sentence will be voided due to comments made by the presiding judge in his federal trial.

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Commentary

You’re a frog in a pot and Donald Trump is turning up the heat

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

"Trump has instructed his White House to identify and force out officials across his administration who are not seen as sufficiently loyal," reported The Washington Post this week. It's one element in "a post-impeachment escalation that administration officials say reflects a new phase of a campaign of retribution and restructuring ahead of the November election." It's unclear what criteria they are using to define loyalty to this president*, but it's important to understand a few things about this story.

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