U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in a letter to Senate leaders today are urging the Senate to move forward promptly on a federal spending bill that would protect thousands of Department of Energy jobs at key sites such as Tennessee’s Y-12 National Security Complex.
With the fiscal year ending September 30 and the Congress having yet to pass a final version of the annual Energy and Water Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2008, DOE must make funding plans based on the lowest possible funding levels. In this case, DOE would be forced to go with the funding levels included in the spending bill passed by the House of Representatives, which are $600 million lower than the funding levels included in the version of the spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Employees at energy facilities across the country, such as Y-12, have been notified their jobs are in jeopardy.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee on which I serve has recommended to the full Senate a bill with a higher spending level that could help save these Y-12 jobs,” Alexander said. “I am doing all I can to bring that bill to a vote promptly in the Senate and will do my best to recommend that the House of Representatives agree to the Senate’s higher funding number.”
“By failing to pass an Energy and Water bill we are putting thousands of workers at Y-12 at risk of being laid off,” said Corker. “These workers deserve to know that we in Congress will do our jobs and complete work on this spending bill to provide sufficient funding as soon as possible.”
In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), Alexander and Corker asked the Senate leaders to schedule for Senate action the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to avoid these potential layoffs of National Nuclear Security Administration employees.
“This is a matter of great importance to Tennessee and many other states across the country, and requires the Senate’s immediate attention,” the letter states.