FILE - This Aug. 1, 2007, file photo, shows construction crews are seen as they work on early stages of a new mixed oxide fuel, or MOX fabrication facility at the Savannah River nuclear complex near Aiken, S.C. The agency that oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile would essentially be removed from direct oversight under a defense policy bill being negotiated in Congress. The little-noticed provision is opposed by the Trump administration and senior lawmakers from both parties. The report cites series of delays and cost overruns at the NNSA, including a now-canceled project to reprocess weapons-grade plutonium and uranium into fuel for commercial reactors. The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility has ballooned from $1.4 billion in 2004 to more than $17 billion. (Grace Beahm /The Post And Courier via AP)

The Latest: Congress drops bid to ease nuke agency control

July 23, 2018 - 5:36 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on legislation to remove the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Congress is abandoning an effort to loosen Cabinet control over an agency responsible for securing the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

A provision in a defense policy bill would have removed the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department.

Aides said Monday that the provision was dropped as House and Senate lawmakers negotiated a compromise defense bill that could come up for a vote in the House this week.

The Trump administration and senior lawmakers from both parties opposed the nuclear provision, but it was included in a defense bill passed by the Senate in June.

A report by the Senate Armed Services Committee cites a "flawed DOE organizational process" that has led to "weak accountability ... and poor contract management" at the nuclear agency.

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2:30 a.m.

A bill being negotiated in Congress would essentially end the Trump administration's direct supervision of an agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Senate-approved bill would remove the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department, where it's been since its creation in 2000, and empower it to act nearly on its own.

The White House and Energy Secretary Rick Perry strongly oppose the plan. It's also opposed by senior lawmakers in both parties. But efforts to remove that change from the bill have come up short.

A Perry spokeswoman says the change would threaten national security.

The National Nuclear Security Administration has come under criticism in the past. In 2014, a congressional commission concluded that the agency had failed in its mission.

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