President Obama’s administration wants to pour billions into cleantech innovation domestically in hopes of spurring the national economy back into action. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives, which earlier this week unveiled a scaled back budget cutting plan, went full tilt on Friday by giving into fiscal conservatives’ demands and pushing for even deeper cuts across most government programs, including cleantech related initiatives. The end result for green technology development funded by government monies in a time when national debt is extremely high – anybody’s guess.
In Obama’s corner, the President called for strong pushes across a number of cleantech areas in his State of the Union speech earlier this year, including electric vehicles, renewable energy and high speed rail. The President’s staff is under no false pretenses though in realizing such innovation spurred by government funding will not add to the unbalanced governmental budget crisis, so U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, providing a preview of sorts of Obama’s upcoming budget proposal, said Friday that “winning the future with a responsible budget” will require cuts in other energy areas, including funding reductions in hydrogen technology development and fossil fuel development.
This is all to get ready for what is said to be the administration’s planned over $8 billion for research, development, and deployment investments in clean energy technology programs.
On the GOP-controlled House side, what originally were already significantly proposed cuts by more moderate elements of the Republican Party were driven even further towards cutting to the bone by more fiscally conservative elements which seek a full $100 billion reduction commitment across almost all avenues of government spending. The House Appropriations Committee, to that end, late Friday unveiled its revised budget cutting plan, which looks to have even deeper cuts around energy related programs.
How deep you might ask? According to Politico, which took a look at the massive GOP budget balancing plan, the EPA would be significantly slashed by billions of dollars, while a special Obama advisor position on energy would be defunded completely. Also, other energy and water programs – including ones related to clean energy development – would see over $3 billion in cuts as well.
With clean energy and related cleantech development being one of the President’s top agenda items, and with the GOP-controlled House feeling it has a mandate they “get our nation’s fiscal house in order,” a federal budget battle over how much funding goes into this area – and what might have to be given up in order to get it – looms big time over the nation’s capital.