The House has approved a bill to fund the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and related agencies following a second marathon day of debate. However, the White House has already threatened to veto the legislation if it gets that far, citing the cuts to clean energy funding.
“The bill would leave U.S. competitiveness at risk in new markets for clean energy industries such as advanced vehicles, advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency for homes and businesses, and domestic renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass,” the White House said in a statement earlier this month.
The final vote on the $30 billion plus bill was 227-198. About one third of the 66 amendments that came to a vote were adopted, most of which aim to block or encourage various policy changes. Eight amendments succeeded in shifting about $114 million in spending authority within the bill, mostly in increments of less than $20 million.
Democrat strategy was to offer a handful of big-ticket amendments during the two days of debate that sought to undo the large cuts proposed to clean energy, science and research accounts by shifting funds away from weapons programs that were funded in excess of the Obama administration’s requests. The efforts failed primarily on party-line votes.
The $30 billion bill was passed by committee last week on a party-line vote and is likely to reach the House floor on Tuesday. It contains billion of dollars less than 2013′s enacted levels, as well as the Senate’s version for 2014 and recommendations from President Obama’s budget.
Wind energy funding is a prime example of the disconnect between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to energy legislation. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, offered an amendment to prevent any funding to DOE’s wind energy programs. Those already faced a $69 million cut, to $24 million.