What: All Issues : Environment : Renewable Energy : (H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have eliminated $50 million in funding for research on energy technology. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such legislation is known as a “continuing resolution, or “CR”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs. (2011 house Roll Call 55)
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(H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have eliminated $50 million in funding for research on energy technology. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such legislation is known as a “continuing resolution, or “CR”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
house Roll Call 55     Feb 16, 2011
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) that would have eliminated $50 million in funding for research on energy technology. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such legislation is known as a “continuing resolution, or “CR”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs. 

Specifically, this amendment would have cut $50 million from the “Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy,” or “ARPA-E,” which was established in 2009 to advance research and development on energy technology. Biggert argued that this program threatened to divert funding from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science: “I have always believed that ARPA-E threatens to divert resources from the DOE's Office of Science, the largest supporter of basic research…. In supporting my concerns about spreading resources too thin, now-[Energy] Secretary Steven Chu said the following of ARPA-E in testimony before the Energy subcommittee in 2006: `In funding ARPA-E, it is critical that its funding not jeopardize the basic research supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science…’…I urge my colleagues to join me in cutting ARPA-E funding and in rejecting duplication and stretched resources.”

Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) opposed the amendment: “…It [ARPA-E) is a promising program that already has provided not only research but the taking of the research, the finding of private capitalization, and the developing of products that can go forward. One of the problems that we have found in the past for many years is that the Department of Energy has sometimes great problems in doing the basic research or in funding basic research. It has a difficult time getting out to find capitalization and then in being able to commercialize it. ARPA-E is a process that is small but big in talent which is able to take innovative ideas and is able to research and take them to the next step with private capitalization. It is a program that takes public investment and increases the investment by the private sector.”

The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 170-262. Voting “yea” were 165 Republicans and 5 Democrats. 187 Democrats and 75 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have eliminated $50 million in funding for research on energy technology.

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