This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would have increased funding for clean, alternative energy technology (such as wind and solar energy) by $100 million. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Energy Department programs and the Army Corps of Engineers in fiscal year 2012.
Markey urged support for his amendment: “Where is America heading? Are we going to compete against the Saudi Arabians, the Venezuelans, and others in the generation of energy or are we going to capitulate? Are we going to just become a country where we're importing oil or are we going to move to a solar future, a wind future, an all-electric vehicle future over the next 20 and 30 and 40 years? You know, this budget that they have put together is really one that gets right to the heart of their argument that they say they care about all of the above. What this budget actually says is it is oil above all. It's still a fossil fuel agenda. It's not a technology-oriented agenda. It's not an agenda that can help us to turn the corner and to create new technologies that move us to a 21st century agenda.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) opposed Markey’s amendment: “…The gentleman [Rep. Markey] asserted that fossil and nuclear energy are yesterday's sources of energy and that we're shortchanging tomorrow's energy sources. Well, in fact, nuclear energy produces 20 percent of our nation's electricity, and even the State of Massachusetts depends on nuclear energy for about 10 percent of its energy. Fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, generate 70 percent of our nation's electricity, and we will use these valuable energy sources for many generations. In fact, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts gets 80 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels. I understand his desire to move us forward, but realistically, we'll be using fossil fuels for decades and nuclear energy perhaps for centuries. And we must ensure that we use those resources as efficiently and clearly as possible.”
The House rejected Markey’s amendment by a vote of 154-266. Voting “yea” were 148 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 6 Republicans. 230 Republicans and 36 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have increased funding for clean, alternative energy technology by $100 million.