This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) that would have cut $26.5 million from the Vehicle Technologies program, which funds the development of fuel efficient transportation technologies. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Energy Department programs and the Army Corps of Engineers in fiscal year 2012.
Broun urged support for his amendment: “Beyond concerns with how this program is run and how the dollars are being spent, this program should not be funded or run by the federal government. This type of program is best served by the private sector or local and State governments. Despite the management concerns, the Department of Energy has recently announced its intention to broaden the scope of the Vehicle Technologies…[program] to also include the National Clean Fleets program. One mission of this program is to assist Fortune 100 companies to upgrade their commercial fleet. Is this really an appropriate use of federal dollars when we are facing a $1.6 trillion deficit? Is it really appropriate to be helping companies such as Enterprise, GE, and Ryder upgrade their fleets to electric or alternative fuel vehicles? The answer to these questions, in my opinion, is no. In fact, I think most of the American people believe the answer to those questions is no.”
Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN) opposed Broun’s amendment: “…Someone who I have a great deal of respect for, my senior Senator in the state of Indiana, Senator Lugar, has always characterized our energy problem as a national security problem. I think we all recognize it is an economic problem. We can debate the environmental aspects. I happen to think it is an environmental problem myself. But I don't think anyone can dispute the fact that it is a national security issue, relative to where we are buying so many of our petroleum products. And to gain energy independence, we are going to need a different and more diverse matrix of energy sources. Seventy percent of our energy today is created through coal and natural gas, and that cannot continue. That is not healthy for our nation. It is not healthy for our economy. It is not healthy for our national security. We need to diversify. In this instance, the committee has recognized our fiscal responsibility but continues to make an investment in our economic, our job, and our energy futures.”
The House rejected Broun’s amendment by a vote of 131-292. Voting “yea” were 130 Republicans and 1 Democrat. 185 Democrats and 107 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut $26.5 million from the Vehicle Technologies program, which funds the development of fuel efficient technologies.