This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) that would have increased funding by $24 million for renewable energy development programs, and also would have cut $50 million from fossil fuel-based energy (such as oil and gas) research and development. The amendment would have cut, however, $99 million from federal subsidies for oil and gas companies.
Miller urged support for his amendment: “The top five oil and gas companies made $32 billion in profits in the first quarter--the first quarter, $32 billion, 3 months. To that industry Republicans say, belly on up to the public trough, boys; we'll make room for you. The energy research that we're talking about in the EER&E [Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account] is wind, solar, biomass, water--on and on. You know what they are. We need to make some of those technologies work, or we are not going to have enough energy in the future. And in the shorter term, they promised healthy competition for the fossil fuel industry to bring down the cost of energy for Americans. It's hard, in fact, to look at the hostility of Republicans to those industries, to those emerging energy technologies and think a big part of their hostility is not at the bidding of the fossil fuel industry to smother that competition in the crib.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) opposed Miller’s amendment: “The gentleman from North Carolina's amendment increases funding for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable account, a program that I said earlier has seen record increases since 2007 and still has $9 billion in unspent stimulus funds [funds leftover from an economic stimulus law enacted in 2009] in its account from 2009 to spend. On that alone, I oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to do so as well.”
The House rejected Miller’s amendment by a vote of 179-244. Voting “yea” were 163 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 16 Republicans. 221 Republicans and 23 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have increased funding by $24 million for renewable energy development programs, and also would have cut $50 million from fossil fuel-based energy research and development.