This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) that would have cut $45.6 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.
Pompeo urged support for his amendment: “ While I am certainly 100 percent behind innovation and the development of domestic sources of energy and new vehicle technologies, this program is simply not the way to do it. We shouldn't take money from one set of citizens to subsidize companies that, frankly, have had subsidies for too long in the development of new energy vehicle technologies. Look, it's a subsidy program, plain and simple. The program is part of this present administration's liberal agenda to replace the free market with government bureaucrats in determining which energy sources we ought to use to propel our vehicles and for transportation. You know, we are already seeing tremendous advances in hybrid technology and electric vehicle technology. In the State of Kansas, we have got folks coming up with wonderful, great, innovative ideas. They are seeking private capital markets to make that innovation happen. We have enormous venture capital firms that have made significant investment in these technologies. Why would the government use taxpayer money to compete with those ventures? They don't need the subsidies. They'll make these things work.”
Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN) opposed Pompeo’s amendment: “You drive by a gas station today and gas is $4 a gallon. All of us repeatedly are asked what are we going to do about gas prices. If we are not going to act as far as price fixing, collusion, cartels, monopolies, speculation, and we can't do anything about the laws of supply and demand, I have indicated to my constituents the thing that Congress can do most effectively for the price of gasoline is help our constituents buy less of it. If we can, through vehicle technology research, help everyone in this country get an extra mile per gallon, we have helped them with the price of gasoline. If we begin to cut back to prior year levels as far as the investment in making sure people can move in this country as efficiently as possible and reduce our dependency on imported oil, we are not going to make economic progress in this country and are going to continue to be held hostage to those overseas who send that oil to us for our dollars that they then use for other nefarious purposes.”
The House rejected Pompeo’s amendment by a vote of 127-296. Voting “yea” were 125 Republicans and 2 Democrats. 184 Democrats and 112 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut $45.6 million from the Vehicle Technologies program, which funds the development of fuel efficient transportation technologies.