This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. John Carney (D-DE) that would have eliminated $50 million in federal funding for oil and gas research at the Energy Department. This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
Carney urged support for his amendment: “…My amendment is simple and straightforward. It would eliminate funding for the $50 million oil and gas research and development program funded through the Department of Energy's fossil energy R&D [research and development] account. This cut… would save the taxpayers money and end an unnecessary subsidy to the oil and gas industry….We should be using our scarce federal dollars on clean energy innovation that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, and to stay competitive globally.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) opposed the amendment: “…The amendment uses a heavy-handed approach in order to shut down important programs at the Department of Energy. Fossil energy sources supply more than 80 percent of our nation's total energy. Using these resources more efficiently and more cleanly and developing technologies that can access new domestic sources are extremely important when so much of our energy depends on fossil fuels. This amendment would stop programs that do just that. For example, it would prevent work like the development of ultra-clean fuels. There may be some areas of research in which the private sector does not need help, but there are other areas of research which are too risky for industry to take on.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 121-300. Voting “yea” were 103 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 18 Republicans. 218 Republicans and 82 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have eliminated $50 million in funding provided by a continuing resolution for oil and gas research at the Energy Department.