Energy and Environment Programs at the Heart of Republican Proposed of Budget Cuts
A lot is going on in Washington in the energy and environment sphere as budget woes have made programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DoE) targets for the next line of cuts. Later today, the White House will unveil its 2012 budget proposal, which is rumored to be ambitious and tough. One thing that is sure – the President’s budget will set the stage for a showdown between a divided House and Senate.
House Republicans appear to have targeted federal energy and environment programs as an area where they can significantly reduce government spending and bring down the trillion-dollar federal debt. They are proposing a more than 1/3 cut in the Department of Energy’s efficiency and renewables budget.
This appears to fly in the face of the Obama administration’s desire to encourage clean energy innovation through research and commercialization. The administration is proposing that $8 billion be designated for clean energy technology programs (including the same efficiency and renewable programs that Republicans are targeting for cuts). To save money, the President has proposed a 5-year spending freeze and cuts to more than 200 other federal programs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Policy and Communications Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-New York) say that they are ready to work with Republicans to find a budget compromise. But, as Schumer was recently quoted in saying:
We’re willing to meet Republicans in the middle on spending, but they keep lurching to the right…This is what happens when you pick a number first and figure out the cuts later.