President Barack Obama’s State of the Union on January 25, 2011, waved the green flag for innovation and competition in the clean-tech sector. He proposed a number of programs to speed the development and manufacturing of domestic energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors to help American businesses race with their Chinese, German, and other competitors. But before the president’s proposals had completed their initial laps in Congress, the Republicans’ proposed House “continuing resolution” (or spending bill) for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 waves the yellow caution flag that they would slow down—if not outright halt—the promise of America’s clean-tech revolution and all the ensuing companies and jobs it would create.
The proposed bill would slash clean-tech and energy investments by nearly 30 percent, devastating this growing but immature industry that struggled during the Great Recession. The House Appropriations Committee majority brags that it “cuts climate change funding bill-wide by $107 million, or 29%, from the fiscal year 2010 enacted level.” The proposed budget includes many other cuts that would harm innovation, the economy, and public health.
The previous 111th Congress passed a continuing resolution that would fund nearly all of the federal government through March 4, 2011. The proposed House GOP spending bill would fund the government for the remainder of FY2011, which ends September 30, 2011. The House Appropriations Committee majority claims its bill would cut spending by more than $100 billion between now and October 1. And clean energy, one of the great hopes for American global competitiveness, is one of its biggest targets.
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