Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Republicans Wield the Knife

The knives are out. Well its more more like they are wielding axes or even chainsaws, as they pick up the pace in their attack on Obama’s budget proposals.

Late last week, the House Appropriations Committee released a partial list of where it’s wants to find nearly $75 billion in cuts in federal spending cuts.

Many of these will decimate federal spending for renewable energy, scientific research or or green infrastructure investments. Among the proposed cuts:

•    The Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which supports loans for clean energy projects, would be reduced by $1.4 billion.
•     Spending on other energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be cut by nearly $900 million;
•   The Environmental Protection Agency would have $1.6 billion less to spend, making it harder to regulate greenhouse gases;
•    The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, would have its budget cut by $1.1 billion;
•    Eliminating $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail projects.

Representative Hal Rogers, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the cuts “represent the largest reduction in discretionary spending in the history of our nation … We have taken a wire brush to the discretionary budget and scoured every program to find real savings that are responsible and justifiable to the American people.”

Many people would argue that they are neither responsible or justifiable.

Indeed, Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the next fiscal year today. As the President isn’t likely to get what he wants from the Republican-controlled House, resolving these budget differences is seen by many as the biggest political challenge facing Washington this year.

To cap this, a group of Republicans is also proposing to shift funds from NASA’s climate-change research budget back to the agency’s manned spaceflight program.

“With your help, we can reorient NASA’s mission back toward human spaceflight by reducing funding for climate change research and reallocating those funds to NASA’s human spaceflight accounts, all while moving overall discretionary spending toward [fiscal 2008] levels,” stated a letter sent last week to Hal Rogers and Republican Frank Wolf chairman of the Appropriations Panel’s Commerce, Justice, Science subcommittee that oversees NASA spending.

In the letter, the lawmakers took issue with recent increases in climate-change spending, a goal that has been a priority for Obama’s environmental agenda since he took office in January 2009.

“We must not put ourselves in the position of watching Chinese astronauts planting their flag on the moon while we sit — earthbound by our own shortsightedness,” the letter states.

The Wonk Room has a great article picking up on how short-sighted this Republican strategy is, with an article entitled “GOP Announces New Climate Strategy: Abandon Earth”.

The article stated: “Republicans have a new idea: instead of wasting time protecting this planet, let’s figure out how to escape it.”

It continues: “As they are responsible politicians who worry about “future generations of Americans,” they surely don’t intend to stick our children with catastrophic sea level rise, summer-long heat waves of over 100 degrees, superfueled storms and floods, intense droughts, desertification, and mass species extinction without offering them a Planet B”…

You couldn’t make this stuff up, if it weren’t so serious.

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