Democrats: Trump Is Withholding Nearly $1 Billion Earmarked For Clean Energy
President Donald Trump tried to cut funding for grants that provides financial assistance alternative energy, electric vehicles and energy efficiency but failing to find success, the Trump administration reportedly is now holding up the allotted funds.
According to Bloomberg News, congressional Democrats say the administration is withholding $823 million in the Energy Department’s budget and they have accused the president of political interference.
House Science Committee is holding a joint hearing on the matter, the news outlet reported.
The White House targeted the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s $2.8 billion budget for cuts last year, proposing to drop the agency’s funding by 80 percent. Instead, Congress increased the funding, but the office “recently canceled funding of proposed projects and left scores of staffing positions unfilled,” Bloomberg reported.
“When Congress passes a budget, we expect that budget to be followed,” said Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), chairman of the panel’s Investigations and Oversight subcommittee. “It’s unclear to many of us there has been a completely good-faith effort.”
Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said the agency is in the process of hiring more staff and fully intends to spend its funding “consistent with both congressional guidance and administration priorities.”
Republicans on the subcommittee said this is merely an example of carry-over funding and nothing more than "business as usual."
The office — which expanded under former President Barack Obama — “has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves,” Bloomberg noted, and “has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal, and cutting the costs of LED lighting.”