A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee spokesman said that this month, a $10 billion bill that may provide funding to suppliers with fuel-saving technology is set to be presented this month.
It is likely to move to a vote on the Senate floor. Committee spokesman Bill Wicker was interviewed after a hearing and he said that this legislation would create a new U.S. Department of Energy agency to provide funding to companies with new green technologies but who don’t have sufficient capital for them to arrive to the market. House members have yet to confirm if they plan on introducing a companion bill.
The Obama administration also hasn’t said if it will endorse the legislation. The measure has gotten bipartisan endorsement from the committee chairman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and the top Republican in this panel, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
At the hearing, Murkowski said that this will put the focus on new developing technologies and “give them the kick-start they need.” Wicker said that bipartisan support from the top committee members in the two parties is generally an assurance that this bill will be passed by the panel.
Michael Carr, the committee’s senior counsel, said that the new agency, which will be named the Clean Energy Deployment Administration, would give Tier 2 and 3 suppliers more opportunities for federal funds. An example of a likely beneficiary is a battery-pack supplier to electric-vehicle manufacturers.
Carr said that the $10 billion appropriation will cover potential federal losses of 10% or less on over $100 billion in government loans to suppliers. After the hearing, Bingaman said that funding is the “single biggest obstacle” to it getting passed.
It can be recalled that a similar version of this bill had passed in 2009 at the Senate committee and the House, which at the time was run by Democrats. The difference is that now, the House is controlled by Republicans.