This was a vote on passage of H.R. 3221, The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009. That bill authorized federal funding for combined public-private efforts to develop more energy efficient and environmentally cleaner technologies for cars, trucks and other vehicles manufactured in the U.S. The legislation provided $550 million for fiscal year 2010, and called for $10 million in increases for each of the following three years.
Rep. Gordon (D-TN), was leading the support for what he termed a bipartisan bill, which “follows on recommendations of the National Academies of Science and a diverse group of stakeholders and is endorsed by the likes of . . . GM, Ford, Chrysler, the United Auto Workers Union . . . the National Association of Manufacturers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce” Gordon noted the “strategic importance of diversifying our nation's vehicle sector through innovation in cleaner and more efficient technologies.” He then pointed to “the current economic situation (which) has made it all the more difficult for companies to invest in the research and technology development to get us there.”
Gordon argued that the Department of Energy vehicle research programs “play an invaluable role in filling this critical gap” and that the bill “provides a critical foundation of support to ensure U.S. leadership in developing and producing the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies . . . It also makes important investments in areas such as vehicle manufacturing and medium- to heavy-duty vehicles research. It accomplishes this goal through continued partnership with industry and strengthened Department of Energy coordination with other federal research agencies.”
Rep. Hall (R-TX), was leading the Republicans who supported the bill. He said that H.R. 3221 would result in the development of “cost-effective vehicle technologies for wide-scale utilization”, would allow “for greater consumer choice (and) shorten technology penetration times”, would ensure “balance and diversity in federal R&D investment”, and would strengthen “public-private R&D partnerships . . . .”
Rep. Broun (R-GA) led an effort to reduce the new funding authorized in the bill. He said that the government is “spending money at record rates (and) . . . we can all agree that showing just a tiny bit of fiscal responsibility is in all of our best interests.” Broun argued that money had already been approved for similar programs, and: “The American taxpayers and future generations are on the hook for trillions of dollars in spending, borrowing, and interest payments over the coming decades. I'm simply asking for us to show a modicum of restraint. For simply put, isn't $550 million a year for a program that already has multiple funding sources enough? I think so.”
Broun also said “there are some serious concerns with the amount of money being authorized (for other purposes) and where exactly it will go. In recent bills . . . we have provided a lack of appropriate oversight for the money being spent. I do not want to see us make the same mistake with this legislation . . . (and) simply throwing money at a problem is never a solution . . . .”
The legislation passed by a vote of 312-114. Two hundred and fifty Democrats and sixty-two Republicans voted “aye”. One hundred and thirteen Democrats and one Republican voted “nay”. As a result, the House passed and sent on to the Senate the bill providing funding for federal vehicle energy and environmental technology research and development programs.