This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) that would have increased funding by $10 million for a Defense Department environmental technology program (known as the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, or SERDP) By increasing funding for this program by $10 million, Connolly’s amendment would have provided SERDP with the level of funding requested by President Obama. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Connolly urged support for his amendment: “According to the Department of Defense, operational energy represented 74 percent of the military's energy costs in 2010; and despite a 9 percent reduction in energy use, costs increased by 19.7 percent. Air conditioning alone for American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $20 million each year. Last year's bill to heat, cool, and light 539,000 DOD buildings represented at least $4 billion in direct costs to taxpayers. More than 3,000 American warfighters and contractors have been killed in the line of duty while moving or defending fuel convoys. We cannot continue sacrificing American lives as a result of failing to improve energy use by our military.”
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) opposed Connolly’s amendment: “…This amendment would offer $10 million to restore a cut [to the SERDP]…the Defense Department offered this up when we were looking to achieve $9 billion in savings to reach our allocation. This is one of the areas where the Defense Department indicated that there was no problem with taking a cut. You will hear me discussing this throughout the day and evening as long as we're dealing with this bill. We had to come up with $9 billion in reductions from the president's request. This is a part of where we found the $9 billion. And since the [Defense] Department did not have any objection to this, in fact, offered this up as a possible way of helping with the savings, I must oppose this amendment and ask that the members do so.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 175-241. Voting “yea” were 171 Democrats and 4 Republicans. 228 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have increased funding by $10 million for a Defense Department environmental technology program.