WASHINGTON -- A $10 billion bill that could provide funding to suppliers with fuel-saving technology is due to be introduced in the Senate this month and will probably move to a vote on the Senate floor, a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee spokesman said.
The legislation would create a new U.S. Department of Energy agency to fund companies with fledgling green technologies but inadequate capital to get to market, said committee spokesman Bill Wicker in an interview after a hearing today.
House members haven’t announced plans to introduce a companion bill, and the Obama administration hasn’t endorsed the legislation.
The measure received bipartisan endorsement today from the committee chairman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
“This would focus on new developing technologies and give them the kick-start they need,” Murkowski said at the hearing.
Bipartisan support from the top committee members in both parties typically assures that the panel will pass the bill, Wicker said.
The new agency, which would be called the Clean Energy Deployment Administration, would provide Tier 2 and 3 suppliers more opportunities for federal funds than are now available, said Michael Carr, the committee’s senior counsel.
One example of a likely beneficiary would be a battery-pack supplier to electric-vehicle manufacturers, he said.
The $10 billion appropriation also would cover potential federal losses of 10 percent or less on more than $100 billion in government loans to suppliers, Carr said.
“Funding is the single biggest obstacle to passage,” Bingaman said after the hearing.
In 2009, a similar version of the bill passed the Senate committee and the House, which was run at the time by Democrats. The House is now Republican-controlled.
A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, headed by Michigan Republican Fred Upton, did not respond to a request for comment.