A Department of Energy program designed to promote the development of a new generation of battery cars could have its funding cut as part of the effort to rein in the federal budget deficit.
Republican leaders are proposing to shift money away from the federally-guaranteed loan program to help cover the cost of repairing recent storm damage in states such as Virginia – though proponents of the loan program contend the GOP is sacrificing the nation’s need to increase its energy independence. Critics worry that the proposal by House Republicans to slice $1.5 billion in Section 136 loans will hurt efforts to create auto manufacturing jobs.
The Section 136 Loans were created in 2007 with bipartisan support to promote innovation and research in new automotive technologies before the auto bailout in 2009. But energy independence could now fall victim to budget austerity.