Democrats failed repeatedly Wednesday night to add renewable energy funding to fiscal 2018 funding bill at the expense of the nation's nuclear weapons' stockpile and fossil fuel research.
"Fossil fuel is a dead end for America," said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., in introducing one of four amendments attempting to increase funding for the Energy Department's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.
Polis' amendment was the last attempt during the floor debate and mark up of the $789 billion spending bill. His rider sought to restore the renewable energy office to fiscal 2017 spending levels of $986 million. It takes the money from the Energy Department's fossil fuel program and the nuclear weapons stockpile that the agency also manages.
Nuclear weapons spending is a waste of money when considering the U.S. already has enough nuclear bombs to destroy the world seven times over, Polis said. The nuclear weapons program that the Energy Department runs is not needed, he added.
"We are losing the forest through the trees" by not funding renewable energy, Polis said.
Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's energy panel, said the weapon programs are needed. "We did the best we could" to manage the renewable energy office in light of the need for a nuclear deterrent, Simpson said.
In addition, Simpson said fossil fuel use will only go up, not down, in the coming decades.
The Polis amendment failed by voice vote.