1999 Scorecard Vote
Fossil energy use and production are responsible for more than 95 percent of air pollution and most greenhouse gas emissions, while commercial nuclear power plants produce the majority of radioactive waste. Development of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass would lower air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with energy generation. Furthermore, development of renewables would reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil and expand the U.S. economy through technological advances, domestic job creation, and export market growth.
In its proposed fiscal year 2000 budget, the Clinton administration sought to increase funding for the Energy Department's renewable energy programs, but the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to cut the administration's budget request by 22 percent--$18 million less than Congress approved for renewable energy programs in fiscal year 1999.
During Senate consideration of the Energy and Water appropriations bill, Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) was prepared to offer an amendment that would have added $62 million to the Energy Department's solar and renewable energy programs. Opponents of the Jeffords amendment claimed that it violated Senate budget rules because it did not provide a valid "offset" (compensating spending reduction) for its funding increase. On June 16, 1999, in a procedural vote called by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate voted 60–39 to block the Jeffords amendment from being considered by the full Senate. NO is the pro-environment vote.