What's in Store for Energy in the House-Senate Stimulus Showdown

With the House version of the economic stimulus bill settled weeks ago and the Senate finally agreed on its own version, we’re closing in on a showdown between the two houses of Congress. Now that Senate has ended its internal wrangling, it will meet with the House to hash out a final bill for the president’s signature. After that, it’s dole time.

The biggest fight, the New York Times reports, is expected to arise over the Senate’s proposal to cut $40 billion in state aid from the House version — but there are plenty of differences in energy, infrastructure, and vehicle spending (we’ve already noted a few key energy and efficiency cuts here) that will also be on the negotiating table.

And of course, it doesn’t end with the final compromise. As hedge fund manager T. Boone Pickens said in a release following the Senate’s vote this morning, “[W]e need to make sure that we remember that this is only the start of the effort on energy.” However many billions come out of this thing, there’s a long road ahead. Here’s some of the differences in the bills:

Hybrid Vehicles for Federal Employees:
– House: $600 million
– Senate: $300 million

Hybrid Vehicles for the Military:
– House: $0
– Senate: $200 million

State and Local Government Energy Efficiency, Conservation Grants:
– House: $6.9 billion
– Senate: $4.7 billion

Biorefinery Assistance: Loans and grants for developing advanced biofuels.
– House: $0
– Senate: $200 million

Rural Energy Projects: Loans and grants for the agriculture sector and rural small businesses to improve energy efficiency and use more renewable energy.
– House: $0
– Senate: $50 million

Mass Transit and Rail Projects:
– House: $12.4 billion
– Senate: $11.5 billion

Weatherizing Homes:
– House: $6.2 billion
– Senate: $2.9 billion

Each package contains too many appropriations for us to list them all hear. For a full dollar-by-dollar rundown on the proposals, check out readthestimulus.org. We agree with their tagline: “$850 Billion, 1588 pages, and counting…somebody needs to read it.”

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