The House on Wednesday rejected 110-310 a proposal to eliminate all funding for Department of Energy programs to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill Democrat forces vote over GOP lawmaker's poster on House floor House GOP backs three-week funding bill MORE's (R-Ala.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Energy-Water appropriations bill would cut all $1.7 billion in funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.

Byrne said the money would be better used toward reducing the deficit.

"The reason we have a deficit is because we're spending money we don't have," Byrne said. "We've got to start prioritizing our spending. And this is one place we can start."

But Rep. Mike SimpsonMIchael (Mike) Keith SimpsonHouse retirement sets off scramble for coveted chairmanship The Hill's 12:30 Report Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks MORE (R-Idaho), the chairman of the House Energy-Water Appropriations subcommittee, argued the government should invest in renewable energy.

"I like renewable energies. I think they're cute. They provide a small portion of our overall energy demand and I don't see that increasing a whole lot," Simpson said. "But they are going to be a very important part of an overall energy strategy."

The Energy-Water appropriations bill is being considered under a process that allows members to offer an unlimited number of amendments. Passage of the bill is not expected until Thursday.