Carney: Backers of Ryan budget ‘deliberately ignorant’ on clean energy

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the Republicans who support his budget plan are “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” when it comes to the need to invest in clean energy, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

Carney slammed Ryan’s budget, taking particular aim at cuts to renewable energy programs, a top priority for the Obama administration.

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“You have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One Wednesday morning, adding that he is concerned about cuts to spending on Pell Grants.

“The budget proposed by Chairman Ryan and supported overwhelmingly already by Republicans suggests that those problems exist in the minds of the supporters of that plan,” Carney said.

Ryan unveiled his budget Tuesday, which Republicans said would cut $5.3 trillion in spending over the next decade. Many House Republicans rallied around the budget, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted “a strong vote of support” for the plan.

The budget promotes longtime GOP energy priorities, including greatly expanding domestic oil-and-gas production and rolling back environmental regulations. It also takes aim President Obama’s energy policies, arguing that they put a massive burden on the economy and cost jobs.

The White House blasted the budget Tuesday, with communications director Dan Pfeiffer alleging that the plan “fails the test of balance, fairness and shared responsibility.”

Jeff Zients, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said Wednesday in a blog post that cuts to clean energy programs in Ryan’s plan would ruin “efforts to put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, retrofit residential homes to save energy and consumers money, and make the commercial building sector 20 percent more efficient by 2022.”