Senators look to reinstate defense biofuels spending


Sens. James InhofeJames InhofeA guide to the committees: Senate GOP considers ways to ‘modernize’ endangered species law GOP bill would eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau MORE (R-Okla.) and John McCainJohn McCainDrug importation won't save dollars or lives Dem rep Charlie Crist files for divorce Why the GOP cannot sweep its Milo scandal under the rug MORE (R-Ariz.) got Democratic support in the Armed Services Committee to tack amendments onto the spending bill that handcuff the Navy’s ability to use biofuels. Republicans like Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsLeaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP lawmaker at town hall calls on Trump to release his tax returns GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood MORE (R-Maine) have voiced support for biofuels on the grounds of energy independence.

Possible courses of actions in the Senate to reinstate biofuels include explicitly letting the Navy purchase and develop biofuels for ships and aircraft and voting to remove the McCain and Inhofe amendments.

The McCain and Inhofe provisions would block spending on fuels that cost more than traditional fuel and stop funding bio-refineries for boosting production of experimental fuels.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinA package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever MORE said Tuesday he backed efforts to put the biofuels measures back into the bill on the Senate floor.

“I’m all for it,” Levin told reporters.

At issue is a biofuels testing program demonstrated by the “Great Green Fleet” aircraft carrier strike group. The Navy says it needs the program to find alternative fuels that it claims will promote energy security and safeguard it from oil price shocks.

But opponents believe biofuels cost too much, especially when the Defense Department is staring down sequestration, which threatens to cut its budget by $492 billion over 10 years.