Chairman Bingaman is pleased that President Bush tonight signed into law a bill that will fund the Federal government into March and allow for environmentally and fiscally responsible drilling off America’s coastlines. The legislation continues most Federal spending at current levels, including for the departments of the Interior, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency. It also contains key spending priorities which Bingaman strongly supports:
Ø $7.5 billion for a $25 billion Federal loan program to help automakers, battery suppliers and parts makers retool (or build new) factories to manufacture advanced vehicles that meet new fuel efficiency standards. The $7.5 billion is meant to cover default risks for the program, which was authorized in last year’s energy bill.
Ø $5.2 billion to help low- and moderate-income Americans pay their heating and air conditioning bills. The assistance is not only needed to help families currently facing utility shutoffs from the high home heating costs of last winter, but also for families coping with expenses associated with high temperatures from this summer.
Ø $910 million for firefighting, fire restoration and fire prevention efforts. The money will repay all borrowed funds and fund additional firefighting activities through next spring … be used for hazardous fuels reduction on Federal, state and private lands … and fund rehabilitation/restoration on Federal lands.
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