The U.S. Senate has taken a surprising move: a bipartisan stance supporting clean energy.

That was in direct opposition to the Trump administration’s campaign to gut the Department of Energy in the 2018 fiscal year budget. The Senate Committee on Appropriations reversed course and actually proposed a $4 billion increase over fiscal year 2017 for a total of $38.4 billion.

The Brookings Institute think tank last week issued a report, as covered in Green Car Reports, on how the committee voted 38-1 to support more funding for renewable energy and for energy-efficient technologies. Senators see the federal government playing a critical role in supporting research and development projects that will later be used by the private sector.

The Trump administration has taken the opposite view, supporting some R&D efforts in the early phase, but putting all the real development and implementation onto the private sector.

There’s also the part about President Donald Trump disregarding the climate change issue that’s a driving force behind clean energy being developed. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord in early June.

The senate panel took an opposing view — that it is the federal government’s duty to spur technology innovations that can face the risk from climate change.

The $4 billion budget increase would go to solar and wind power. Energy storage, bringing more stability to the power grid, was also prioritized by the senate committee.

Economic growth was another rationale offered, with hundreds of thousands of workers being employed in clean energy and energy efficiency. More job creation has been expected in these sectors.

Congress has been more mixed in its views on the Trump administration’s efforts on the vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions front.

SEE ALSO:  Consumers Union Study: Almost 90 Percent Of Americans Want Better Vehicle Fuel Economy

The Environmental Protection Agency last week opened up the public comment period on the midterm review of the corporate average fuel economy targets from 2021 through 2025. The Trump administration is expected to cut back on the fuel economy mandates, which automakers have been lobbying for since the November election.

Automakers are going in the other direction than the Trump administration on clean energy and energy efficiency efforts in vehicle manufacturing and product offerings. A few of them — such as Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and BWW — have followed Tesla’s lead into the energy storage market.

Voters seem to be taking an opposing view on fuel economy and emissions than what most major automakers have lobbied for.

A June survey conducted by Consumers Union found strong bi-partisan support for the fuel economy standards to be kept in place, with 87 percent of respondents backing improvements in fuel economy.

“Increasing vehicle efficiency is strongly supported by both Republicans and Democrats,” Consumers Union said in its commentary.

Green Car Reports