The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 16 passed an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act (H.R. 3246) that clarified that the federal research and development program created by the legislation would include research on improving the technical efficiency of RVs, according to the Gary (Ind.) Post Tribune.

Proponents said the economic downturn made it difficult for the RV industry to fund such research, but that continuing to improve fuel-efficiency was vital to preserve the domestic RV manufacturing industry in the future.

Opponents said since taxpayer dollars should be used only on the highest priority energy-saving research, that it would not be appropriate to finance research and development for recreational vehicles. The vote was 369-62.

Also last week, the House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, that would have frozen new spending for the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act at fiscal 2010 levels through fiscal 2013, and would have ended funding in fiscal 2014.

Proponents said that marked increases in federal spending on vehicle and energy technology, economic stimulus and other initiatives this year were already spurring new R&D and that a modest reduction in new spending would have shown fiscal restraint while still spurring R&D.

Opponents said that solid bipartisan support for the spending levels in the act, based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, indicated that the spending levels in the act were appropriate. The vote, on Sept. 16, was 253-179. Donnelly, whose district includes much of northern Indiana’s RV industry, voted with the majority to support continued spending.


Votes: Donnelly, yea;