Democrats are digging in against cuts to clean energy research as lawmakers again face a deadline to replace billions of dollars in spending reductions from sequestration.

The “fiscal cliff” deal that lawmakers struck this week delayed the sequestered budget cuts until March, buying Congress a few more weeks to negotiate an agreement to stop them.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the across-the-board cut from sequestration should be stopped, but remain deadlocked about what programs should get the axe instead.

The stakes are high for the Energy Department (DOE), which would see its budget slashed 8.2 percent if sequestration were allowed to take effect.

Democrats are vowing to protect funding for clean energy research in a sequestration deal, arguing the spending is critical for the environment and the country’s economic future. Democrats are also vowing to protect programs in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

“The air we breathe, the water we drink, the energy we generate, and the environment in which we live should not be compromised by funding cuts now, or ever,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) told The Hill in a statement. “There is bloated government spending that must be cut, but this is not the place for it, not when the sustainability of our people and our planet is at stake.”