Focus on HOME STAR at Meeting of White House Economic Advisers
At a meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) earlier this week, President Obama reiterated his support for the HOME STAR energy retrofit program now pending in Congress, describing the proposed legislation as a “top priority” for the administration.
“This can have a terrific impact at retail level among small businesses, and among young people who can be trained fairly rapidly to take on this work and to do a terrific job,” the President said in his remarks to the board. “We’re going to push hard,” he added.
Also addressing the status of HOME STAR at the meeting was venture capitalist and PERAB member John Doerr, who introduced the program to the board last December. Here’s an excerpt of Doerr’s remarks this week:
I’m going to give you, Mr. President, and the administration, an update on where we stand on this HOME STAR effort, which you remember is something to create jobs in the hardest-hit of our industries, the construction industry, while at the same time we’re using private capital to save consumers money on their energy bills and deal with our energy-independence problems, so a triple win, all three things going.
And it, after your endorsement, Mr. President, attracted quite a range of support from the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, folks also that you might call environmental groups, 3,000 small and medium businesses from every state, and major labor and business organizations.
It’s passed the House. This is really one of those bipartisan bills. And it must pass the Senate. I believe the votes are there in the Senate. They’re looking for, I guess, they call “the right vehicle” to put that bill together.
But I think it’s relevant today because one of the two tracks involves training workers to upgrade their skills and to create a new industry in America, which would be a professional home retrofit industry, and it’s just not very often you get the chance, with a small federal program, to kickstart what I estimate is a $30-$40 billion new American industry whose jobs are never going to be outsourced.
So I know your administration is working very hard to push this forward. That’s our status, and perhaps it could be part of an oil spill bill or some other action before the Congress adjourns.