Statement by the President on House Passage of Home Star Legislation

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 6, 2010

Statement by the President on House Passage of Home Star Legislation

“The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act is a common sense bill that will create jobs, save consumers money, and strengthen our economy.  I commend the House on passing this bill, and I particularly want to thank Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont for all of his hard work on this issue.   At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work and companies are ready to take on new customers, this legislation will help jumpstart job growth and demand for new products created right here in America.   This rebate program will not only put people back to work, it will lower costs for homeowners who choose to improve their home with products like energy efficient windows, water heaters and air conditioners.  And it will also save consumers money on energy bills down the road.

I’m convinced that the country that leads in clean energy is also going to be the country that leads in the global economy and I want America to be that nation.  I will not settle for anything less than first place when it comes to new energy technologies, and this bill will create the incentives to help us accomplish that goal.  We have workers eager to do new installations and renovations, and factories ready to produce new energy efficient building supplies.  Today’s House vote is an important step forward, and I look forward to working with the Senate to improve this legislation so we can help more middle-class homeowners make these investments without delay.”

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Office of the Majority Leader – HOME STAR

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House passed the HomeStar Energy Retrofit Act:

“After losing three-quarters of a million jobs per month, on average, during the last three months of the last administration, our economy is creating jobs again. Since President Obama took office, monthly job losses are down 96%. We learned just yesterday that private-sector employers added jobs for the third straight month. And we also recently learned that the American economy has grown for three straight quarters.

“News like this demonstrates that our recover policies are making real progress. The Recovery Act cut taxes for 98% of working Americans and is responsible for some 2 million jobs. We enacted legislation that eliminates payroll taxes for every unemployed worker hired, which the nonpartisan CBO calls one of the most effective methods of job creation, and which helps small businesses finance their expansion and add employees. And the House also passed legislation to expand successful bond programs that put Americans to work on much-need local infrastructure projects, and to make it easier to invest in the growth of small businesses.

“All of those steps are contributing to our recovery and helping to put Americans back to work—but as long as so many Americans remain unemployed, our work in Congress is still not done. That’s why the next step in our effort was to pass the HomeStar Energy Retrofit Act, which is projected to create 168,000 new jobs across America.

“This bill creates immediate incentives for homeowners to make their homes more efficient, which has a triple benefit: saving Americans on their energy bills, making our nation more energy efficient, and putting Americans to work in construction jobs that cannot be outsourced. In fact, 90% of the products needed for HomeStar energy retrofitting are made in the United States.

“Americans who want to take advantage of a more energy-efficient home will have access to $3,000 rebates for insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing, and more efficient water heaters. The 3 million families expected to take advantage of this bill will be able to save $200 to $500 on their energy bills each year—a total of $9 billion over the next decade. And every time one of those families makes home improvements, more jobs are created—jobs to build more energy-efficient materials and jobs installing them in homes across America.

“This bill makes economic sense, and it’s supported by some of the leading groups in America’s business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Congress, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Association of Home Builders.

“The Chamber of Commerce Calls HomeStar ‘a worthwhile, incentive-based program to create American jobs and promote energy conservation.’

And the National Association of Manufacturers says that it will ‘spur much-needed consumer demand for energy-efficient products and building materials…quickly creat[ing] jobs in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of energy-efficient products.’

“HomeStar is another step toward a more energy-efficient America—and toward a lasting, job-creating economic recovery.”

Welch Comments on HOME STAR Bill

The following press release was issued today by the office of Rep. Peter Welch, author of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5019) passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives:

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House on Thursday passed bipartisan, job-creating legislation that will help three million families refit, renovate and insulate their homes, while putting 170,000 Americans to work.

Authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019) passed the House by a vote of 246 to 161. The bill, which provides direct incentives to consumers to make their homes more energy efficient, received key endorsements from supporters ranging from President Obama to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Home Star is a practical, common sense investment in job creation and energy savings. By partnering with the private sector and homeowners, this bipartisan bill will create jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail,” Welch said. “Vermont has shown that investing in energy efficiency works. Now the rest of the country will have a chance to benefit from the Home Star hat-trick of job creation, energy savings and reduced carbon emissions.”

Home Star is a two-year program designed to spur home energy retrofits by providing direct incentives to homeowners to install American-made, energy-saving products and conduct whole-home retrofits. The legislation will help three million families save an estimated $200-$500 a year on their utility bills, saving homeowners close to ten billion dollars in the next decade.

Introduced by Welch on April 14, H.R. 5019 was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators, including Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Home Star was based on an earlier bill introduced by Welch last March, called Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (H.R. 1778), which was passed by the House as part of the Waxman/Markey energy bill (H.R. 2454).

Home Star received key backing from nearly 500,000 businesses and organizations. On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Home Builders announced that votes related to H.R. 5019 would be considered in their annual legislative scorecards. President Obama endorsed the initiative last December, and his administration said in a statement Wednesday that it, “applauds the bipartisan efforts that have brought H.R. 5019 to the House floor.”

H.R. 5019 includes two types of consumer incentives. The first, Silver Star, provides up-front rebates for specific energy-saving investments, including insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters. Homeowners receive up to $1,500 per improvement – capped at a total of $3,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost.

The second, Gold Star, rewards homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement measures to reduce energy use. Consumers receive $3,000 for a demonstrated energy savings of 20 percent, plus an additional $1,000 for each additional 5 percent energy savings – capped at $8,000 or 50 percent of the project cost.

HOME STAR Act Passes the House of Representatives

Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts

Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts addressing the U.S. House of Representatives before today's vote on the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010

By a vote of 246 to 161, the House of Representatives today voted to approve the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5019), which authorizes creation of a national energy retrofit program for American homeowners. The vote marks a significant milestone in the progress of the bipartisan HOME STAR legislation, although it’s important to note that the authorization bill passed today must be matched by the Senate, and followed up with an appropriation bill to allocate funds for the $6 billion program.

“We applaud the U.S. House on the passage of the bipartisan HOME STAR legislation,” Efficiency First chairman Mike Rogers said following the vote. “HOME STAR will create good American jobs in construction, manufacturing and related industries. It will help American homeowners improve the efficiency of their homes and save money. And it will provide a solid foundation for our country’s energy policy and energy security. We encourage the Senate to act quickly to get the HOME STAR bill to the President’s desk and get our workers back on the job.”

Efficiency First policy chair Matt Golden added that “Today’s bipartisan passage of the HOME STAR bill in the U.S. House of Representatives shows how when industry, labor, business and environmental groups cooperate, we can find solution for America. HOME STAR will create hundreds of thousands of good quality jobs, while saving families money on energy bills. Efficiency First, representing companies in all 50 states employing over 150,000 American works, applauds Congress’s leadership and vision on this important issue.”

In the past four days, approximately 50,000 HOME STAR Coalition supporters called Congress urging their support of HOME STAR. The difference you make in passing this legislation has been essential to its passage. Thank you for your help.

As attention now turns to the Senate, Efficiency First will continue its strong advocacy for the HOME STAR program, which was designed to stimulate rapid job creation in construction and related manufacturing and retail by boosting demand for residential energy efficiency improvements. More information is available at www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star.

More on Coalition

Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/HOME-STAR-Coalition/107412645950051)  and Twitter account (http://twitter.com/hscoalition)

For more information on HOME STAR specifics

www.efficiencyfirst.org/home-star for all full details

What’s being said

What’s Being Said About Home Star
“Adapting houses to use less energy may be the best hope for the 3.3 million small businesses and solo contractors who dominate America’s construction industry, a sector that has lost 2.1 million jobs since the peak of the housing bubble. The unemployment rate in the construction industry was 24.9% in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with 9.7% overall. The cash for caulkers plan, formally known as the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act<http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:H.R.5019:>, is expected to create 168,000 jobs, according to sponsor Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), citing a McKinsey study.”

-          May 5, 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek, “Small Contractors Await ‘Cash for Caulkers.”

“Many Americans look with frustration at the acrimonious disputes in Congress between Democrats and Republicans, asking themselves: Can these people agree on anything?

Substantive policy disagreements are at the heart of many of these disputes, and we do not minimize them. But when the opportunity for bipartisan cooperation presents itself, members of Congress would do well by their constituents to take advantage.”

[snip]

“Support for jobs, homes and energy efficiency naturally crosses party lines. If Home Star can bring a few moments of bipartisan peace along with its immense economic benefits, then all the better.”

-          May 5, 2010, The Hill, By Spence Abraham and John Engler, “Home Star builds bipartisanship, energy savings.”  Abraham is the former Secretary of Energy and a former U.S. Senator from Michigan. Engler is President of the National Association of Manufacturers and the former governor of Michigan.

“My organization works around the world to promote energy efficiency and, in recent years, we have seen foreign businesses pick up speed as their countries have taken the lead in developing clean energy manufacturing and in promoting smart energy use. Home Star will bring efficiency jobs and manufacturing back to our shores and drive innovation and development in energy efficiency for years to come.”

“I urge you to set aside partisan politics and vote for this important short and long-term economic recovery and jobs legislation.”

-          May 5th, 2010, Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy, Letter to Members of House of Representatives

“HOME STAR is an essential step to help Americans save on their energy bills while spurring the creation of good jobs and new industries that drive economic recovery and help our country achieve energy independence,”
-    Kevin Pranis, Director of Home Performance of Change to Win.

“We write to you as people of faith, on behalf of the communities, members, and volunteers we represent. Our traditions teach us that we each have a responsibility to the well-being of our society and to every person in our society. During these tough economic times, too many Americans are only one job or foreclosure away from poverty. The proposed Home Star program would strengthen the American economy by creating green jobs, saving working families money, and reducing our impact on the environment.”

Newspaper Ads Put HOME STAR Jobs Front and Center

Efficiency First and the HOME STAR Coalition placed advertisements today in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ahead of Thursday’s scheduled House vote on the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. Both ads focus on the potential to create good jobs for American workers in construction and related manufacturing and retail sectors. Scroll down to see the ads reproduced below:

Retail Industry Backs HOME STAR

RILA Encourages Passage of Home Star Legislation to Boost Energy Efficiency, Job Growth
Arlington, VA – Retail Industry Leaders Association Senior Vice President for Government Affairs John Emling issued the following statement encouraging passage of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act.

HOME STAR will provide strong short-term incentives for energy efficiency, establishing $6 billion rebate program to encourage immediate investment in energy-efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and whole-home energy efficiency retrofits.

“RILA members are committed to the Home Star Program and believe in its potential to promote both energy efficiency and job growth.  Strong consumer incentives will help drive market demand and boost a growing energy efficiency retrofit industry that creates new jobs and produces ongoing and measurable energy savings for American families.

“Retailers have demonstrated a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices, from investing in energy efficient buildings, to offering a wide variety of sustainable products. Passage of Home Star will give our customers the additional purchasing power they need to make permanent investments that unlock significant long-term energy savings.”

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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Faith Based Groups Support HOME STAR – Tell Congress this is good

FAITH COMMUNITY URGES SUPPORT FOR

HOME STAR ENERGY RETROFIT ACT

May 5th, 2010

Dear Members of Congress,

We write to you as people of faith, on behalf of the communities, members, and volunteers we represent. Our traditions teach us that we each have a responsibility to the well-being of our society and to every person in our society. During these tough economic times, too many Americans are only one job or foreclosure away from poverty. The proposed Home Star program would strengthen the American economy by creating green jobs, saving working families money, and reducing our impact on the environment.

In this time of economic crisis, we must turn our attention to the most vulnerable members of our society. The recession has created additional burdens for low-income communities already struggling with low wages, high interest rates, and inadequate health care. Home Star would stimulate an estimated 168,000 high-quality jobs over the next two years in the construction and manufacturing sectors, two industries hit hard by the recession. We urge you to ensure that the jobs created provide pathways to long-term employment for low-income workers and communities. Strong quality assurance framework for states implementing Home Star is an important first step.

The Home Star program would also help millions of homeowners save money on their energy bills by reducing their energy waste. Climate change is a significant concern for our communities, our country, and our world. Scientists predict climate change will have serious consequences for agriculture, water supplies, and human health. Low-income families will have limited capacity to respond to these new threats. The Home Star program would offer millions of homeowners up to $8,000 in rebates for installing energy efficient technology. This would help millions of families save thousands of dollars on their electricity bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 615,000 cars from the road.

As we work to strengthen our economy, we must consider the specific needs of rural communities. Before the economic downturn, rural economies were struggling against high rates of unemployment. Rural housing is often less energy efficient than housing in urban and suburban communities. We believe rural communities need targeted programs to that help homeowners improve their home energy efficiency and lower their electricity bills.

Every day, our organizations work to live out the values of our faith traditions. We seek to provide economic opportunity for the most vulnerable among us. But we cannot be successful alone. Our efforts must be complemented with a serious plan of action from political leaders. Programs like Home Star have the potential to create economic opportunity for American workers, save working families money, and reduce our impact on the environment.

We ask that you support and help to pass this important piece of legislation.

[Endorsing organizations on next page]

Respectfully,

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

The Episcopal Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Green Faith

Interfaith Power & Light

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jewish Funds for Justice

Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light

Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office.

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office

Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light

Union For Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth

United Church of Christ

For more information, contact Josh Tulkin, Jewish Funds for Justice

jtulkin@jewishjustice.org, (202) 609-7244