Generating Home-Grown Jobs for American Workers
While Lowering Energy Costs for Cash-Strapped Homeowners
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, working with a bipartisan coalition of colleagues including Senators Olympia Snowe, Mark Warner and Lindsey Graham, today introduced revised legislation which will create an estimated 168,000 direct new jobs while promoting home energy efficiency. The bill is cosponsored by 20 senators and builds upon similar legislation that Sen. Bingaman introduced in March. Sen. Bingaman and the bill’s other sponsors will be working with the Administration, Senate leadership and Senate Finance Committee to identify offsets for funding authorized in the bill.
Called Home Star, the fast-acting program is designed to drive new private investment into the hard-hit construction and manufacturing sectors while saving consumers money on their energy bills. It provides strong short-term incentives for energy efficiency improvements in residential buildings to help spark more construction hiring and benefit home-improvement retailers, while also helping homeowners lower their utility costs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Home energy retrofits are popular for their job generating potential in the depressed construction industry as well as for their energy savings benefits. A sizable coalition of leaders from the construction industry, energy efficiency and clean energy groups and labor organizations are backing efforts to expand the residential retrofit program in the bipartisan energy bill (the American Clean Energy Leadership Act, S. 1462) which the Energy Committee reported last year.
Sen. Bingaman (D-NM): “Home Star is a comprehensive and compelling proposal to address one of the most important opportunities we have to boost private sector employment and demand for durable goods while cutting both consumer energy costs and greenhouse gases. As Congress considers additional ways to shore up our economic recovery and to accelerate new hiring, I hope this bill’s broad impact and support help it become law.”
Sen. Snowe (R-ME): “Energy efficiency has been identified as the most cost effective method to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, cut carbon emissions, and save money for consumers on their energy bills. Home Star catalyzes energy efficiency into action and includes long-term tax incentives to make their homes state of the art. With Mainers spending the most per capita on residential energy expenditures and living in the least efficient housing stock in the country, I am encouraged that this proposal will spur an industry that will be dedicated to improving America’s energy security. I appreciate the leadership of Senators Bingaman, Warner, and Graham and look forward to working with them to enact this proposal into law.”
Sen. Warner (D-VA): “Home Star will help us achieve substantial reductions in our nation’s overall energy use even as consumers achieve savings on their energy costs and increase the overall value of their homes. With unemployment in the construction industry near 25 percent, and with substantial underutilized capacity in our nation’s manufacturing sector, Home Star also will provide new opportunities for the large pool of skilled workers and certified contractors who are anxious to get back to work.”
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