A blank check for Homestar

UPDATE (by Jeremy): On Wednesday 3/24, the Energy and Environment Subcommittee passed HomeStar on through to the full committee with a voice vote, without any significant limits on authorization levels. It’s unclear when Waxman will take up the measure, but it should be relatively soon, probably sometime in early-to-mid April.

Some worries about Homestar getting a blank check were brought up in Thursday’s Energy and Commerce hearing. Both Rep. Upton and Rep. Pitts did not support writing the DOE a blank check to implement Homestar. For all they know, the program would be far too expensive. The Senate version caps it at 6 billion.

Rep. Upton believes the DOE is not equipped to run a program of this scale. Plus, there is still a lot of money in the stimulus that has not been spent so clearly money is not the issue. And where does Obama’s spending freeze come into play?

Another concern was brought up by Rep. Burgess who believes that a federal program would not be necessary. If people are shown how they can save money by retrofitting their homes, they’ll do it, says he. He also did not favor the blank check that would be given to the DOE by the passage of this bill.

What also brings up criticism is the fact that the bill picks winners and losers. Only certain upgrades are included under Homestar which seems to point to back room deal making.

However, even though a few concerns were expressed during this hearing, the general tone was in still favor of Homestar.

-Jason

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