April Jobs Numbers Mixed But Show Improvement

Washington Report: Updates From the Capitol

House Passes Home Improvement Rebate Programs

The House added another item to the Senate’s to-do list on Thursday when it passed by a vote of 146 to 161, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. Supporters, mostly Democrats, said the bill would strengthen the economy by creating more than 150,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail while also helping Americans save energy and money.

President Barack Obama commended the vote, saying it’s an “important step forward,” and that he looks forward to working with the Senate to make it even better.

H.R. 5019 includes two types of rebates. The Silver Star program would provide rebates of up to $3,000 for specific improvements, such as the installation of energy saving appliances, windows, and doors at the time of sale. In the Gold Star program, homeowners could receive $3,000 if they conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement measures to reduce energy use for a demonstrated savings of 20% and receive an extra $1,000 for each additional 5% energy savings up to $8,000.

CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-California) said the bill includes resources for training chronically unemployed people who reside in low-income neighborhoods.  “So it’s a win-win. We are not only helping with energy efficiency strategies. But also providing training and creating jobs in our communities.”

Republicans, who oppose the bill, which has been dubbed “Cash for Caulkers,” say that it isn’t an “effective or efficient way” to stimulate private sector job creation. They successfully attached a condition that the $5.7 billion measure could be terminated if Democrats can’t find a way to pay for it.