House Passes Pared Down Home Star Energy Bill, 246-161

By May 6, 2010Energy

The floor debate over H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, took a few turns during the last hour. Republicans criticized the bill largely on budget grounds and successfully pushed through a motion to recommit with instructions, (346-68). Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) then stripped out the disputed provisions and the House passed the bill, 246-161.

As far as we can tell, these were the significant changes made to the bill before passage:

  • Rebates now sent directly to homeowners;
  • The $12 million EPA public information campaign was dropped
  • The $324 million Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program was eliminated;
  • Pool heaters were dropped from the Gold Star program;
  • Limited to homeowners with a gross annual income below $250,000.

The underlying incentives for installing energy efficient home modifications and equipment remain. (AP summary, including the too cute and misleading “Cash for Caulkers” sobriquet.)

UPDATE (5:15 p.m.): Here’s the AP follow-up story, which summarizes the changes:

Republicans succeeded at the end of the debate in altering the bill to say it will be terminated if it is found to drive up the federal deficit, a provision that will force Democrats to come up with an offset. The Republicans also were able to alter the legislation so that the rebates would go directly to homeowners. In the original version, homeowners were to receive a discount or rebate from a retailer or contractor, who then would apply for payment from the government.

The National Association of Manufacturers has just issued a statement from NAM President John Engler lauding passage:

Manufacturers applaud members of the House of Representatives who voted for passage of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act. This important piece of legislation will spur consumer demand for energy-efficient products and building materials by providing significant and immediate rebates for home energy-efficiency retrofits.

U.S. manufacturing unemployment has fallen by nearly 2.2 million since December 2007, and the steep decline in the housing market has significantly impacted manufacturing. Home Star will quickly create much-needed jobs in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of energy-efficient products in a recovering economy.

American manufacturers have taken the lead in making energy efficiency a priority. Improvements on this front over the past 40 years have already made our nation 46 percent more energy efficient. The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act promotes job creation and energy efficiency, and we thank the members of the House who supported this measure today.

We will continue to urge the U.S. Senate to act quickly so the bill can get to the President’s desk and signed into law as fast as possible

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