On Monday night, President Obama spoke to the American people about the urgent need for passage of the stimulus bill before Congress. In his remarks, the President specifically mentioned the importance of funding for energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings. He said, “When people suggest that, ‘What a waste of money to make federal buildings more energy-efficient.’ Why would that be a waste of money?” President Obama said that making federal buildings more energy efficient would create jobs and reduce government spending long-term.
It’s no coincidence that President Obama mentioned energy efficient federal buildings, recent chatter from Capitol Hill suggests that funding for such projects in the stimulus bills has been cut. On February 6, Glenn Thrush of Politico reported a list of funding cuts in the stimulus bill agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans. In addition to cuts in funding for watershed rehabilitation and renewable energy loans, the list includes a cut of the $3.5 billion for “greening” federal buildings.
Right now, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are working to create a compromise stimulus package that reconciles the differences between their respective legislation. This means there is still a chance that funding for energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings is possible.
Making these changes to federal buildings has a bigger impact on DC than anywhere else in the nation. The federal government is the largest energy consumer in the United States. The District is home to all three branches of the federal government and a multitude of agencies, law enforcement organizations and military operations. The federal government alone employs about 250,000 people in DC.
Investing in energy efficient improvements in federal buildings will help DC meet its goal of training and employing more residents in “green jobs.” Less energy demand by the federal government will mean a reduction in demand for the coal energy that powers, and pollutes, our community. Finally, an influx of funds for energy efficient development will help DC create a green energy sector of the local economy.
Unfortunately, DC doesn’t have a strong voice in either the Senate or the House to fight for this funding. However, because Congress has ultimate authority over Washington, it’s our responsibility as residents to voice support for the energy efficiency program. Below is a list of the Senators and Representatives assigned to the stimulus bill conference committee, visit the Senate’s phone directory website by clicking HERE and let these Senators know that as a DC resident, you support funding for energy efficient federal buildings.
- Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
- Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.
- Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii
- Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa
- Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
- Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis.
- Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
- Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
- Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.
- Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Dave Camp, R-Mich.