LAS VEGAS--Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is “sure” President Obama will offer specific proposals for boosting energy-related jobs in next week’s big speech on job creation.
The Nevada Democrat, speaking to reporters at his annual Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, said he is urging Obama to make the green jobs push as big as possible, and will continue to make the case in meetings with the president before the speech. John Podesta, president of the liberal group Center for American Progress, which has close ties to the White House, said he also is urging Obama to announce new green jobs initiatives.
Reid and Podesta met on Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden, the event’s keynote speaker, in part to press the administration for a renewable energy jobs agenda.
In an interview with National Journal, Podesta said he is urging Obama to back short-term, politically possible measures, including funding for an Energy Department-run rebate program for investment in energy-efficient retrofits of homes and residential buildings. Advocates of the proposal, known as Home Star and “Cash for Caulkers,” say it would rapidly create construction and manufacturing jobs. Podesta also is pushing for the federal government to retrofit homes and buildings that have been repossessed in foreclosures, and then either rent them or sell them to nonprofit organizations.
“Get those... retrofits going, get those home products rolling out the door," Podesta said. “I think there will be a lot of the support for this in Home Depots and Walmarts-–90 percent of that content is made domestically.”
Podesta noted that he is not asking Obama to announce sweeping energy policies like a clean electricity mandate, which the president has characterized as a major engine of job creation. Such a policy has virtually no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House, and would take years to generate new jobs even if it did somehow become law.