Clapper: ‘I Don’t Believe President Karzai Is Going to Sign It’

Amy Harder
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Amy Harder
Feb. 11, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

The House passed le­gis­la­tion Thursday that aims to help rur­al Amer­ica ret­ro­fit homes and small busi­nesses to make them more en­ergy ef­fi­cient.

The Rur­al En­ergy Sav­ings Pro­gram bill, which passed 240-172, provides nearly $5 bil­lion worth of loans to util­it­ies in rur­al areas. The util­it­ies would then of­fer loans to its res­id­en­tial and small-busi­ness cus­tom­ers. Cus­tom­ers would re­pay the loans over 10 years through their elec­tric bill. The pro­gram will be ad­min­istered through the Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment.

The bill was sponsored by Ma­jor­ity Whip Cly­burn, who touted the bill on the House floor after pas­sage.

“This bi­par­tis­an, bicam­er­al le­gis­la­tion is first and fore­most a jobs bill, and it is based on com­mon-sense ideas that can be done in a fisc­ally re­spons­ible man­ner that will pro­tect tax­pay­ers and the Treas­ury,” Cly­burn said. “Let me em­phas­ize that this is a vol­un­tary loan pro­gram, not a grant or re­bate, and the loans are paid back to the fed­er­al treas­ury.”

The trade group rep­res­ent­ing rur­al util­it­ies, the Na­tion­al Rur­al Elec­tric Co­oper­at­ive As­so­ci­ation, praised the bill’s pas­sage as well. “It rep­res­ents an op­por­tun­ity for many mem­bers to con­trol their elec­tric bills by im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of their homes and farms,” said Glenn Eng­lish, the as­so­ci­ation’s CEO, in a state­ment. “It should provide a huge be­ne­fit to those who are strug­gling to meet their monthly bills in dif­fi­cult eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances.”

The loans is­sued will be between $3,000 and $7,500 and will cov­er seal­ing, in­su­la­tion, heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems, boil­ers, roofs and oth­er sim­il­ar build­ing im­prove­ments.

CBO scored the bill as budget-neut­ral be­cause the util­it­ies are re­quired to pay back the loans even if its cus­tom­ers can­not, a spokes­per­son for the ma­jor­ity whip said. A sim­il­ar bill that passed the House in May, called Home Star, cost $6 bil­lion.

Un­like Thursday’s bill, Home Star is a pro­gram of­fer­ing homeown­ers re­bates — not loans — to ret­ro­fit their homes to make them more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. Since Home Star is not a loan pro­gram, Re­pub­lic­ans charged it was yet an­oth­er bill Demo­crats passed that they can’t pay for. And some Re­pub­lic­ans charged Thursday that this latest bill — dubbed Rur­al Star — is un­ne­ces­sary giv­en Home Star had passed already.

Rur­al Star now joins Home Star in wait­ing for ac­tion in the Sen­ate. Home Star has been in­cluded in le­gis­la­tion Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Re­id has at­temp­ted to bring to the floor, but giv­en it has been at­tached to more con­tro­ver­sial en­ergy le­gis­la­tion; he has not been able to get 60 votes needed for pas­sage. Re­id has said he hopes to bring at least Home Star and a meas­ure in­centiv­iz­ing the use of nat­ur­al gas in vehicles to the floor be­fore the end of the year, but much re­mains in flux and will largely be de­term­ined by the out­come of the midterm elec­tions.

What We're Following See More »
WON’T INTERFERE IN STRUCTURING NSC OFFICE
White House to Give McMaster Carte Blanche
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
NAIVE, RISK TAKER
Russia Compiling Dossier on Trump’s Mind
17 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."

Source:
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
4 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
REVERSES OBAMA RULE
House Votes to Let States Block Planned Parenthood Funds
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login