Democrats and Republicans are joining hands backing energy-efficiency programs, and the Obama administration is taking notice.
The White House announced Tuesday that it will extend a presidential memorandum calling on federal agencies to achieve $2 billion in energy savings during a two-year period.
The initiative, which has led agencies to identify an estimated $2.3 billion in savings through the implementation of energy-efficiency measures in federal buildings, began in 2011 and was set to expire this year. The program will now continue through 2016.
The decision arrives amid a groundswell of support in Congress for energy-efficiency efforts.
Last month, Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., led a bipartisan coalition of 118 House members and 28 senators in a request that the president extend the initiative. In a letter, the coalition asked the White House to grant a five-year, $5 billion extension of the program.
Welch and Gardner have also introduced legislation that would direct agencies to enter into $1 billion worth of performance contracts annually for five years to boost efficiency in federal buildings.
Reacting to the news that the president would extend the initiative, Welch applauded the decision but commented that the executive branch’s effort should be paired with legislative action. He also said he will work with Gardner to press the administration for a specified target amount in savings.
“The White House initiative needs to have a specific goal,” Welch said. “A concrete goal tends to get better results and it’s much more likely to succeed if we have both a concrete goal and a legislative commitment as well.”
Welch also said he believes the president’s decision will increase momentum to pass an energy-efficiency bill in Congress. “It’s great to see the administration signaling its commitment to this issue. We have the White House backing this and we have broad bipartisan support which is really rare to see right now,” he commented.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton's transition team has in place strict rules to limit the influence that lobbyists could have "in crafting the nominee’s policy agenda." The move makes it unlikely, at least for now, that Clinton would overturn Obama's executive order limiting the role that lobbyists play in government
Federal employees from 14 agencies have given nearly $2 million in campaign donations in the presidential race thus far, and 95 percent of the donations, totaling $1.9 million, have been to the Clinton campaign. Employees at the State Department, which Clinton lead for four years, has given 99 percent of its donations to the Democratic nominee.
Trying to save control of the Senate, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is spending $25 million on six races over the last two weeks of the race. Republicans have been consistently outspent in a majority of the Senate races this cycle. Aside from spending in Nevada, all the spending will come in defense of Republican-held seats.
In an NBC News interview, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the campaign against ISIS will expand to its headquarters in Raqqa in the "next few weeks." He also reiterated that U.S. forces will not be part of any occupation of territory should it be retaken from ISIS.
Priorities USA, the super PAC aligned with the Clinton campaign, which has already gotten involved in two Senate races, is now expanding into House races. The group released a 30 second spot which serves to hit Donald Trump and Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, who is in a tough race to win re-election in Iowa's first congressional district. The super PAC's expansion into House and Senate races shows a high level of confidence in Clinton's standing against Trump.