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In bipartisan vote, Energy and Commerce Committee passes Welch Home Star bill

April 15, 2010
Press Release

A day after Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019), the bill was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday afternoon by a bipartisan vote of 30 to 17.

Welch's energy efficiency retrofit initiative would create 170,000 jobs and save homeowners $10 billion dollars on their energy bills in the next decade by providing direct incentives to consumers to install energy-saving measures.

"Home Star is a legislative hat-trick. It will create jobs, save homeowners money and reduce harmful carbon emissions," Welch said. "Today's bipartisan endorsement by the Energy and Commerce Committee puts Home Star on track to address our unemployment and energy challenges immediately."

After months of debate, Welch and a bipartisan group of legislators introduced H.R. 5019 Wednesday afternoon at a Capitol Hill press conference. He was joined by several of the bill's cosponsors – including Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) – as well as leaders of the 1,000-member Home Star Coalition.

Home Star is a two-year program designed to spur home energy retrofits by providing consumers direct rebates for specific efficiency measures – including insulation, duct sealing and water heaters – as well as rewards for the percentage of energy saved in a whole-home retrofit. The program, which was endorsed by President Obama, is based on Welch's Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance.

Click here for video of Welch's remark's at Thursday's hearing, here for photos of Wednesday's press conference and here for video of the press conference.