Though it is unlikely to get past the U.S. Senate or the veto pen of President Obama, publications such as Green Building Chronicle and a few daily papers over the past week have been reporting that GOP lawmakers are floating proposed cuts to weatherization programs, transit funding and fuel and climate studies.
They are included in the “Spending Reduction Act of 2011” that purports to save $2.5 trillion in spending over the next decade.
This is not a shocker, but to see it all laid out by the Republican Study Committee is a little breathtaking. The Act would slash $530 million (the RSC’s figure) from Department of Energy grants that are awarded to states for weatherization programs. You know, the ones that train low-income or jobless people to better insulate homes, saving homeowners money and saving energy while putting people to work? And to re-train out-of-work men and women who previously making a living in the trades?
The GOP would also cut another $1.27 billion (with a “b”) in applied research at the DOE and, and $52 million from the Energy Star Program. It would take away more than $1.5 billion in Amtrak subsidies.
This could, if it came to fruition, have a major impact on Philadelphia projects that are considered models for the rest of the nation, such as the work going on at the Energy Coordinating Agency and its new, regional EnergyWorks program, aimed at to helping “all homeowners in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester counties increase the energy efficiency of their homes by providing a $300 rebate, low-interest loans, and referrals to certified energy auditors and contractors for home energy efficiency retrofits.”
As Grist notes, there are no proposed cuts to the national defense budget or to the Department of Homeland Security, which together receive well over $700 billion annually.
As we say, this is not surprising, since GOP leaders like John Boehner have called weatherization programs things like “Cash for Caulkers” that amount to “wasteful government spending.” But look at the list and you’ll see plenty of tech development stuff to be cut, along with anything that smacks of fossil fuel research.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, naturally, are targeted for $167.5 million in annual cuts, or “savings.” Each.
Somehow, these got in there, too:
- “End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services”
- “Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act” (established in 1931 to require the payment of locally prevailing wages and benefits for all federal public works projects)
Oddly, there are no figures attached to these latter two.
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