This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation authorizing rebates for energy efficient renovations in private residences.
The underlying bill authorized a total of $6 billion to be spent over two years on initiatives intended to make private homes more energy efficient. The government would provide rebates for such energy efficiency improvements. The rebate would be given to the contractors responsible for the renovations. Those contractors would then be required to pass on the value of that rebate to their customers. The measure authorized rebates of up to $1,500 for certain installations, such as energy-efficient doors and storm windows. Those who make their homes 20% more energy efficient would be eligible for a rebate of up to $3,000. In addition, the bill established the Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program. This program provided states with funds to offer loans to individuals who want to make their homes more energy efficient, but cannot afford the needed renovations.
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) argued the bill would not only reward environmentally sound practices, but also create jobs: “ As our nation continues its economic recovery, we must continue to focus on job creation. By increasing energy efficiency, we will not only create jobs and incentivize the emerging clean technology industry but also reduce carbon pollution and cut costs for customers. H.R. 5019 would increase residential efficiency and create almost 170,000 jobs nationwide, thereby reducing the current 25 percent unemployment rate in the construction sector.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) criticized the bill, arguing it was wasteful: “This bill would provide tax rebates to participating contractors and vendors who would perform qualifying energy-saving measures that meet efficiency and insulation targets in federal standards. That's a whole lot of words for a program that in essence is too expensive, unnecessary, and I believe a waste of taxpayer dollars, especially at a time when growing deficits are causing this country to have failing markets and confidence in this government.”
The House agreed to the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill by a vote of 229-182. 229 Democrats voted “yea.” 171 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation authorizing rebates for energy efficient renovations in private residences.