This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) to a home energy efficiency bill that would have eliminated a provision in the legislation providing $12 million for advertising the energy efficiency programs to the public.
The underlying bill authorized a number of programs (including rebates and loans) for residents who make their homes more energy efficient. The bill provided $12 million for the purposes of advertising those programs. The amendment would have eliminated that funding.
Burgess argued that since energy efficiency programs were popular with the public, they did not need to be advertised: “This amendment would strike the $12 million it [the bill] has designated for advertising that will be paid for by the Federal Government. Now, let's be honest. Energy efficiency sells itself. If consumers see lower bills, they use less electricity. It is inherently incentivized.”
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) urged House members to reject the Burgess amendment: “a philosopher once asked: If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and if there is no one around, does that tree make a sound?…Mr. Burgess' amendment raises a similar question. If there is a great energy efficiency program and if people don't know about it, will it help to actually increase energy efficiency? The answer to that question, I think, is no. We actually need to have a plan to spread the word about Home Star to achieve the best results.”
The House rejected the Burgess amendment by a vote of 190-228. 167 Republicans and 23 Democrats voted yea.” 227 Democrats – including all of the most progressive members – and one Republican voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment to a home energy efficiency bill that would have eliminated a provision in the legislation providing $12 million for advertising energy efficiency programs to the public.