Report: Stimulus Weatherization Program Bogged Down by Red Tape

"If you allocate money to weatherize homes, the homeowner gets the benefit of lower energy bills. You right away put people back to work, many of whom in the construction industry and in the housing industry are out of work right now. They are immediately put to work doing something," Obama said at an event in Elkhart, Ind., last year. "There are billions of dollars in this plan allocated for moving us towards a new energy future."

A year ago, the administration said the money would put 87,000 Americans to work through partnerships with the Department of Energy and state and local governments.

In his jobs proposal late last year, the president proposed giving an additional $10 billion for weatherization projects, create new incentives for consumers who invest in energy efficient retrofits in their homes and expand existing incentives for businesses that invest in energy efficiency and create clean-energy manufacturing jobs.

Funding Availability Not the Problem

But Obama administration officials also acknowledged at that time that moving beyond the constraints will determine how fast these weatherization projects can be implemented.

"These are projects that have very high rates of return," Obama's economic adviser Larry Summers said in an interview in December. "They would pay off purely as economic problems, even if there was no energy independence issue, even if there was no environmental issue. So the constraint is not going to be lack of federal budget, the constraint is simply going to be how rapidly these projects can be implemented."

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