Launched by Gardner, above, and Welch, the 10-member caucus aims to expand the use of energy-saving performance contracts.
A tea party conservative and Northeastern liberal teamed up last week to give energy efficiency efforts a symbolic push in the House by creating a new bipartisan caucus focused on increasing the federal government’s use of private contractors that specialize in reduced energy use at public buildings.
Launched by Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., the 10-member caucus aims to expand the use of energy-saving performance contracts, under which federal agencies pay private firms to make energy efficiency upgrades at their facilities.
Authorized by Congress in 1992, the contracts allow the private firms a share of the energy savings that result from efficiency measures they install at their own initial cost, thereby saving the federal government the upfront capital expenditures.
“There is nearly 3 billion square feet of building space that is owned and operated by the federal government, and by making government buildings more energy efficient we can save taxpayer dollars and give a boost to the construction and energy sectors of our economy,” Welch and Gardner said in a joint statement last week.
In December 2011, President Barack Obama directed federal agencies to enter into at least $2 billion worth of the contracts over a two-year period, an amount that non-government entities pledged to match on their own energy efficiency upgrades.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Federation of Teachers hailed the announcement at the time, but Gardner and Welch said the federal government’s efforts so far have been too slow.
On Dec. 19, 2013, the Architect of the Capitol gave a special media tour of the infrastructure surrounding the Rotunda, and the interior and exterior of the U.S. Capitol Dome. This past fall, the AOC began a multi-year restoration project that will repair the more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies from weather and age, and restore the Dome to its former splendor.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.