Comparing the positions of President Trump and Vice President Biden on low-income energy programs doesn’t really take very long. There is no need to peer at policy papers or review legislation. Here’s what we know:
President Trump – The President has proposed to eliminate WAP in each of his budgets. There have been no comments on the Program from his campaign to our knowledge.
Vice President Biden – Biden has proposed to structure an effort to deal with climate change through an economic stimulus package. It’s another run at driving the creation of additional green jobs, already a growth area in the U.S. economy. Polls show that 82% of Americans want the U.S. to transition to 100% clean energy.
The plan includes specific proposals for WAP. Under the plan, the national network would be charged with weatherizing 2 million homes over the next four years, a tripling of the target under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). Ultimately, the homes weatherized under ARRA topped 1 million, but it took almost four years.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur included language in this year’s energy appropriations bill that would have provided $3 billion for WAP. This was viewed by many observers as a placeholder for a COVID-19 stimulus bill, which never happened. Still, it indicates a Biden Administration and the House Appropriations Committee leadership are on the same page regarding a massive expansion of WAP.
The current Republican-held Senate holds less promise. Senators Murkowski and Collins have been long-time champions of WAP, and have ensured that the Administration has not disrupted or delayed program funding, but a Republican Senate is unlikely to support large increases in the WAP budget. Democratic control of the Senate would make it much more likely Biden could pass his economic development and climate change package.
We’ll stay in touch. 2021 will definitely be interesting!