During the campaign, President Biden said he wanted to weatherize 2 million households. That would cost more than $10 billion. The National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) recently asked us for feedback on what modifications we would recommend to WAP to make President Biden’s ramp-up smoother than ARRA. (Should we call this ARRA 2.0?) You may recall that I asked for feedback from the network, and got quite a bit of it. The final version of those recommendations was sent to you last week.
Now it appears that the WAP expansion and other investments to counter climate change will be paired with a stimulus bill ala ARRA. The Administration is looking at a ten-year time frame, but that is meaningless. There are really only four years of appropriations President Biden is guaranteed to effect.
My educated guess is around $3 billion in new money. That was the placeholder that Rep. Kaptur put in the House-passed FY 2021 Energy & Water Appropriations Bill last year. DOE traditionally has discretion over the time period in which the funds can be spent, though ARRA put a three-year time limit on the funding which was subsequently extended. It ultimately took five years to spend out the WAP ARRA funds, though Ohio did it in 27 months.
So what do we know now?
Will we get more money? Definitely yes.
Will it be multiyear? Yes.
When will we know? Probably in the next three months, six at the most. If it doesn’t happen by then, it means there is a stalemate in the Senate and no thoughtful consideration of policy or funding.