Terminate the Weatherization Assistance Program

  • Potential 10 Year Savings: $2.1 Billion
  • Sponsor: Rep. Chuck Fleischmann
  • Legislation: H.R. 3441
  • Status: Introduced

The Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program was established during the energy crisis of the 1970s as a means of reducing American dependence on imported foreign oil. States and community organizations receive funds from the program to improve insulation and energy efficiency in private homes. The program targets low-income households. It is duplicative, given other federal programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) help poorer households manage energy costs. The program has received more than $200 million annually in recent years. However, the Obama administration's 2009 failed economic stimulus law provided $5 billion for the program in 2009 alone. The Department of Energy Inspector General's review of how the program spent stimulus funds revealed poor workmanship in funded energy retrofits, which posed potential dangers to home occupants. The IG also found numerous examples of inflated costs billed to the program, work paid for but not done, preferential treatment for family members of program officials, and rampant mismanagement in several state programs. The State of Delaware suspended its program due to fraud and mismanagement.