, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Biden-Harris Budget proposes $17.5 billion from 2022-2026 to Expand the Weatherization program, which has been characterized by waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars, and has even created health and safety hazards. (Budget of the US Govt. for Fiscal Year 2022, p. 45. The budget doesn’t start until p. 37. The earlier pages seem to be a rosy distortion of the content.) https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/budget_fy22.pdf

This program has existed since the Carter years. Meanwhile, the quality of construction has continued to decline in most of the country. Why not require quality construction instead post-construction retrofit weatherization?

The Department of Energy’s Weatherization Program: Taxpayer Money Spent, Taxpayer Money Lost” STAFF REPORT U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 112TH CONGRESS March 20, 2012, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Darrell Issa (CA-49), Chairman:

Executive Summary

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) $5 billion Weatherization Assistance Program is a stunning example of how the Obama Administration has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars in a misguided effort to achieve energy savings but ultimately commissioning work that put people’s lives and homes at significant risk. The Weatherization Program, as administered by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, has resulted in excessive waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars with very little benefit to show for it.

The Weatherization Program represents the kind of failure that materializes when you have an economic stimulus strategy contingent on asking the federal bureaucracy to absorb billions of dollars when the structural infrastructure to administer, disseminate and manage that influx of new money is not put in place. This report reveals how the Weatherization Program has suffered from poor administration and lack of effective oversight, which resulted in the hiring of unqualified subcontractors who performed shoddy work that left homeowners worse off.

Secretary Chu referred to this program as “one of our signature programs” and President Obama stated it was “exactly the kind of program that we should be funding.” The reality is this program is the signature example of how the Obama Administration’s government-first philosophy has resulted in significant waste of taxpayer dollars and brought very real material harm directly into the homes of the American people.

This report details how DOE contractors left exposed wires in a home, installed windows that were easily pushed out of their frames, left a home with raw sewage standing in a crawl space, sealed a basement that accumulated mold and cat feces, left a hole in a wall, damaged a ceiling, replaced a door with a hollow door and left a house with an unvented kerosene heater.

The reality is the rush to blindly spend billions of taxpayer dollars resulted in organizations with no previous experience weatherizing homes receiving contracts. Entities like the African Heritage Center for African Dance and Music and Prosperity Media Inc. received grants despite not having any previous experience to justify receiving millions of taxpayer dollars.

The stunning lack of oversight of this program by DOE created a situation where no one was checking the quality of the work performed, allowing poor workmanship to go undetected and undeterred. Many DOE contractors did not do the work promised by DOE and many of them actually damaged homes, created hazards and actually made houses less energy efficient. Even the Inspector General for the DOE said the weaknesses of the program “pose health and safety risks to resident.” Read more and see pictures of shockingly shoddy work here: https://republicans-oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Corrected-Weatherization-Report-Final-2.pdf