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Home Star Energy Retrofit Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ELLSWORTH. Madam Chair, I rise today in objection to ineffective and wasteful government spending, and to thank my Colleagues for accepting my common-sense proposal to the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010.

As I traveled throughout Indiana's 8th Congressional District over the last few months, I came across many community leaders who expressed concern to me about the wasteful government spending they were witnessing firsthand. In particular, they were alarmed by the numerous boxes full of so called ``promotional items'' they received from the Census Bureau. Although the local leaders and I both acknowledged the critical importance of the Census count, we could hardly see how government spending on embroidered shirts, coffee mugs, CD cases, and lunch bags was an effective use of taxpayer dollars--all items that were received in large quantities by the communities throughout Indiana's 8th Congressional District.

As a result of this experience, I demanded detailed information on the promotional budgets of several federal departments, including the Census Bureau, in order to raise awareness of this kind of government spending. The results I found were startling on many fronts. For example, I was outraged when I learned the Chicago Region of the Census Bureau alone spent $3,841,317 on ``promotional items.''

And I made it a priority to ensure this type of wasteful and ineffective spending never again gets through this Congress.

So today, I had the opportunity to fulfill my commitment through the Home Star bill. I support the overall bill. It will help thousands of my constituents significantly reduce their home energy bills, and it will create many jobs in the home construction and manufacturing sector. However, I was deeply concerned when I found a section of the bill that provided funding for an ``Educational Campaign.'' To me, this section of the bill left open the very real possibility of more wasteful government spending on things like embroidered t-shirts and coffee mugs.

That's why I offered language to ensure this bill will not allow for spending on promotional items, and I want to thank Chairman Henry Waxman and the Energy and Commerce Committee staff for working with me on this important taxpayer protection.

Madam Chair, as we seek to address the many challenges facing our nation, we must be vigilant about putting a stop to ineffective and wasteful spending. Finding new ways--large and small--to trim government spending will play a large part in moving our government in the right direction. I pledge to continue to do my part here in Washington, and I will continue to depend on my constituents to inform me of the wasteful government spending they experience in everyday life. We must all work together to restore fiscal sanity to our budget and get our country back on track.


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