Press Release

Consumer, Housing, and Energy Groups Call on Senate to Vote No on Amendment that Would Raise Families’ Energy Bills

October 23, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) called on the Senate to oppose Senator Marco Rubio’s amendment blocking the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from implementing the updated minimum energy efficiency standards for new housing financed by HUD programs. HUD estimates its proposal would save an average of almost $15,000 in energy bills for a single-family home, and more than $5,000 in energy bills on average for apartments and condos.

ACEEE, NCLC, and HAC have been on the forefront of the fight to update energy codes to lower costs for Americans and improve climate resilience. Last week, the groups joined over 30 organizations in a letter opposing the Rubio amendment. Additionally, in a bipartisan vote on July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Senator Rubio serves, voted 29-0 to approve HUD’s FY2024 appropriations bill with a provision urging HUD to “expeditiously issue a final determination regarding the adoption of updated minimum energy efficiency standards, as required under 42 U.S.C. 12709.”

“This amendment would lock in energy waste in new homes for decades to come and force families to pay needlessly higher utility bills,” said Mark Kresowik, Senior Policy Director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “People with low incomes already spend a disproportionate share of their income on energy bills, and this amendment would exacerbate the problem. After nearly a decade of delay, the federal government is finally updating energy efficiency standards as required by a bipartisan energy law enacted in 2007. The Senate should not stand in the way of energy affordability for American families and should instead reject this misguided amendment.”

“This amendment would undermine key efforts to lower utility bills for low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters, and higher energy bills increase the risk of foreclosure and eviction,” said Alys Cohen, Senior Attorney, National Consumer Law Center. “We urge the Senate to reject this amendment and support stronger energy efficiency building codes, climate resiliency, and affordable housing.” 

“Mortgages and rent payments are already too high for far too many families, and this amendment would add insult to injury by keeping utility costs unnecessarily high. Updated energy codes will reduce utility costs and save money for homeowners and renters. We urge senators to reject the amendment,” said Jonathan Harwitz, Director of Public Policy, Housing Assistance Council.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research organization, develops policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change. Its independent analysis advances investments, programs, and behaviors that use energy more effectively and help build an equitable clean energy future. 

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided below-market financing for affordable housing and community development, technical assistance and training, research and information, and policy formulation to enable solutions for rural communities. 

Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has worked for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people in the U.S. through its expertise in policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, expert witness services, and training. 

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