December 15, 2009 / 4:59 PM / 10 years ago

Congress should back energy incentives soon: Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama visits a Northern Virginia Home Depot to discuss home improvements and energy savings in Alexandria, Virginia December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing

ALEXANDRIA, Va (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged U.S. lawmakers to create incentives for American households to weatherize their homes and said the program would essentially pay for itself.

“I am calling on Congress to provide new temporary incentives for Americans to make energy efficiency retrofit investments in their homes and we want them to do it soon,” he said. “Insulation is sexy stuff,” he told workers and employers at a Home Depot home supplies store near Washington.

Obama’s weatherization scheme, also called ‘cash for caulkers’, urges Congress to explore consumer rebates for households that make energy efficient retrofits of their homes, with the idea being to create green jobs and save energy.

Obama outlined the proposal in a speech last week as part of a fresh push on boosting jobs and fighting double-digit U.S. unemployment that has dented his popularity. Other recommendations included efforts to improve credit for small businesses and more spending on transportation infrastructure.

“What we want to do is create incentives that stimulate consumer spending because folks buy materials from home improvement stores like this one ... it spurs hiring ... it saves consumers money ... and reduces our energy consumption in the process,” Obama said. “Most of this stuff is going to pay for itself.”

Curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is a key Obama priority and he heads to a United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen on Thursday.

Reporting by Ross Colvin, writing by Alister Bull; Editing by Sandra Maler

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