U.S. President Joe Biden has announced plans to shell out $13.5 billion to help reduce energy costs for low- and moderate-income households.
“The vice president will highlight how President Biden’s economic plan will help households afford energy-efficient equipment when they need to make home repairs, so they can save money on their utility bills for years to come,” the White House said on Wednesday.
Vice President Kamala Harris will formally present the new steps during a stopover at a Boston union hall and training facility. To make this a reality, Biden’s administration will tap into $4.5 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services to help cover home heating costs and unpaid utility bills for low-income families. The aid package will also help low-income households make cost-effective home energy repairs to lower their bills.
The Biden energy package, however, pales in comparison to similar packages announced in Europe.
Back in September, the German government announced that it will ditch earlier plans for a gas levy on consumers and instead will introduce a gas price cap to curb soaring energy bills, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz setting out a €200 billion ($194 billion) “defensive shield” to protect companies and consumers against the impact of soaring energy prices.
“The German government will do everything in its power to bring [energy] prices down. We are now putting up a large defensive umbrella … which we will endow with €200 billion,” Scholz said at a press \conference in Berlin, which he attended virtually due to a Covid-19 quarantine.
The announcement was the culmination of days of negotiations between the Economy Minister Robert Habeck from the Greens and Finance Minister Christian Lindner from the liberal Free Democrats.
“This decision is a crystal clear answer to [Russian President Vladimir Putin]. We are economically strong, and we mobilize this economic strength when necessary,’’ Lindner declared at the press conference.
Europe’s biggest economy is currently grappling with surging gas and electricity costs occasioned by a collapse in Russian gas supplies to Europe, with Moscow blaming the crisis on Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in February.