It was a classic Washington ambush. The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming had invited Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman up to chat yesterday.
Seems the Energy Department’s Web site used to say that the Weatherization Assistance Program — which helps low-income folks reduce their energy costs by weatherproofing their homes — “is this country’s longest running, and perhaps most successful energy efficiency program.”
That’s how things stood on Monday, when President Bush’s budget was released and the program was eliminated. By Wednesday, an alert Energy Department aide had cut the “most successful” sentence. But committee staffers already had taken a screen grab of the old text and compared the two versions on a large graphic.
Committee Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) held up the graphic at the hearing, telling Bodman it seemed that the department “instead of insulating the poor against high energy costs . . . is more concerned with insulating themselves against embarrassment.”
Bodman said other programs simply “had higher rates of return” than that one.
Maybe if they’d just changed the “is” to “was” no one would have noticed?