U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, suggested Tuesday the Obama administration may have spent stimulus money on “green jobs” without ever having defined what it meant.
A White House spokesman didn’t respond directly to Grassley’s letter but said the stimulus had helped put Iowans back to work, including at a wind energy plant in Fort Madison.
President Barack Obama visited the plant in April.
Grassley, who voted against the stimulus package, sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis noting the department had sent a Federal Register notice last month asking for comments on the definition of “green jobs.”
“Interestingly, this comes more than a year after the (stimulus package) was signed into law and after millions of dollars in funding have already been distributed for green jobs,” he wrote.
Grassley asked a series of questions in the letter, including whether money will be recouped if recipients didn’t meet the “green job” definition.
“The Recovery Act has helped to put more than 31,000 Iowans to work in all sorts of jobs, from the Siemens wind energy plant to weatherizing homes to building new roads,” a White House statement said.
The Federal Register notice was a solicitation from the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that asked for comments “on the definition BLS will use in measuring green jobs.”
The notice said that there is no standard definition of a “green job” and that its goal is to develop information so it can track the number, distribution and trends in clean-energy jobs, along with their pay levels.
It says the information will be useful for state policymakers, businesses and job seekers.
It doesn’t mention the stimulus.
The stimulus package set aside $80 billion for clean-energy projects, which included money for updating the country’s electrical grid, renewable fuels and home weatherization projects.
Much of it went through existing programs.
Grassley said he was concerned if the criteria for clean-energy jobs is too broad, the spending might have gone to other projects.
He asked for a response by next week.