Republicans on a House oversight panel grilled Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Commissioner Keith Hall over whether the Obama administration has been inflating the number of jobs in the "clean" energy industry. The exchange occurred after it was revealed members of the administration have been using a very broad definition for the term “green job."
The current definition is any job that "provides goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources," according to a recent report. The BLS also counts jobs where workers' duties "involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly."
The BLS admitted it is currently trying to come up with a workable definition and formula to track “green” jobs employment. The bureau expects to have its first estimate out early next year.
In a report titled “How Obama's Green Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs," the committee majority claims taxpayers have received "little return" from President Obama's investment. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, believes taxpayers are not getting their money's worth.
"Three years and billions of taxpayer dollars later, the American people have received very little return on the president's signature investment," Rep. Issa said.
Defending the administration's position, Labor Secretary Hilda Soliscited a separate study that claims that 2.7 million Americans are in "clean economy" positions. But Republicans are saying the definition being used by the government is using is far too broad, suggesting officials were trying to pad the figures, according to FOX.
"It's offensive," Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) said, arguing that just because a bus driver drives a hybrid bus, it does't mean it's a "green" job.
"Yes it is," Solis responded.
"It's only a 'green' job if it fits into your sales pitch," Rep. Mack replied.
Rep. Issa reiterated his position, saying the BLS relies on bad numbers. "If I put LEDs in my office, apparently my staff becomes a 'green' staff," he said. While addressing BLS Commissioner Keith Hall, Rep. Issa said the "green jobs" numbers were "wrong" because it would mean some bus drivers are included in the “green” jobs report.
"Our green jobs include mass transit, so actually any bus service," Hall said.
"Oh, OK," Issa said. "So let me understand this . . .You're counting everyone that drives a bus as a green job."
"Mass transit is a green service," Hall responded.
"Oh my goodness. I didn't know that."
Hall later argued, "Every single bus may replace dozens of cars," therefore making mass transit part of the "green" initiative.
Watch the exchange below: