According to reports from The Hill, Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) launched a bipartisan caucus Wednesday to promote government use of energy-savings contracts with private firms.

While Democrats and Republicans have split on ways to implement broader energy-efficiency policy, Gardner and Welch say the energy-savings contracts hit a sweet spot for both parties.

"You can still support this standard or that standard, but this sort of navigates around some of the thornier issues that may exist, and it gets to the point where we can promote energy efficiency," Gardner said.

President Obama in 2011 allowed federal agencies to use up to $2 billion on energy-savings performance contracts, with the goal of cutting agency energy costs. The Energy Department has said that the contracts could yield $20 billion in energy savings.

The contracts call on private firms to make energy-efficiency upgrades for federal agencies. Those companies get reimbursed through a portion of the energy savings accrued from the renovations they install.

But Gardner and Welch contend the government has used the contracts too infrequently. They say their caucus will push federal agencies to use the contracts by holding agencies accountable to reaching energy-savings goals.

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Initial reporting on the caucus can be found here.