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Indiana US Senators Lugar and Coats Vote Against Amendment to Extend Renewable Tax Credits; Fails on tie vote of 49-49 March 17, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Federal energy legislation, Uncategorized.
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Amendment to Extend Renewable Tax Credits Falls Short; New Proposal Surfaces

Legislation extending and renewing a variety of renewable energy tax benefits failed to pass the Senate this week, falling on a tie vote Tuesday, 49-49. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the package of nearly 20 credits and programs as an amendment to the Surface Transportation Authorization bill passed by the Senate Wednesday.

However, late Thursday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, headed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed a narrower package of tax credit extensions for renewable technologies.

The legislation would extend through the end of 2014 the wind-energy production tax credit (PTC) set to expire Dec. 31, as well as a PTC for several other technologies set to expire at the end of 2013. The measure, which may be attached to a jobs bill that passed out of the House by a wide margin and is pending on the Senate floor, would extend a tax deduction of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour to developers of wind and closed-loop biomass systems. A 1.1-cent/kWh tax credit would be extended to those developing open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower and marine and hydrokinetic facilities. The credits apply to projects that come into service before Jan. 1, 2015.

Elements in the Stabenow amendment not included in the measure from Grassley and other senators is an extension of the “Section 1603” Treasury Department Program offering grants in lieu of tax credits to provide developers more liquidity in a tight credit market, while stabilizing investment.

Also rejected earlier this week, 21-76, was another amendment, this one from Sen. Jim Demint, R-S.C., which he said would end all energy-related tax credits and use the savings to establish a lower, flat-rate corporate tax.

Stabenow had argued that allowing the credits and programs to expire, or remain expired, would be tantamount to a tax increase on “businesses that are creating clean energy jobs in America.” The amendment even had the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the measure fell far short of the 60 votes required for passage under Senate rules, with a number of negative votes stemming from lawmakers’ refusal to extend programs originally funded under the American Restoration and Recovery Act, President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill.

The Grassley bill is expected to draw the support of members who rejected the Stabenow measure because it revived elements of the American Recovery and Restoration Act, legislation pushed by President Obama as a one-time stimulus package aimed at helping revive the nation’s stagnating economy.

Industry leaders are continually exploring other vehicles by which the credits and programs can be revived and extended, though many had seen the bipartisan-supported surface transportation as the only viable possibility of passage in a highly contentious Congress during a presidential election year. Some have suggested a lame-duck session after the November elections may be an opportunity.

However, reports indicate Grassley may attach his coalition’s proposal to a jobs bill that widely passed the House and is now pending on the Senate floor. Action may come as soon as next week.

Indiana U.S. Senators  Daniel Coats  and Richard Lugar both voted NO.

Coats, Daniel                                        – (R – IN) Class III
(202) 224-5623
                             Web Form:                         www.coats.senate.gov/contact/
Lugar, Richard G.                                        – (R – IN) Class I
(202) 224-4814
                             Web Form:                       www.lugar.senate.gov/contact/


1. Gary Reese - March 17, 2012

Lugar is owned by by coal and gas interests. He hasn’t lived in Indiana for years. At this moment, he can’t even vote in Indiana because he sold his home and is not registered. It’s called fraud.

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