⭐🔥 Click here to check Latest Celeb News & Celebrity Gossip in 2022! 🔥⭐
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Senate Extends Renewable Energy Breaks

Luke Evans
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 14, 2008

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/09/ensign.jpgSen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) (WDCpix)

The Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to extend tax credits to businesses and consumers investing in renewable energies and equipment. The move has environmentalists and green industries cheering. But some lawmakers and economists fear that the provision, which was attached to legislation addressing the mortgage crisis, could stall the larger package.

In addition, the multi-billion-dollar tax credit amendment is unfunded, leading to concerns that it won’t survive a trip through the House, where leaders have been reluctant to stray from pay-as-you-go budget rules.

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin
Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

The issue highlights the struggle to pass legislation in a Congress where margins are thin and partisanship is king. The atmosphere has forced a game in which lawmakers view rare must-pass legislation, like the mortgage bill, as their only chance to move other proposals. In the case of the clean energy provision, it has also forced the upper chamber to weigh between losing a system of encouraging energy efficiency and adding substantially to budget deficits.

Sen. Jeff F. Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, supported the policy — with reservations. “[B]ecause the extensions are not paid for, I did not cast my vote enthusiastically,” he said, “There is no justification, other than politics, not to offset this amendment.”

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. John E. Ensign (R-Nev.) and Maria E. Cantwell (D-Wash.), would provide a one-year extension for existing tax credits encouraging businesses to invest in renewable energies like wind and solar power. The extension would also apply to tax breaks for homeowners who install more energy-efficient furnaces, windows and insulation. Similarly, homebuilders would continue to receive tax credits for building more energy-efficient structures, while appliance makers would maintain incentives to produce energy-saving gadgets. Without congressional action, the tax credits would expire at the end of the year.

Early estimates put the 10-year cost of the Ensign-Cantwell provision at roughly $6 billion.

Similar bills have failed to make it through the Senate several times in the last year because they would have offset the cost by eliminating subsidies to oil and gas companies — a non-starter for the White House and most Republicans. To get around that obstacle, Senate sponsors chose a simple solution: They provided no offsets.

The Senate vote was 88 to 8, indicating that earlier opposition was never an issue of investing in green energies, but one of scaling back the substantial tax breaks enjoyed by the oil industry. With the price of gas hitting a record high $3.36 a gallon last week, Republicans have been adamant about keeping those benefits in place.

“Considering our energy situation,” said Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola, “now is not the time to raise taxes.”

But for housing experts eying congressional efforts to address the mortgage crisis, the vehicle remains a concern. Economists at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said Friday that it makes little sense to include the energy tax credits in a bill supposedly designed to ease the pain of the housing mess.

“They don’t belong in this bill,” said Aviva Aron-Dine, a CBPP policy analyst, “and they certainly don’t belong in this bill without offsets.”

But for environmentalists, the urgency surrounding global warming and rising energy costs trumps long-term budget concerns. “Ideally we would like to see offsets,” said David Jenkins, government affairs director at Republicans for Environmental Protection. “But in terms of our energy system, we just can’t afford to have these investments dry up. The extension, even if it’s not offset, is the lesser of two evils.”

Luke Evans | My name is Luke Evans, and I work as a Web Developer. I am a professional coder and programmer who enjoys contributing to the exciting technical advancements. In 2016, I received a Bachelor's Degree in Software Development from California Institute of Technology. For my outstanding academic performance and leadership abilities while in school, I received the Edmund Gains Award in 2015.


Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight

Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight

Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)

One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan

Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.

© Copyright 2022 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com

⭐🔥 Click here to check Latest Celeb News & Celebrity Gossip in 2022! 🔥⭐