Dems Push to Extend Clean-Energy Tax Credits

WASHINGTON - MAY 04: U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, speaks to the media as he arrives for a closed briefing by BP officials on Capitol Hill May 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. BP officials were on the Hill to brief legislators on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Dec. 16, 2013, 8:07 a.m.

With a num­ber of tax in­cent­ives for re­new­able-en­ergy pro­duc­tion set to ex­pire at the end of the year, some mostly Demo­crat­ic law­makers are ur­ging Con­gress to pass an ex­tenders pack­age in the ab­sence of com­pre­hens­ive tax re­form.

Mem­bers of the House Sus­tain­able En­ergy and En­vir­on­ment Co­ali­tion wrote to House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee lead­er­ship on Monday call­ing for an ex­ten­sion of a slate of clean-en­ergy tax cred­its cur­rently on the chop­ping block. The move was timed to co­in­cide with the re­lease of a nearly identic­al let­ter sent by a co­ali­tion of Demo­crat­ic and in­de­pend­ent sen­at­ors to Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee lead­er­ship.

Both let­ters ex­press sup­port for an over­haul of the tax code, which would fall un­der the jur­is­dic­tion of the two com­mit­tees, but stress the im­port­ance of ex­tend­ing a num­ber of tax in­cent­ives in­ten­ded to spur re­new­able-en­ergy pro­duc­tion.

“As we ap­proach the end of the cal­en­dar year, many tax pro­grams that are crit­ic­al for cre­at­ing jobs, de­ploy­ing clean en­ergy, and cut­ting pol­lu­tion are fa­cing ex­pir­a­tion. If a broad­er tax code over­haul can­not be achieved by year’s end, it is im­per­at­ive that these key clean en­ergy tax in­cent­ives are re­newed as soon as pos­sible,” both of the let­ters state.

The wind-pro­duc­tion tax cred­it, worth 2.3 cents per kilo­watt-hour of elec­tri­city gen­er­ated by wind power, has taken cen­ter stage in the battle over ex­pir­ing clean-en­ergy tax pro­vi­sions as the year winds to a close. The wind cred­it is at the top of the list of cred­its the law­makers want to see ex­ten­ded as soon as pos­sible.

Bey­ond that, the law­makers ask for the con­tinu­ation of a num­ber of oth­er tax pro­vi­sions, in­clud­ing the in­vest­ment tax cred­it for re­new­able en­ergy, the ad­vanced en­ergy man­u­fac­tur­ing tax cred­it, and tax cred­its for ef­fi­cient new homes and ap­pli­ances as well as hy­brid me­di­um- and heavy-duty trucks.

Un­like its House coun­ter­part, however, the Sen­ate ver­sion of the let­ter also asks for an ex­ten­sion of the al­tern­at­ive-fuel vehicle-re­fuel­ing prop­erty cred­it, the res­id­en­tial en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency tax cred­it, and a num­ber of tax in­cent­ives for ad­vanced bio­fuels.

The let­ters sig­nals grow­ing con­cern among stake­hold­ers con­nec­ted to in­dus­tries af­fected by the cred­its that Con­gress will not act to pass an ex­tenders pack­age be­fore the end of the year.

In the past, tax ex­tenders have been al­most routinely ap­proved on Cap­it­ol Hill. This year the le­gis­lat­ive land­scape is a bit dif­fer­ent, however, as lead­ers of the House Ways and Means and Sen­ate Fin­ance com­mit­tees ap­pear hes­it­ant to pass any kind of stop­gap meas­ure un­til com­pre­hens­ive tax re­form be­gins to move.

Pro­spects for an ex­tenders pack­age have also dimmed with the re­lease of a budget deal in the House that does not in­clude pro­vi­sions for an ex­ten­sion of any of the cred­its set to ex­pire.

Ex­ten­sion of the wind-pro­duc­tion tax cred­it faces Re­pub­lic­an op­pos­i­tion in the House, with even mem­bers from some of the win­di­est dis­tricts in the U.S. call­ing for a draw­down of the tax in­cent­ive.

On the House side, sig­nat­or­ies of the let­ter in­clude Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Rush Holt, D-N.J.; and Chel­lie Pin­gree, D-Maine. The Sen­ate let­ter is signed by Sens. Ed­ward Mar­key, D-Mass.; Richard Blu­menth­al, D-Conn.; Bar­bara Box­er, D-Cal­if.; Chris­toph­er Coons, D-Del.; Di­anne Fein­stein, D-Cal­if.; and 19 oth­ers.

Amy Harder contributed to this article.
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