The bipartisan energy tax package is now officially part of another bill – the FSC/ETI corporate tax bill. This is a satisfying win for Sen. Bingaman, who for months has made the case that the best way to achieve results on energy legislation is to break the stalled energy bill into smaller, more manageable pieces that focus on what is most needed and most likely to pass both Houses of Congress. Last night’s decision to salvage the energy tax package from the troubled energy bill and include it in what probably is the last major tax bill Congress will pass this year means that Senate leaders in both parties support Bingaman’s approach. This development is particularly welcome to Bingaman since, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, he has been a major author and proponent of these tax incentives. Bingaman had filed and co-sponsored amendments to FSC/ETI to add many of these tax incentives prior to the decision by Chairman Grassley and Sen. Baucus to merge the entire energy tax package into the corporate tax bill. Getting to this point was not without its challenges and meant that we had to overcome some partisan hurdles, including an attempt to use these crucial energy tax provisions as bait to shut out other amendments that Senators wanted to propose and get a vote on as part of the FSC/ETI bill. That attempt to hold the energy tax incentives hostage to another political agenda was properly defeated earlier this week when the Senate refused to invoke cloture on the legislation. The motion to recommit was agreed to last night, and so the tax bill has been modified to reflect the substitute amendment (Senate Amendment 3011) that was filed as part of the motion to recommit. The substitute amendment contained the 10-year, $13 billion energy tax package, so it is now officially in the bill and therefore does not need to be one of the 80 amendments on the finite list.
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