WASHINGTON – After House Democrats stripped an extension of tax credits for renewable energy out of one of the few bills likely to move through Congress this year, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici backed a prior bipartisan effort to restore the provisions and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to prosper.
Domenici, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was an original cosponsor of a similar amendment extending the tax credits to the Housing Bill (H.R.3221) which passed the Senate in April on an 88-8 vote. However, during messages between the House and Senate, House Democrats stripped the tax credit extensions out of the bill.
The amendment, sponsored by Senators John Ensign (R-Nev.) will provide a one-year extension of the renewable energy production tax credit and an eight-year extension of the solar energy and fuel cell investment tax credit, and provide other incentives for clean energy and energy efficiency.
“Tax credits for clean energy are absolutely essential to our energy future and to our economy. Unfortunately, the House Democrats have decided to play politics with them during this election year. The amendment I’m cosponsoring will extend the tax credits in the same bipartisan manner that they have been extended every other time that we’ve passed them. I hope that the Senate will adopt it and that the House will drop their objections so we can get this done,” Domenici said.
Congress first passed renewable energy tax credits in 1992. They have been passed or extended in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006. In every single one of those instances, Congress did not provide a specific “offset” for the tax credits (in other words, Congress did not raise taxes or adjust the tax code in order to make up revenue for the tax credits). However, this year, House Democrats have insisted that the tax credits be “paid for” by raising taxes.
“There is no question that the renewable energy tax credit creates jobs and is good for the economy. I simply don’t understand why the other party has changed its position and now believes that these tax credits aren’t worthy enough to stand on their own. Since they will expire at the end of this year, it is time for the other side to stop trying to score political points on this issue and simply extend them the way we’ve always done it,” Domenici said.
Among the technologies that benefit from the renewable energy tax credit are wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation power, landfill gas, trash combustion and hydropower facilities.