Today, the House passed the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Tax Act (HR 7060) by a vote of 257-166. The legislation will extend and expand tax incentives for renewable energy, create and retain hundreds of thousands of green jobs, spur American innovation and business investment, cut taxes for millions of Americans, and close loopholes allowing U.S. executives to avoid U.S. taxes by shipping investment overseas.
This legislation is critical for American job creation at a time when the U.S. economy is in crisis, and critical for American families at a time when they are being squeezed by rising energy costs, grocery bills, and unemployment. To reduce our dependence on foreign oil, this legislation would increase the production of renewable fuels and renewable electricity, and encourage greater energy efficiency. The legislation includes:
An eight-year extension of the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy
2.75 year extensions of the production tax credit (PTC) for energy derived from biomass, geothermal, waves and tides, hydropower, landfill gas and solid waste
A one-year extension of the PTC for energy derived from wind
Incentives for the production of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and renewable
Incentives to encourage energy efficient products, such as plug-in hybrids cars, and incentives for energy conservation in both commercial buildings and residential structures
These provisions are critical to creating and preserving more than 500,000 good-paying green collar American jobs in the wind and solar industries alone.
Rep. Doggett, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee:
Perhaps the sixth time will be the charm. This is the sixth time that this House has approved this legislation to encourage more renewable energy production — more solar energy — more wind energy. It includes provisions that I authored to encourage plug-in hybrid vehicles and geothermal heat pumps and to promote small business development of biodiesel.
American innovation can fuel new jobs here and increase exports abroad. We can put more green where it really counts — in working families' wallets. The choice is ours: We can run the new economy, less dependent on fossil fuels, or get run over by it.
This is not a House-Senate dispute. This is about Republicans taking hostage this renewable energy bill. Their approach boils down to this: they absolutely refuse to let us take America forward into a less fossil-fuel dependent economy unless we borrow the money to do it.
We all know what President George Bush's approach has been for the last eight years — “What, me worry?” His philosophy is to just swipe the debt on the national credit card, just borrow a little more money — whether it is the cost of the Iraq War, or $700 billion Wall Street bailout. “Don't worry! It's a free lunch! What, me worry?”
They will not let us move forward with renewable energy legislation and a new green economy unless we borrow more money. How much more money do they think they American people can stand to borrow? Under President Bush, we've added almost $4 trillion — more than all the Presidents before him put together — borrowing from foreign sources. And they want us to borrow even more before they allow us to do what the American people want, and that is, to look to the future.
If this George Bush bailout proposal has taught us anything, it is the danger of overborrowing. The President's answer to an over-leveraged Wall Street is to further over-leverage the American people.
Today's bill doesn't make that mistake. If it is worth doing, it is worth paying for. That's what we do.
Edward Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, speaking in support of the bill:
President Bush and Senate Republicans have been given opportunity after opportunity to pass tax credit extensions for renewable energy. In just the past year and a half, the Republican leadership has followed the marching orders of the Bush administration and voted 13 times against Democratic efforts to increase our use of renewable energy, help protect consumers from high energy prices and ensure that Big Oil pays its fair share. They have refused each time, instead siding with Big Oil and their fossil fuel friends, even as oil prices remain sky high.
Senate Republicans couldn't resist this time around either, sending us a renewable energy tax package stuffed with goodies for coal-to-liquids, tar sands, and oil shale. Big Oil even gets to keep most of their tax breaks. The only thing 'renewable' about Republican energy policy the last eight years has been their inexhaustible support for the Big Oil agenda.
I commend the great work of Chairman Rangel in stripping harmful and unnecessary provisions and giving us a genuine clean energy tax package to vote on today. This bill primes the renewable energy engine and gives coal a clean path forward with more than $1 billion in tax incentives to demonstrate carbon capture and sequestration.
This may be the last chance to get these renewable energy incentives passed into law. If President Bush and Senate Republicans shoot this package down like they've shot down every other clean energy tax package, there may not be another opportunity. Solar and wind companies are delaying projects because of investment uncertainty. History has shown that renewable energy deployment could fall 70 percent or more if these tax incentives lapse. That would translate into 116,000 job opportunities and $19 billion in private investment lost in 2009 alone.
That's one more legacy I fear this President has no problem carrying back to Crawford: Champagne celebrations for Big Oil and red ink and pink slips for America's high-tech energy companies and their green collar workers.
Last year, the U.S. installed more new wind capacity than any country in the world. 35 percent of all new capacity was wind. Solar photovoltaic installations in the U.S. also grew an incredible 80 percent. 2008 will surpass that. But what about 2009? 2010? This bill before us invests in the renewable revolution that will transform America. Electric cars, cellulosic biofuels, and wind and solar will assert our energy independence over the coming decade if the President signs this bill.
After eight years of running on a Bush-Cheney-Big Oil energy plan, America, it is time for an oil change! It's time to change our dependence on foreign oil and OPEC. It's time to change from the dirty fossil fuels of the past to the renewable energies of the future, like wind and solar. It's time to change to building green and saving families money. 'Change, baby, change!'
Vote 'aye' on H.R. 7060. Vote for Change.