Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Green energy tax extenders die on the vine

Senate Republicans have refused to allow tax breaks for green energy companies as part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization package, bringing an end to an intraparty debate that unfolded in private over the last several days. "We've made a decision to skinny down the tax part" of the FAA reauthorization measure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. That's a victory for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who led the effort to exclude the green energy tax extenders. Democrats are steamed, accusing McConnell of breaking an agreement made during the omnibus debate in November. But their leaders plan to vote for the broader FAA package anyway. Flake has been arguing behind the scenes for McConnell to block the tax extenders since last week and took the pressure public on Monday. "We urge you to resist the temptation to clutter this important legislation with tax extensions aimed at placating a few special interests," he wrote in a letter signed by three other Senate Republicans. "In December, a deliberate decision was made to omit certain credits like those for fuel cells, small wind turbines, and combined heat and power. This latest effort to hastily extend market-distorting tax policies is imprudent." Democrats cite the December decision as the justification for adding the tax credits now. "During the omnibus negotiations McConnell agreed to include the clean energy provisions on a fast-moving finance vehicle, i.e. the FAA bill," according to a Senate Democratic aide. "Republican resistance led him to include a tax benefit for beer distributors to try and shore up Republican support. We continue to try and find a way to help him navigate the issues within his conference, and we are trying very hard to be flexible and productive, but at the end of the day this is a commitment Senator McConnell made and it's up to him to keep his word."...more

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