March 28, 2012

Senate passes transportation bill, votes down big oil, but also renewable energy PTC

The Senate passed the $109 billion Transportation Bill today in a bipartisan 74-22 vote. When it's passed by the House, it will fund road and transit projects for the next two years.

The current bill expires at the end of this month, putting pressure on the House.

"This is a jobs bill; 2.8 million jobs hang in the balance," says Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Yesterday, the Senate voted on several important amendments to the Transportation bill.

All the amendments failed: the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) was not extended; the bid to open oil and oil shale drilling everywhere was defeated, as was the attempt to eliminate ALL energy tax breaks and retroactively rescind renewable energy tax breaks that have already been granted.

Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC)

The Senate voted not to extend the PTC which expires at the end of this year, 49-49.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow's (D-MI) amendment needed 60 votes to pass.

It would also have extended the tax grant program as well as incentives for energy efficient homes, appliances, electric vehicles, and efficient manufacturing.

Eliminate All Energy Tax Breaks

Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) amendment to eliminate all energy tax breaks failed 26-72.

His amendment would have applied the savings to a corporate tax cut and would have repealed the soon-to-expire renewable PTC immediately, along with incentives for electric cars, biofuels, and some oil and gas incentives.

Open Oil Drilling Everywhere

Sen. Pat Roberts's (R-KS) sweeping amendment to force the opening of the entire east and west coasts to oil drilling, millions of acres in the West to oil shale, open the Arctic National Refuge and Bristol Bay in Alaska to drilling, and force through Canada's tar sands pipeline was defeated 41-57. 


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