Filed under: Policy
In the midst of its hurried negotiations of a proposed Wall Street bail-out, the House and Senate found time this week to approve separate energy bills extending the renewable energy tax credits beyond the end of this year.
The Senate bill, which passed by a 93-2 vote on Tuesday, was a broad tax measure that extends most renewable energy incentives by eight years, and the White House said it would approve the measure.
The House bill, which passed by 257-166 today, is a narrower energy-only measure that pays for renewable energy incentives through reduced tax credits for oil companies. The White House threatened to veto it.
No agreement between the House and Senate had emerged by the close of the session today, when Congress was scheduled to adjourn for the election campaign. But there were hints that Congress might remain in session to deal with Wall Street’s credit crisis. If so, there’s some chance a unified energy bill might emerge before the election.
Otherwise, Congress will try to reconcile the energy incentives when it convenes in lame-duck session after the election.
The House and Senate bills differ on several important issues. The House bill pays for its renewable incentives by eliminating $18 billion in tax incentives for the oil business. White House officials say the president considers this measure a tax increase worthy of veto.
The Senate’s Energy Improvement and Extension Act merely freezes those oil industry incentives. Both versions of the bill continue the 30 percent tax credit for residential and business solar systems, and remove the $2,000 cap on that credit.
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