Sierra Club Takes McCain to Task for "Lie" about Clean-Energy Non-Vote

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 09 Feb 2008 21:56:00 GMT

Following the one-vote failure on Wednesday of S. Amdt 3983 to H.R. 5140, the Senate stimulus package that contained $5.6 billion in “green” incentives, various environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, called Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for missing the vote.

On Thursday, the Sierra Club asked its members to call McCain’s office to ask “why he failed to show up for a vote that could have determined the future of green energy in America.”

Today, Executive Director Carl Pope blistered the office response to member calls in a blog post entitled John McCain Should Be Ashamed.

Immediately, people begin calling and emailing me, saying, “The Senator’s office says he voted for clean energy, and that your alert is wrong.” We check. He didn’t. We call his office. Stunningly, his staff has been coached to mislead callers. “That’s not true at all,” they say, “he voted for the bill yesterday.” Well, he voted, yesterday, but for a different bill. However we phrase the question, we get a lie. “No, if he had voted for the bill, it would not have passed. That was purely procedural.” But McCain’s staff knows that if cloture had been invoked, passage of the bill would then only require 51 votes, and the bill with clean energy would have passed. [Ed.- emphasis added.]

Senate Stimulus Package Filibustered by One Vote 9

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 06 Feb 2008 23:28:00 GMT

By a roll call vote of 58-41, Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster threatened by Republicans of the Senate’s version of the stimulus package (S. Amdt 3983 to H.R. 5140). The package differed from the House version by including:
  • expanded tax-rebate eligibility for low-income seniors, disabled veterans and married couples
  • a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits
  • additional LI-HEAP funding
  • $5.6 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives
  • tax breaks for coal companies

This is the second time a renewal of the renewable production tax credits has failed by one vote in the Senate.

All Democrats, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who voted against the production-tax-credit package in the 2007 Energy Bill, voted for the Senate version (except for Sen. Reid, who cast a procedural vote against the package when it was evident cloture would fail).

Republican senators Collins, Snowe, Smith, Coleman, Grassley, Dole, and Domenici voted in favor of the package. All but Snowe (Maine) and Grassley (Iowa) are up for reelection this year, although Domenici has announced his intention to retire.

Sen. John McCain was the one senator not in attendance.

Friends of the Earth and David Roberts at Grist have singled out John McCain for the failure.

Senate Finance Committee Includes Green Jobs, Renewables In Stimulus Package

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Jan 2008 21:39:00 GMT

In today’s executive session on the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the Senate Finance Committee passed by a 14-7 vote a package that includes $5.6 billion in “green” incentives, including $400 million in new “clean renewable energy bonds”, a one-year extensions for:
  • the renewable electricity production credit
  • solar, fuel cell, and microturbine credits
  • energy-efficient building deductions and credits;
and two-year extensions for:
  • the high-efficiency appliances manufacturing credit
  • stripper well depreciation credit
  • energy-efficient home retrofitting credit

Full details are available here.

Last Friday, 33 senators sent a letter to the Committee leadership urging support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs incentives.

According to the Sierra Club, by today the number of Senators was up to forty:
Senators who have expressed support for the inclusion of the renewable energy incentives include: Cantwell, Snowe, Wyden, Smith, Klobuchar, Kerry, Sununu, Sanders, Dole, Boxer, Johnson, Allard, Salazar, Mikulski, Stabenow, Murray, Dorgan, Brown, Bayh, Clinton, Collins, Specter, Menendez, Thune, Feingold, Dodd, Levin, Obama, Brownback, Coleman, Murkowski, Feinstein, Schumer, Stevens, Lautenberg, Leahy, Akaka, Kohl, Roberts, Grassley, Bingaman, and Domenici.

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:30:00 GMT

Modification Energy Package part of package passed by committee.

Provision Approx Cost (billions)
PTC (Sec. 45) 3.0
Solar (residential & business, including fuel cells, microturbines) 0.13
CREBs ($400m allocation) 0.2
Commercial buildings 0.15
Efficient homes (new) 0.06
(exp. 12/07) Efficient homes (existing) 1.5
(exp. 12/07) Efficient appliances 0.32
Percentage Depletion (marginal wells and stripper wells) 0.25
TOTAL 5.57

1. Production Tax Credit (Section 45). Extends placed-in-service deadline for qualifying electric generating facilities (wind, biomass, geothermal, etc.) for one year. Estimated cost is $3b/10.

2. Solar, fuel cell, microturbine credits (Sections 48 and 25D). Extends Section 48 (30% investment credit for solar and fuel cell property, 10% credit for microturbines) and Section 25D residential solar credit for one year. Cost is approx. $130m/10.

3. Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). Provides $400m in new CREBs issuance, at estimated cost of $206m/10.

4. Appliances Manufacturer Credit. Extends manufacturer credit for high-efficiency appliances for two years through 2009, at cost of approximately $323m/10.

5. Energy-Efficient Existing Homes. Extends 10% investment tax credit for energy-efficient home retrofits (windows, heating and cooling equipment, etc.) through 2009, at estimated cost of $1.5b/10.

6. Energy-efficient Commercial Buildings: Extends deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings for one year, at estimated cost of $153m/10.

7. Energy-efficient New Homes. Extends credit for energy-efficient new homes for one year, at estimated cost of $61m/10.

8. Percentage depletion for marginal wells. Extends suspension on the taxable income limit for purposes of depreciating a marginal oil or gas well through 2009, at estimated cost of $247m/10.

Senators Push For Renewable Tax Credits in Stimulus

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 28 Jan 2008 15:35:00 GMT

Thirty-three senators, including several Republicans, sent a letter Friday urging leadership to include the renewable tax incentives set to expire this year in the economic stimulus package. Inclusion of the production tax credits in the 2007 energy bill failed by one vote.

We strongly support current bipartisan efforts to mitigate an economic downturn by providing direct financial relief to American families. At the same time, we believe that we must be cognizant that energy prices have been a leading cause of our current economic environment. Accordingly, we strongly believe that we must provide a timely long-term extension of clean energy and energy efficiency tax incentives that expire at the end of this year. Given record energy prices and growing demand, postponing action on these critical energy incentives will only exacerbate the problems afflicting our economy. In fact, these renewable energy and energy efficiency investments have a verifiable record of stimulating capital outlays and promoting job growth. We must ensure that this impressive record is maintained in 2008 and extend these tax credits expeditiously.

Nine of the signatories are members of the Finance Committee.

Full text of the letter is available here.