WASHINGTON—Extension of critical tax relief to save 37,000 jobs in wind energy and continue growing U.S. manufacturing advanced in the Senate Finance Committee today with strong bipartisan support.
By an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 19-5, the committee passed an extenders package that included an extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC). On critical amendment votes, all the Democratic members and GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) supported the extension of the PTC.
Also in the committee's markup is an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides an incentive for the development of offshore and community wind projects.
"We applaud the committee for this act of leadership to move critical policies forward in a difficult environment," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "This was an extremely important step to provide critical certainty to keep people at work in wind energy manufacturing and construction."
Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) included an extension of the PTC and the ITC for wind projects started in 2013 in the modified chairman's mark (essentially a revised base bill) of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012.
Introducing amendments in support of the wind PTC were Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), John F. Kerry (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Kent Conrad (D-ND).
Meanwhile, three senators from each party who are not members of the committee submitted a letter yesterday to committee leaders in favor of wind energy. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R-MA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mark Udall (D-CO) urged the committee to extend the PTC in the markup.
The PTC drives up to $20 billion a year of private investment into U.S. wind farms, creating demand that allows U.S. manufacturing to compete in a global market. According to Navigant Consulting, 37,000 jobs will be lost by early 2013 if Congress lets the PTC expire at the end of 2012.
An extension of the PTC enjoys widespread, bipartisan support from groups as diverse as the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Edison Electric Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation, environmentalists, labor unions, and others. Members of the House and Senate from both parties have indicated their agreement that the PTC should be renewed.