Tuesday, June 10, 2008

US Senate can't capitalize on momentum from House

Senate Democrats today could not find the support they needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of HR 6049, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008. In a vote split almost perfectly along party lines (50 Yay-44 Nay) the motion for cloture failed to pass, effectively killing the bill, at least for the present time. The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act would have, among other things, extended a number of tax credits and exemptions on purchases and installations of renewable energy technologies. It would have also included hydrokinetic electricity generation under the category of technologies eligible for these tax incentives, a move I have wanted to see happen for a while now. The bill also sought to roll back a number of corporate tax cuts from 2005 on companies with more than $1 billion of annual revenue. These companies could end up paying an additional 37.5% in taxes starting in 2013. It was most likely this provision that caused Senate republicans to balk. In the House, where the Democrats have a more commanding position, the measure managed to pass easily. A section-by-section summary of the bill can be found here. (See how your senators and representatives voted on the issue)

In the same day, Senate Republicans also successfully blocked debate on S 3044 a bill that would have followed through on the Democrats' promise to impose a 25% windfall profits tax on the major US oil companies. The vote fell 9 short of the 60 needed for cloture. (Interesting Article in the International Herald Tribune) I will discuss this bill and the issue of windfall taxes on oil in more detail tomorrow.

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