May 27,2021

Finance Committee Republicans Push Commonsense Provisions in Energy Tax Bill

Washington, D.C.--The U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted along party lines on “The Clean Energy for America Act,” a bill that eliminates tax incentives for the fossil fuel industry, which would result in job losses and increased gas prices at the pump for consumers.  Although Democrats indicated a willingness to continue conversations on a number of Republican proposals, including proposals to ensure electric vehicles (EVs) contribute fairly to the Highway Trust Fund, they rejected a vast number of commonsense amendments Finance Committee Republican Members offered to improve the bill.

Republicans offered amendments:

To protect good-paying American jobs 

“Raising taxes on America’s fossil energy industries would destroy America’s energy independence, raise energy costs for Americans, and also destroy the jobs of thousands of American workers.  Title V of this bill specifically targets the livelihood of the thousands of American workers who keep this country running.  It would strengthen the economic power of the governments of China, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia. By striking Title V in its entirety, my amendment would strike these tax hikes from the bill.” – Senator Barrasso (R-Wyoming)

To promote an all-of-the-above energy strategy 

“Continuing to funnel billions in subsidies to politically preferred forms of energy, while simultaneously working to end natural gas production will lower the standard of living across the board and devastate the economies of states like mine that have benefited greatly from natural gas.” – Senator Toomey (R-Pennsylvania)

To certify energy prices will not increase for Americans

“The bill we’re debating here today may have consequences in terms of raising energy prices.  My amendment simply would insert a provision requiring the Secretary of Energy to certify that energy prices, including for gas and heating oil, will not increase as a result of this legislation.  This is very much a pocketbook issue, whether it’s gasoline, heating oil or other commodities, energy prices are important for all Americans and that’s why I’m offering this amendment to require DOE to certify that energy prices will not increase as a result of this bill.” – Senator Daines (R-Montana)

To limit the EV tax credit to only include non-luxury vehicles

“The kind of person who wakes up, grabs a lunch pail and goes to work, both she and he work, trying to support a family, they aren’t buying these.  But they are subsidizing this tax credit.  The federal government should not use working families’ tax dollars to subsidize the much wealthier to purchase an $80,000 luxury car.  If the legislation wants to increase the adoption of electric vehicles, it should incentivize the production of electric vehicles the average American can actually afford, not just the wealthy.” – Senator Cassidy (R-Louisiana)

To exclude Chinese-produced electric vehicles from the EV credit

“I am afraid that while the full Senate is making progress with improving U.S. competitiveness, the bill before this Committee will subsidize America’s two biggest competitors—China and Russia, who are looking to sell their electric cars to Americans here at home.  We know these two countries are competing against us not only in terms of economics, but also on national security grounds.  Therefore, the last thing we need to do is subsidize the purchase of Chinese and Russian produced electric vehicles here in the United States.” – Senator Cornyn (R-Texas)

To preserve the United States’ energy independence

“Changing the tax policy and punishing small American companies like stripper well producers doesn’t reduce our carbon footprint. It just changes the source of where we’re going to get our oil. That seems like a terrible idea to me.  It directly goes after American jobs, and it directly goes after our American energy independence.  We are energy independent, I’d like to keep it that way.” – Senator Lankford (R-Oklahoma)

To prevent EV tax credit fraud

“A key component of the amendment concerns retaining the per manufacturer cap on the EV credit.  We shouldn’t lift the cap when the IRS has yet to prove it can effectively administer the credit.  Second, lifting the cap would primarily benefit a single company that has proven it can compete with no credit.  Tesla has established market dominance and is by far the most valuable car manufacturer in the world in terms of market capitalization . .  . there’s no reason for taxpayers to pad the company’s pockets.  There’s also no reason to provide a windfall to wealthy individuals who are willing to shell out $79,000 for an EV without any subsidy.” – Senator Grassley (R-Iowa)

To ensure charging stations pay their fair share

“Because electric vehicles will be using our highways and byways, it makes logical sense that charging stations should be similarly treated to fueling stations.  This will be an important mechanism to shore up our highway trust fund.  This amendment levels the playing field and creates parity. 18.7 million electric vehicles are expected to be on the road by 2030, compared to the one million at the end of 2018.  Clearly, this market is established and experiencing growth, so this amendment ensures that charging stations pay their fair share to keep our roads safe.” – Senator Young (R-Indiana)

To require efficient clean electricity credit permitting

“The arduous permitting process is one of the primary reasons holding up American energy investment.  Multi-year permitting delays do not incentivize investment.  They block otherwise shovel-ready projects from becoming a reality.  Delays also add to the cost of projects to the tune of 20-30% per project.  I will add that cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, which endured a decade of permitting and was already underway, does not instill confidence that approved project are safe.  By the way, Keystone XL would be paired with $1.7 billion of private investment in renewable energy; the very same projects we are discussing today.  Energy technologies are trending toward efficiencies, but five-plus year of permitting delays; delays in grid connection studies and a tangle of federal regulations are significant obstacles to bring in the energy technologies that we are discussing, on line.” – Senator Thune (R-South Dakota)