Tax credit stalled again

By Luke Geiver | September 20, 2010
Posted Sept. 17, 2010

The biodiesel tax credit will have to wait once again. Congress passed the small business bill shortly after returning from recess, but it did not include the extension as it previously had. Before the August recess, an earlier version of the bill contained the biodiesel tax extension proposed by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and was also approved by both the Democrats and the Republicans, but in a move to keep the bill alive, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., stripped all amendments attached to the bill. Upon return from recess, Reid issued a procedure known as an "amendment tree," which prevents an open-amendment process, and essentially allows for a quicker passage. Grassley attempted to work through the "tree" by calling for the suspension of the procedure filed by Reid, but in a vote of 58-41, his attempt to add the biodiesel amendment via open-amendment was defeated.

Speaking before the Senate floor, Grassley urged the Senate to add the amendment. "It's kind of ironic to me that we spend weeks on a bill that's before the Senate, as legitimate as it is, to create jobs in small business when, quite frankly, there's a lot of negative things going on here in the Congress of the United States that causes people to be laid off, or because of uncertainty, not be hired back." As he has done for the past year, Grassley also highlighted the number of jobs already lost, 20,000, due to the tax credit's expiration. "I have a solution," he said, "that will create 20,000 jobs overnight," adding, "that solution is to extend the biodiesel tax credit today."

While the tax extension goes back to Washington, Grassley offered a new solution. "We need to pass the biodiesel tax credit separately." In two previous attempts, that route has been unsuccessful, but it is something he said needs to be revisited. If the bill does have an opportunity to join another piece of legislation, the energy bill from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., offers the best chance for the extension along with several other renewable energy tax incentives, which are, at this point, included.
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