GOP Senators Crumbling on Highway Bill

by Iain Murray

We have received reports that senatorial preference for the free market is crumbling in the face of sustained lobbying in favor of energy subsidies by certain special interests. As a result, Freedom Action and a coalition of concerned groups have sent the following joint letter to the Senate:

 Washington, D. C.
March 13, 2012

Dear Senator:

The Senate is scheduled to finish voting on amendments to the highway bill, S. 1813, on Tuesday. We are writing to urge you to:

·  Vote Yes on amendment #1589 (DeMint) to end all special-interest tax preferences for renewable energy, conventional energy, and alternative fuel vehicles;

·  Vote No on amendment #1812 (Stabenow) to extend tax credits for wind, solar power, a variety of biofuels, coal, oil and gas, energy efficient buildings and appliances, and plug-in electric vehicles; and,

·  Vote No on amendment #1782 (Burr/Menendez) to create massive new tax preferences for natural gas vehicles, fueling stations, and motor fuel.

The American people are fed up with corporate welfare. They view the Solyndra debacle as an object lesson in the folly of government trying to pick energy-market winners. Above all, they want Congress to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.

How you vote on the aforementioned amendments will determine whether or not you are serious about curbing political influence in energy markets, ending crony capitalism, and halting the nation’s slide towards bankruptcy.

The wind energy production tax credit (PTC) is a wealth transfer from States that do not establish renewable electricity mandates to States that do. The PTC props up these Soviet-style production quotas by masking their full cost from ratepayers. Congress should pull the plug on this deception: Vote No on amendment #1812, and let the PTC expire.

Amendment #1782, which proposes tax credits up to $64,000 for purchases of natural gas-fueled 18-wheelers, could add billions of dollars to the national debt. With natural gas industry profits soaring and prices at historic lows, there is no justification for Congress to rig the market in favor of natural gas producers, purchasers of natural gas vehicles, or investors in natural gas infrastructure.

The best energy policy is one under which consumers decide winners and losers and politicians can’t stick taxpayers with the bill when an energy company fails. The DeMint amendment (#1589) would eliminate tax favoritism in the energy sector. Equally important, it would not raise the overall tax burden, because it would use the savings from rescinded tax credits to lower general tax rates.



Freedom Action
Americans for Tax Reform
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Club for Growth
Taxpayers for Common Sense Action
60 Plus Association
Americans for Prosperity
American Energy Alliance
Competitive Enterprise Institute
National Center for Public Policy Research
Energy Integrity Project (Idaho)
Citizen Power Alliance (New York)

If the Stabenow and Burr/Menendez amendments pass with GOP support, we’ll know how much those senators that vote for it truly support free enterprise.