House to vote on extenders package

Source: Geof Koss, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The House will vote Friday on a tax package that includes one-year retroactive extensions of an assortment of expired energy incentives, as well as a multiyear phaseout of a key biodiesel credit.

Also included in the 297-page bill released last night by House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) are technical corrections to last year’s tax overhaul, along with provisions to temporarily provide tax relief to disaster victims and boost retirement savings.

The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow to set the terms of debate for Friday’s floor vote.

The measure is considered the House’s opening bid in negotiations to enact extensions of energy incentives and other tax tweaks in the lame-duck session. Democrats in both chambers have expressed reluctance over helping pass fixes to the GOP’s partisan tax overhaul.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member on the Finance Committee, complained last night that Democrats had been shut out of year-end negotiations on taxes, including extenders.

“With respect to extenders — and having been through a few of them over the years — the Republicans are telling all of you in the press that they are working around the clock on this and they have all kind of ideas and the like,” Wyden told reporters.

“They are not negotiating with Democrats. They are not having conversations with Democrats,” said the Oregonian. “To have an extenders package or a technical corrections package, at some point the majority has got to come to the minority and talk to us about that plan.”

Key Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, including the panel’s next chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), favored two-year extensions of the energy breaks but ended up getting just one in the deal signed into law earlier this year.

That agreement retroactively extended the credits for 2017 but left the breaks expired for 2018. It was driven by House Republicans’ resistance to the on-again, off-again extenders exercise, which has sparked pushback from conservative interest groups over the energy incentives in particular.

The inclusion of a phaseout for the diesel and renewable tax credit may be a bid to draw support from Grassley, a longtime backer of biofuels and wind production in his state.

Similar to the 2015 deal that extended and phased out the renewable production and investment tax credits, Brady’s bill would retain the $1-per-gallon blenders’ credit for 2018 through 2021 but pare it down to $0.33 per gallon by 2024, after which it would expire.

The National Biodiesel Board said it appreciated the proposal.

“The biodiesel industry has long advocated for a long-term tax extension to provide certainty and predictably for producers and feedstock providers,” said NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik in a statement.

“Too often, the credit has been allowed to lapse and then reinstated retroactively, which does not provide the certainty businesses need to plan, invest, and create jobs,” he said. “We appreciate the recognition that the biodiesel industry is integral to our domestic energy needs through this long-term extension.”

Reporter Jeremy Dillon contributed.