Thursday, January 22, 2009

House Resolution Against Second Half of Original Stimulus

Although it has no effect, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a nonbinding resolution to block the second half of the original $700 billion stimulus package. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was structured so that once the Senate voted for approval, it was automatically approved. The vote was 275 to 155 for House Joint Resolution 3 (H.J.Res.3) relating to the disapproval of obligations under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which states: "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the obligation of any amount exceeding the amounts obligated as described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 115(a) of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." The $850 stimulus being requested by President Barack Obama, which will be taken up by the House on next Wednesday, includes $54 billion for energy measures.

The renewables package totals about $18 billion in tax extensions, including $1.9 billion in tax credits on solar equipment purchases by solar energy producers and $5.8 billion for wind, geothermal and biomass producers. A 30 percent credit for homeowner project costs replaces the former $2,000 credit. Energy efficient appliances qualify for the credit too. Plug-in electric cars get tax credits of $2,500 to $7,500. Electric vehicle recharging stations get a one year extension on $30,000 in tax credits or up to 30% of their costs. There are $900 million in extensions for refineries using tar sands or coal-to-liquids technology. Efforts to take away tax benefits from oil and gas companies to use them as offsets for renewables repeatedly failed before being included in this legislation.

[Text of H.R. 1424]

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