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POLITICS: PennAve

Reid promises new vote on expired green energy tax cuts

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Taxes,Harry Reid,PennAve,Energy and Environment,Budgets and Deficits,Tax Credits

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a green energy conference Thursday he’ll take up legislation by the end of this year that would renew solar and wind tax credits.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat, made the announcement at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.

“Efforts to renew these incentives are being blocked by Republicans in Congress,” Reid told the audience at the opening of the event. “Letting these critical incentives expire is not an option. I’ll bring them to the floor before the end of the year for a vote.”

A significant tax cut for wind farms and other renewable energy sources was included in a sweeping tax break package for businesses that the Senate rejected in May.

At the time, the GOP rejection was blamed on a parliamentary conflict with Reid, specifically his refusal to allow Republicans to amend the legislation with a provision to repeal the healthcare law’s medical device tax.

The bill’s $85 billion price tag would have added to the deficit, another non-starter with some in the GOP.

But passage this year is hardly a long shot. In fact, it’s one of the few items expected to clear Congress before it adjourns for the year.

Lawmakers in both parties have been working behind the scenes to ensure the tax breaks are renewed, as they are considered necessary to help spur growth in the sluggish economy.

The tax cuts expired at the end of last year.

The legislation to renew them is likely to pass, with the renewable tax breaks included, when Congress reconvenes after the November elections.

Reid also told the crowd the federal government should get rid of burdensome regulations that stand in the way of renewable energy development and the creation of a “smart grid” that can move energy from solar or wind plants to other parts of the country.

Reid also kept up his attacks on billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, whom Reid said are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try to stop the growth of renewable energy.

“Currently they are trying to convince states to levy surtaxes on solar panel owners,” Reid said.

A spokesman for Koch Industries told the Washington Examiner Reid is "repeating a false accusation" that was refuted months ago.

"Koch has not advocated nor lobbied on behalf of any legislation that would impose yet another tax or burden upon consumers, ratepayers or other users of electric power, regardless of the source of energy," a statement from the company says.

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