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Public Statements

Statement on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce my first bill in the Senate, one I believe will promote competitiveness and spur the growth of sustainable middle class jobs. As I noted in my maiden speech in January, the people of Delaware sent me here with a mission to work with my colleagues to help create jobs and get our economy moving again.

My bill, the Job Creation Through Innovation Act, will do just that. By making strategic investments in research and development and incentives for economic growth, this legislation will help companies in Delaware and across the United States innovate, create jobs, and compete globally.

First, it will simplify, expand, and make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit. When this credit was enacted into law in 1981, the United States was the best place in the world to perform research and development. Thirty years and fourteen temporary extensions later, we still do not have a permanent R&D credit on the books. Passing temporary extensions, one after another, undermines the very purpose of this credit. Whenever there is uncertainty about the credit's future availability, businesses discount its value, and we reap only the counterproductive effect of reducing the credit's benefit to our economy. Research and development projects are never stop-and-go, and the R&D tax credit shouldn't be either.

Second, many new small businesses today are ineligible for the R&D credit, because they are not yet profitable. My bill will create a new Small Business Innovation Credit, which will provide much-needed support to these start-ups. Currently, the R&D credit is non-refundable, so only those companies with income tax liability benefit from it. This poses a special problem for research-intensive start-up businesses--just the sort of businesses that have the potential to develop revolutionary technologies and products. Such firms often spend their first several years operating at a loss while spending a great deal of money on research and development. The Small Business Innovation Credit will address this by allowing companies with 500 employees or fewer to claim a refundable R&D credit.

Another provision of my bill is a new Domestic Manufacturing Tax Credit, which will provide additional tax incentives to companies that both conduct research and manufacture their products right here in America. This will reward companies that invest in America and give multinational firms another reason to keep manufacturing jobs from being shipped overseas.

The Job Creation Through Innovation Act would additionally extend the Section 1603 Treasury Grants Program--or ``TGP''--and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit. Both of these were authorized in the Recovery Act and are designed to promote clean energy technology and investment. Both have also had a significant and beneficial impact on energy project developers and manufacturers in my home state of Delaware and other states in the past 2 years.

The TGP provides payments for specified energy property in lieu of investment tax credits and production tax credits. Economic certainty is critical to wind, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and other clean energy projects, and, according to a survey of leading participants in the tax equity market, without an extension of the TGP the anticipated total financing available for renewable resource projects would decrease significantly, should it be left to expire at the end of 2011. My bill extends the TGP for another year.

The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit, also called the 48C Incentive, provides a thirty percent investment tax credit to domestic manufacturers who build or expand facilities that produce a range of clean energy products and technologies. These credits can also be used to leverage private investment, and it is estimated that this tax credit has to date helped businesses raise more than $5.4 billion from just a $2.3 billion Federal investment. It is also estimated to have created 58,000 jobs. My bill will provide an additional $5 billion in incentives, of which up to $1.5 billion would be made available to companies whose applications are already pending under the original solicitation.

In my maiden speech in January, I spoke at length about the new agenda for manufacturing I intend to promote during my service in the Senate, and this bill is just the first step. I am proud that Delaware is already on the cutting-edge of the high-tech and clean energy manufacturing revolution I believe will be the key to winning the future.

While we are all rightly focused now on the deficit and cutting our budget, we must also think ahead and make those long-term investments that will boost our economy, incentivize clean energy resources and manufacturing, and grow the jobs we need to sustain a strong middle class in this country for years to come. I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort, and I commend those who already have.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

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