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Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I am proud to be joined today by a number of my colleagues in introducing the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bill to extend a tax incentive for the production of electricity from a number of renewable sources, including wind. The wind production tax credit is scheduled to expire at end of 2012. This bill would extend the credit for two years, through December 31, 2014. I am joined in this effort by Senators MARK UDALL, SCOTT BROWN, HARKIN, HELLER, WYDEN and BENNET.
The production tax credit is a sensible policy that promotes homegrown energy and American manufacturing jobs. The wind industry currently supports 75,000 American jobs and is driving as much as $20 billion in private investment. During the past 5 years, 35 percent of all new electric generation in the United States was wind. This expansion has directly led to the growth in domestic wind manufacturing. There are nearly 400 manufacturing facilities today, compared with just 30 in 2004.
The American Energy and Jobs Promotion Act would prevent a lapse in the credit. Without an extension, as many as 37,000 jobs could be lost, including thousands in Iowa. With national unemployment at 8.3 percent, it would be irresponsible to send thousands of Americans employed in the wind industry a pink slip. Unfortunately, because of the long lead time in the production of wind equipment, many manufacturers are already announcing layoffs.
I recognize that some have questioned the need to extend this important credit, particularly in light of the effort to reform the tax code. I fully support tax reform and believe we need a simpler, more efficient tax code. However, we need to take action to support jobs and alternative energy producers in light of the slow pace on tax reform. This 2-year extension will provide certainty for the renewable energy sector while recognizing that tax reform efforts could further modify or address this incentive in the next few years.
Additionally, due to our Nation's dire fiscal situation, many of my colleagues have rightly focused their attention on ensuring that the deficit is not exacerbated. While in the past I have generally opposed permanent tax increases to offset temporary tax incentives, I am willing to work with my colleagues to extend the incentive in a manner that minimizes its impact on the deficit.
Extension of the tax incentive is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Edison Electric Institute and the American Farm Bureau Federation. A similar extension in the House of Representatives currently has the support of 80 bipartisan cosponsors.
I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation that will continue to grow domestic, renewable electricity, create jobs and provide cleaner air. We must enact this extension as expeditiously as possible. Further delay will harm our economic recovery and our energy security.
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