Following the sentiment of their GOP standard bearer to not worry about certain segments of America -- and with eerie numerical symmetry -- 47 House Republicans last week wrote to Speaker John Boehner to oppose the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today responded to all 47 members of the worry-free Republican caucus and asked them to join him in opposing the extension of billions of dollars in tax subsidies and loan guarantees for the oil, coal and nuclear sectors.
"We already know that Mitt Romney doesn't think it's his job to worry about 47 percent of Americans, and now we know 47 House Republicans don't think it's their job to worry about the 40,000 American wind workers who will lose their jobs from this tax hike on wind energy," said Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. "If these 47 members of the Republican worry-free caucus really want to end energy subsidies, then they should also support the elimination of billions of dollars in tax subsidies and loans to oil, coal, and nuclear companies."
If the Production Tax Credit is not extended by the end of this year, the wind industry says that 40,000 American workers will lose their jobs. More than 2,700 workers have already been laid off this year due to uncertainty over extending this key energy-producing incentive. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry receives more than $4 billion a year in special tax breaks.
House Republicans also recently passed their much-ballyhooed, but little-supported "No More Solyndras Act" that leaves in place the Department of Energy's authority to approve any of the roughly $88.5 billion in loan applications for the nuclear and coal industries that have already been submitted. During debate on the bill, Republicans refused to allow a vote on an amendment to simply terminate the loan guarantee program altogether.
Beyond loan guarantees, the nuclear industry has carved out a long list of additional federal taxpayer subsidies as well. In 2005, the Republican Energy Bill gave the nuclear industry special Production Tax Credits worth $5.7 billion.