PASCRELL SUPPORTS PASSAGE OF "GREEN" TAX PACKAGE TO INSPIRE AN ENERGY INDEPENDENT FUTURE
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined the House of Representatives in approving the third major piece of legislation in two weeks designed to help mitigate the energy crunch and move America towards a more energy independent future. The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act was approved by a vote of 263-160.
"Congress is moving aggressively to reduce gas prices and set the table for a more energy independent future," stated Pascrell. "The measure approved today will create new tax incentives for alternate energy initiatives and fittingly complements the Congress' work to temporarily increase the market supply of oil in order to reduce gas prices."
As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Pascrell worked to ensure the legislation include increased incentives for the production of renewable fuels and renewable electricity to achieve greater energy efficiency. The legislation extends and expands tax incentives for renewable electricity, energy, fuel, plug-in hybrid cars, and energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances.
"This legislation was written with the future generations of Americans and working class families in mind," stated Pascrell. "If we do not invest in energy efficient technology today, our children will never be given the change to break free from the struggle working-class Americans are enduring this summer as gas prices surpass $4 a gallon."
Failing to extend some of these provisions could have significant consequences for American workers. A recent study showed that allowing the renewable energy incentives to expire would lead to about 116,000 jobs being lost in the wind and solar industries through the end of 2009.
The legislation also supports businesses and provides tax relief to millions of American families. The bill extends the research and development tax credit to spur American innovation and business investment and cuts taxes for millions of Americans, including teachers, college students and families in states with no income tax. The bill would expand eligibility for the $1,000 refundable child tax credit and provide tax relief to homeowners who do not itemize their deductions by permitting them to deduct up to $700 of property taxes in addition to their standard deduction. The legislation is fiscally responsible, does not add to the national debt and closes loopholes allowing corporations and executives to avoid U.S. taxes by shipping jobs and investment overseas.
On Tuesday, May 20, President Bush signed a bill that Congress sent to the White House to temporarily suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through the end of the year as long as oil prices remain above $75 a barrel. The SPR is currently filled 97 percent, a record capacity. By temporarily suspending contributions to the SPR, an addition 70,000 barrels of oil will be placed back in the market every day immediately reducing the cost of gas by an estimated 5 to 24 cents per gallon.
Additionally, on May 20th the House approved legislation that would hold the OPEC monopoly accountable for price fixing schemes that buck free market principles and artificially drive up crude oil costs.
"The White House has cooperated with Congress in advancing new fuel economy standards and temporarily suspending contributions to the Strategic Oil Preserve. I urge the President to join Congress in brining accountability to the OPEC nations and increasing tax incentives to promote energy independence," concluded Pascrell.