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Public Statements

Coal Production Tax Credit

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WALSH. Madam President, I rise today regarding the Indian coal production tax credit that is being held up by bipartisan politics in the House of Representatives and this body. I have supported this important provision from my first days in the Senate. Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch did commendable work to bring the tax extenders bill to the floor in May. But since then, political brinkmanship has won out at the expense of good-paying jobs and certainty for millions of American businesses and taxpayers.

This particular provision not only helps tribes responsibly develop their natural resources, but it also creates and sustains jobs and economic development in Indian Country to support self sufficiency and self determination for several American tribes. This tax credit will help to employ more people at a good wage and continue a policy that has a track record of working for Montanans.

The Crow Nation in Southeast Montana relies on this tax credit to drive their economy. Like many of our tribal nations, the Crow Nation suffers from a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of the country. Unemployment for the Crow Nation is around 50 percent. That is unacceptable. I was proud to work with Chairman Wyden to have this provision added to the EXPIRE Act. The political games being played to bring down an important piece of bipartisan legislation are a clear example of why Washington is broken. Congress must take action now. This vital provision will keep tribal jobs and revenue intact. Extending this provision also means more money for our schools and public infrastructure in Indian Country. When I traveled to Montana's tribal nations in my first week as a Senator, Crow leaders, including tribal chairman Darin Old Coyote, shared with me how important this tax credit is for the future of the Crow Nation.

I urge my colleagues to set partisan differences aside and support the tax extender legislation put forward by Senators WYDEN and HATCH.

The bill they put forward contains some provisions that I would not support as stand-alone measures, but overall the bill will be a driver of economic development for small businesses. This bill contains many provisions that are essential for job creation, and the 2-year timeframe helps give individuals and businesses the certainty they need to move our economy forward.

Small businesses across Montana rely on many of the provisions in this bill to keep their companies going, from the new markets tax credit, which spurs development in economically distressed and underserved communities, to the work opportunity tax credit, which creates incentives for hiring veterans. These provisions are driving Montana's economy.

It is irresponsible for Congress to continue to keep these businesses in a state of uncertainty. We must move forward with a real plan to encourage business investment and innovation. I urge my colleagues in both Chambers to put aside their political gamesmanship and show the courage our constituents expect and deserve.

I yield the floor.

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