What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : HR 5297. (Small business tax incentives) Motion to allow an amendment to be offered that would have restored an expired tax incentive for the production of biodiesel fuels/On the motion
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HR 5297. (Small business tax incentives) Motion to allow an amendment to be offered that would have restored an expired tax incentive for the production of biodiesel fuels/On the motion
senate Roll Call 234     Sep 16, 2010
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
This vote was on whether to allow Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to offer an amendment that would have restored for one year an expired tax incentive for the production of biodiesel fuels.  The amendment was offered to a bill that would create several tax incentives for small businesses, as well as authorizing a small business lending fund.

Grassley sought to offer his amendment during a time in which amendments are not normally allowed; in order to do this, Grassley asked that the rules against offering amendments at that time be waived, which is what this vote was on.

Grassley said that some 20,000 jobs were lost in the biodiesel industry “almost overnight” when Democrats allowed the tax credit to expire at the end of 2009.  “The Democratic leadership claims, as the President does, that they want more green jobs—and I am in favor of that. I am the author of the Wind Energy Tax Credit, as an example. I have been a backer of ethanol. I have been a backer of biomass and this biodiesel tax credit. So there are plenty of opportunities to show that we, on this side of the aisle, support the President wanting to create green jobs. If the President and the Democratic leadership want to do that, they have not acted to prevent the loss of green jobs in the biodiesel industry,” Grassley said.  “The biodiesel industry has lost tens of thousands of jobs as a result of this neglect. It would be nice if the Democratic leadership’s rhetoric met with reality.”

Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he agreed with Grassley that the biodiesel tax credit should be extended, and noted that he has been working on a separate bill that would extend many different expired or expiring tax credits, including the one Grassley’s amendment sought to restore.  (However, Republicans have been blocking that bill, saying that it would spend too much money.)  Baucus then asked the consent of the Senate to allow him to bring up his tax credit bill and amend it to the small business bill.

“My good friend, the Senator from Iowa, talked about how good it would be if we removed uncertainty from the law. The unanimous consent I am about to propound would give Senators the opportunity to remove much uncertainty. This unanimous consent request, if agreed to, would extend the biodiesel tax credit the Senator from Iowa spoke about. It would also extend the R&D tax credit the Senator from Utah talked about,” Baucus said.  Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, then objected to Baucus’ motion, saying that “this side wants an open amendment process. We are tired of every time a bill comes to the floor in the greatest deliberative body in the world, they tie up the parliamentary tree so we can’t have honest amendments.”

Baucus then said that this parliamentary maneuver by Republicans “is not serious legislating.  It is simply an attempt to delay the passage of the small business bill.”  By a vote of 41-58, the motion to allow Grassley’s amendment was rejected.  Of Republicans present, 25 voted to allow the motion and 16 voted against.  Of Democrats present, 16 voted to allow the motion and 40 voted against (including a majority of the most progressive members). The end result is that Grassley was not allowed to offer his amendment, and the small business bill went forward without language that would have extended a biodiesel tax credit for one year.

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