Exactly what did the Republicans gain in the midnight fiscal cliff raid? Nothing that President Obama had not already agreed to. The president had already moved on the tax rate hike, from $250,000 to $400,000. Buried in the bill, meanwhile, is an extension of one of the president’s pet greendoggles, the wind production tax credit (PTC). The deal also greatly relaxes the standards for companies to qualify to grab that tax credit. With no deal, it would have expired with the turn of the year.
The wind PTC extension is buried in Section 407 of HR8, the version the House is taking up this afternoon.
SEC. 407. EXTENSION AND MODIFICATION OF CREDITS WITH RESPECT TO FACILITIES PRODUCING ENERGY FROM CERTAIN RENEWABLE RESOURCES.
(a) PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT.—
(1) EXTENSION FOR WIND FACILITIES.—Paragraph (1) of section 45(d) is amended by striking ‘‘January 1, 2013’’ and inserting ‘‘January 1, 2014’’.
(3) MODIFICATION TO DEFINITION OF QUALIFIED FACILITY.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The following provisions of section 45(d), as amended by paragraph (1), are each amended by striking ‘‘before January 1, 2014’’ and inserting ‘‘the construction of which begins before January 1, 2014’’
“Under construction” can mean just about anything.
The House is currently in recess as the parties meet. Here is Speaker Boehner’s office number — (202) 225-6205. House Republicans should kill this deal dead and force everyone to start over. Not just for the wind PTC, but because the entire thing is a farce that does absolutely nothing to rein in federal spending. It makes the government’s spending problem worse.
Sequestration plus tax hikes at least have some chance of restoring a sense of reality. It may also destroy the country. But there are no good options. This is where we are after re-electing an extremist leftist ideologue to the most powerful office on earth.
Update: There’s a report that Rep. Eric Cantor is opposing the deal in the House Republican meetings. Republicans are also considering amending the Senate bill to add in some spending cuts and then send it back up.