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House Dems Mull Green Energy Tax Bill, But Next Steps Unclear

Oct. 30, 2019, 10:35 PM

House Ways and Means Democrats continue work on a clean energy tax package even though a long to-do list may preclude such a package from advancing to the floor this year.

Democrats on the tax-writing panel originally hoped to hold a markup this fall on a comprehensive package intended to encourage the use of clean energy. But no legislation has been released as of Oct. 30 and the House is only scheduled to be in legislative session for 17 more days.

Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) told Bloomberg Tax Oct. 29 that the committee can still do “something substantial” on green energy incentives this year, but he wouldn’t commit to holding a markup in 2019.

“Well, we have to wait and see. I have not had a chance to even talk about the stuff,” Neal said, citing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and other work the committee has to do. “We got a lot going. I mean we are trying to crank out a lot of different stuff.”

Several people familiar with the discussions said the panel may plant its flag by releasing a legislative package, framework, or “white paper” on green energy incentives, but not hold a hearing or a markup. That wouldn’t close off the possibility that some green energy provisions could make it into a year-end legislative package.

That approach would appear to have the support of many House Democrats: Scores of lawmakers sent an Oct. 30 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging leadership to include green energy policies in any must-pass legislation that goes through the House this year. They highlighted their support for several green energy incentives, including an extension of a plug-in electric vehicle credit and expansion of the investment tax credit to make energy storage eligible as a standalone technology.

“For the sake of American security and future generations, we must take every opportunity we can to pass important climate policies immediately,” the lawmakers said.

—With assistance from Colin Wilhelm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at kbasu@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Ambrosio at pambrosio@bloombergtax.com; Colleen Murphy at cmurphy@bloombergtax.com

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