Congress Adjourns Without Acting on Biodiesel Tax Credit, Energy Bill

Written on: December 13, 2016 by ICM

WASHINGTON, DC–Earlier this week, the United States Senate wrapped-up legislative business for the year and adjourned, effectively bringing the 114th Congress to a close. Just before midnight Senate lawmakers gave final approval to a stop-gap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution or “CR,” funding the federal government through April 28th. Republican leaders decided on a short-term spending measure to allow the incoming Trump Administration a say in final spending levels for the current Fiscal Year, which ends September 30, 2017.
Congress adjourned without renewing three-dozen or so expiring tax breaks, including the $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit set to expire on December 31st. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, repeatedly expressed his disinterest in addressing the expiring tax provisions, preferring instead to address them as part of a broader tax reform discussion next year.
NEFI will continue to press for a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax credit when the new Congress meets in January. We will also inform lawmakers of our concerns over a proposal to move the tax credit upstream from blenders to producers. A NEFI Task Force warned earlier this year that the immediate move to a producers-only tax credit would harm regional supplies of biodiesel and increase prices on consumers of biodiesel-blended heating oil. NEFI prefers an extension of the existing tax credit for two or three years while Congress examines these issues.
Lawmakers also decided against acting on a comprehensive energy bill before leaving town. A bicameral conference committee led by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) had been working feverishly on a final version of a bipartisan energy bill (S.2012) that would expand federal energy efficiency programs, enourage states to adopt new energy-efficient building codes, streamline permitting for interstate natural gas pipelines and speed-up approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, among other things. Support for the comprehensive energy bill dried up after the election.
Most Republicans believe they will be able to get a better deal with Donald Trump in the White House. Lawmakers are expected to start from scratch on a new energy bill next year with even more ambitious proposals in-play, including reform of the Renewable Fuels Standard, an expansion of oil and gas production, and possibly even a complete repeal of restrictions on LNG exports.
Article courtesy of NEFI