A bipartisan bill introduced yesterday in the House would authorize clean renewable energy bonds for another five years and provide other energy tax incentives.
The current authority for CREBs expires Dec. 31. The earliest the bill could be considered is sometime in September after Congress returns from its August recess, congressional aides said.
The authors of the bill - Reps. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, and John Peterson, R-Pa. - have obtained more than 40 co-sponsors and are in the process of recruiting others, according to Dave Helfert, the communications director for Abercrombie.
Currently, the legislation's co-sponsors include all 22 members of the House Bipartisan Energy Working Group that drafted the measure, according to Helfert.
But lawmakers are hoping to garner 200 to 250 total sponsors, he added. That would almost guarantee that the bill could bypass committees and head immediately to the full House for consideration, he said.
Lawmakers in the House also are hoping this energy legislation can avoid the strong Republican opposition facing a bill pending in the Senate that would authorize $2 billion of additional CREBs.
The so-called extenders bill, which extends several tax breaks, repeatedly has been blocked by Republicans objecting to the revenue-raising measures that have been proposed to offset the costs of that legislation.
Varying versions of the extenders bill have failed four consecutive procedural votes during the past two months that would have limited debate on the measure. Senate leaders do not want to bring the bill up for a vote by the full Senate unless they are assured they will not face a filibuster by opponents of the legislation.
But while the beleaguered extenders package employs a number of tax increases to pay for the bill, the House energy bill is offset instead by existing funds.
To make matters worse for the extenders package, the Bush administration announced late Wednesday it would veto the bill in its current form because of concerns about the revenue-raising offsets.
"Overall, the administration does not believe that efforts to avoid tax increases on Americans need to be coupled with provisions to increase revenue," the administration said in a statement.