Reform of the blender's credit was not included in the debt limit deal that Congress approved this week. While acknowledging that Congress needs to exercise fiscal responsibility, former congressional representatives stress that Congress also needs to step up to the plate when it comes to a national energy policy.
Congress approved raising the country’s debt limit this week, but reform of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) is not part of the agreement.
“ACE and our members are disappointed that the ethanol compromise was not included in the final debt limit deal just because some in Congress insisted that revenue-generating measures were sacred cows,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).
“We sincerely appreciate the efforts undertaken by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Klobuchar (D-MN) on reforming the tax credit and looking for a bipartisan solution in a difficult fiscal time,” Jennings continued. “ACE will be working to help resurrect this reform effort which returns a billion dollars to the Treasury for deficit reduction, helps fund infrastructure and supports the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol.”
In an op ed to Roll Call, former members of Congress Thomas Ewing (R-IL) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) wrote, “Are energy independence and its attendant economic and national security benefits a priority [for Congress] or not?"
Ewing and Sandlin, who now serve as leaders of the 25 x ’25 Renewable Energy Alliance (www.25x25.org), acknowledged the need for Congress to exercise fiscal responsibility, but said that there also should be a stronger domestic energy policy. “Even if policymakers don’t have a near-term opportunity to adopt a comprehensive long-term energy plan, there are a few important steps that they (and we) can take to move in the right direction,” they wrote.
The authors called for ensuring that budget decisions do not interfere with the country’s need to secure a sustainable energy future. “We’ve made a lot of progress over the past several years in expanding renewable energy production, and now is not the time to undercut its further development with hasty budget decisions that produce short-term benefits but long-term losses,” they said.
Ewing and Sandlin also suggested that those who seek to discredit clean energy for their own financial and political gain need to be confronted.
Finally, they stressed that both the American public and politicians "must keep the bigger goal in mind: domestic clean-energy solutions that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve national security and help keep the brave men and women who defend our freedoms out of harm’s way.”