Some House Democrats and even some Republicans like Congressman Steve King are threatening to vote against the tax deal President Obama struck with Republicans. Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says a tax credit for ethanol is in that package, and if the bill doesn’t pass by December 31st, the tax credit will expire.
“That’s going to be very bad for the economy, very bad — obviously — for the employees and families that are impacted and very bad for our energy security,” Shaw says. “…Our position has been all along: let’s get a one year extension and then take this year and have a very sincere and robust debate about what the future should look like.” Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants employee up to 4,000 people and
Shaw says another 70,000 jobs in Iowa are linked to the industry. The tax deal also includes a resumption of the tax credit for soybean-based biodiesel. That tax credit expired at the end of 2009 and the 11 biodiesel plants in Iowa have been idle for months.
“The industry’s been on a virtual shut-down this whole year. It’s been a very horrible experience to go through for those folks and their employees or, in a lot of cases, I should say their ex-employees,” Shaw says. “Getting this back in place would definitely allow us to fire up quite a bit of the biodiesel capacity and hopefully hire back here in Iowa several hundred people.”
Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, says he may vote against the tax deal because it does not make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent. He also objects to what he describes as “ornaments” being put on the bill as it’s being considered in the Senate.
Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, issued a statement late Friday saying he was waiting for the final version to emerge before deciding whether he’ll vote yes or no on the plan. Boswell added that his legislative philosophy is “if you can’t take home the whole loaf of bread, grab as many slices as you can to benefit your constituents.”
Congressman Bruce Braley issued a statement last Thursday saying he was “extremely concerned that extending Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of Americans will explode the deficit.” Braley is a Democrat from Waterloo.