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WH was key to $64 billion of corporate welfare in fiscal cliff bill--and it's only 2 months to

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-08-13 04:43 AM
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WH was key to $64 billion of corporate welfare in fiscal cliff bill--and it's only 2 months to
the next bill!

Insight: In "fiscal cliff" bill, White House was key to corporate tax breaks
By Patrick Temple-West, Marcus Stern and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON | Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:04pm EST

(Reuters) <snip>

The bill extended several tax breaks backed by both parties, including $14.3 billion in credits for research and development projects for thousands of U.S. businesses. But it also had other provisions - breaks for companies involved in wind energy, auto racing, rum, Hollywood films and much more.


Some business lobbyists told Reuters they were surprised that the package of tax credits - which had been approved by the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee in August - survived the negotiations over the tax bill. The main part of the bill extended Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals with incomes of less than $400,000 and couples who make less than $450,000.


Tax credits for the energy industry make up a big chunk of the "add-ons" that were attached to the fiscal cliff bill - about $18.1 billion worth, of which $12.1 billion represents a dramatic expansion of write-offs for wind energy investments.

McConnell's spokesman, Don Stewart, said the White House insisted that it would a "deal breaker" if the entire package of tax credits was not in the bill. Stewart also said the White House initially wanted to make all of the tax breaks permanent, rather than extend them only through the end of this year.

"The White House ... can't deny that the only reason the (business tax breaks were) included in the final agreement is because the president insisted" they be in there, Stewart said.


Some Democratic strategists said that given the rush to get a fiscal cliff bill through Congress before U.S. financial markets opened for the new year last Wednesday, it likely seemed unrealistic to pick apart the package of tax credits - known as "extenders" - that had passed the Senate Finance Committee on a bipartisan, 19-5 vote.

So the package - with its $222 million credit for the rum industry, a $78 million write-off for the owners of NASCAR auto racing tracks and tax credits for the film industry that could total $248 million, among other things - survived intact, like a holiday bonus to Washington's lobbyists.



Outrage over the tax breaks flowed from small-government advocates and conservative voices such as the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which called the tax credits a "crony capitalist blowout."


"They always do this," said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. The difference this time was that more people were watching the high-stakes talks over the fiscal cliff bill, he said.


During the past two years, the American Wind Energy Association spent $4.5 million lobbying and gave more than $335,000 in campaign contributions to federal candidates, most of them members of Congress, according to the Senate's lobbying database and the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.


Those opposing the wind energy credits include some in the nuclear power industry, which itself has received more than $100 billion in federal subsidies since the 1940s, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp, the largest nuclear power operator in the United States, spent $6.4 million on lobbying during the first 10 months of 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Exelon also is investing in wind energy but was a vocal voice against the tax credit approved by Congress, saying in a statement that "wind energy can and should stand on its own in competing with other clean energy alternatives."

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a member of the Senate Finance Committee who first proposed the wind energy tax credit back in 1992, said that such provisions are not a giveaway by the U.S. Treasury because they encourage investments that might not otherwise be made.

"Using the tax code to stimulate investment is altogether different than appropriating money," he said. {LOL, what a crock. It's all money that is not in the Treasury.)


"It's hard to think of anything that could feed the cynicism of the American people more than larding up must-pass emergency legislation with giveaways to special interest and campaign contributors," he {John McCain} said in a statement.

After the Senate approved the fiscal cliff deal early on New Year's Day, it moved to the House, where some Republicans complained about the "bloated" package during a closed-door party meeting. But the objectors decided they did not have the votes to amend the bill, House Republican aides said.


(Additional reporting by Kim Dixon and Roberta Rampton; Editing by David Lindsey and Lisa Shumaker)

Carney did not deny any of the above, but did say that it would "strain credulity" to imagine that the credits did not have bi-partisan support. Supposedly, the Republicans were especially against the wind energy credits, which Romney had criticized.

Many of the tax credits are referred to as "extenders' because they are "routinely" extended every year.


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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-08-13 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yeah, Republicans, except for Grassley, are against the
single good provision in the "agreement". Corporate welfare, it's a wonderful thing! People welfare, not so much.
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