Bipartisan push for wind tax credit stalls in Senate

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DENVER — Eight of Colorado’s nine members of Congress are supporting a proposal to extend a federal tax break for companies working to produce wind energy — a proposal that stalled in the Senate on Tuesday.

The tax break is due to expire at the end of the year, and supporters say they’ll keep trying to find a way to extend it.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, had sponsored the amendment that was defeated in the Senate Tuesday morning on a mostly party-line 49-49 vote.

Colorado, Bennet said, stands “to suffer a huge economic blow if Congress can’t get its act together and extend this critical tax credit.

“With thousands of high-quality jobs at stake across our state and the entire country, we need to provide certainty for this industry, so we do not derail its current growth.”

The amendment that failed Tuesday was one of 20 attached to a major transportation bill

The amendment that failed Tuesday also included tax credits for energy-efficient homes, biofuels and other initiatives; but, because there wasn’t a way to pay for them included in the proposal, it struggled to win broader support — and the 60 votes needed to pass it.

Now, Bennet and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall will be looking for the next legislative vehicle, their next opportunity to attach the wind energy tax credit to legislation that will allow another vote and, they hope, a different result.

“Without this tax credit, the industry will crash,” Udall said Tuesday. “In fact, a crash is already beginning. Vestas may lay off more than 80 percent of its workforce in Colorado if the PTC is not extended soon. I’m fighting every day for this extension, and we need to do it now.

“This isn’t something we can afford to put on the backburner until the last minute.”

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