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Senate Action Alert: Highway Bill/Energy Subsidies

Update: All 4 amendments were defeated, meaning we won 2 and lost 2. DeMint’s devolution amendment failed 30-67 with 14 Republicans (including McConnell) voting no; Stabenow’s green energy pork amendment failed 49-49; DeMint’s repeal of all energy subsidies failed 26-72; the Menendez-Burr handouts for natural gas cars failed 51-47.  6 Republicans supported the subsidies, including Tom Coburn! This might seem like a stalemate, but the natural gas subsidies only failed due to the 60-vote threshold.  It is also appalling that only 26 Republicans support the free-market in the energy sector.

Today is D-day for the Senate highway bill and all its amendments.  We must oppose this highway bill, which will raise taxes, engender future bailouts, and preclude much-needed devolution of transportation responsibility to the states.  Before voting on final passage of the bill tonight, the Senate will vote on several other important amendments.  We should support the two DeMint amendments and oppose the other amendments.

  • DeMint #1756: At noon today the Senate will vote on DeMint’s amendment to abolish the federal gas tax and devolve transportation spending to the states.  His amendment will only need 51 votes to pass.  This is a seminal vote for conservatives.

After 2:15, the Senate will vote on 20 amendments.  Here are the amendments related to energy subsidies that conservatives must watch carefully.  Each amendment will require 60 votes to pass.

  • DeMint #1589: This amendment would repeal all subsidies and tax credits for all energy companies.  This amendment would not only prevent the expired green energy tax credits from being reinstated, it would repeal existing ones as well.  This is one of the most important votes for conservatives.  It will separate the men from the boys.
  • Stabenow #1812: This amendment is the antithesis of DeMint’s bill.  Her amendment would extend all of the green energy credits and subsidies, including many of the new provisions enacted in the 2009 Stimulus.
  • Menendez-Burr #1782: This amendment would pass the T. Boone Pickens natural gas subsidies.  Boone Pickens’s plan would grant a $4,000 tax credit per car produced by all manufacturers of natural gas vehicles.  It would also give consumers a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing one of these vehicles.  Companies that install commercial fueling stations for these vehicles would be entitled to a $100,000 subsidy per station!

Please call your senators  and kindly request that they support the DeMint amendments and oppose the Stabenow and Menendez amendments –  if they are really sincere about ending corporate welfare.

Finally, let’s urge all senators to vote no on the underlying highway bill.  Democrats admit that they don’t even know how they will pay for the deficit in the Highway Trust Fund (they won’t).  Moreover, by helping Democrats pass the Obama/Boxer stimulus, Senate Republicans will help jam House conservatives by putting them on the hook to pass this terrible bill before the March 31 reauthorization deadline.  Unfortunately, Minority Whip Jon Kyl would only commit to not whipping up votes in support for the bill.  They won’t do the right thing by whipping up opposition to the bill and coalescing around DeMint’s devolution plan.

We’ll keep you posted on the vote tallies and take names at the end of the day.

Cross-posted from The Madison Project

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