Divided votes by Oklahomans over House approval of $1.4 trillion spending bill

Oklahoma’s congressional delegation split its votes Tuesday in approving $1.4 trillion in spending in a pair of bills that left clean energy producers disappointed because tax credits were not extended.

Reps. Tom Cole, a Republican and Kendra Horn, a Democrat voted to support each of the resolutions while Republican Reps. Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin voted against them. Rep. Frank Lucas, a Republican did not vote on either measure.

House Resolution 1865 was approved on a 297-120 vote while House Resolution 1158 won support on a 280-138 vote. Both are now headed to the U.S. Senate.

Wind companies and solar developers had hoped the measures would give them more support but under the measure, wind companies get just one more year to obtain a big subsidy. Solar developers lost a move to extend another key tax credit.


 “This package falls way short of what we were hoping to achieve,” Greg Wetstone, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy said.

Under the bill, wind energy projects would be able to keep their current level of tax credit if they break ground before Jan. 1, 2021 – as opposed to current law requiring them to break ground by Jan. 1, 2020, according to the amendment.

The wind power tax credit is currently worth 1.5 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. The credit’s value began dropping in 2017 and was scheduled to be phased out completely next year.

The U.S. Congress declined to extend a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles but will boost funding for aviation safety after two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes.

General Motors Co (GM.N) and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) have been pushing for more than a year for extension of the credit, which phases out once an automaker hits 200,000 vehicles sold, and many lawmakers had been pushing to include the extension. The tax credit is aimed at defraying the cost of electric vehicles that are more expensive than similarly sized internal combustion engine vehicles.

Both GM and Tesla have already hit 200,000 EV sales. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who authored a proposal to extend the credit, said Monday the EV proposal faced significant opposition from the White House, according to her office.

Tesla’s credit fell to $1,875 in July and will be zero after Dec. 31. GM’s credit fell to $1,875 on Oct. 1 will be zero after March 31.

Source:  Reuters and The Hill