The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed the Senate-amended bailout package — the final tally, announced over applause and cheers in the chamber, was 263 to 171 in favor (we’ve been glued to CSPAN all morning). The big difference between this bill and the bailout package that failed to pass in the House on Monday is a bundle of tax breaks for individuals and businesses, including extensions of renewable energy credits. The bill now heads to president Bush for signing. Update: President Bush signed the bill into law this afternoon.
During debate, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sited the renewable energy tax credit extensions as a vital part of the bailout package. The bill extends the production and investment tax credits which were set to expire at the end of this year and are vital to cleantech project development. Half a million green collar jobs would be saved and created by this legislation, Pelosi said. The American Wind Energy Association has estimated that the expiration of the tax credits would have cost the solar and wind industries a combined $19 billion and roughly 116,000 jobs in just one year.
Looks like the Senate’s plan of adding tax breaks to “sweeten” the bill for House Republicans actually worked. Some are calling it a “pork-filled bailout,” but the amended bill gained support from both Republicans and Democrats. 32 more Democrats and 26 more Republicans voted for the bailout today than did on Monday.