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GOP lawmakers block renewable-energy-credit bill

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(Read caption) A wind farm in Iowa.

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Legislation to extend some $18 billion worth of tax credits for renewable energy fizzled in the Senate Wednesday, as Republican lawmakers made good on their stated intent to prevent the bill from moving forward unless it were accompanied by support for domestic oil drilling.

The Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 extends solar-energy investment tax credits for eight years, and extends credits for gasoline alternatives and wind power for one year. To move forward, the bill would have required a filibuster-proof 60 votes, but it received only 51, with 43 opposed.

The Associated Press reports that, despite the bill's support among business groups, Republicans oppose it on ideological grounds and because they want to make domestic drilling a priority:

Major business groups, usual GOP allies, have implored Congress to act on the tax credits, many which expired at the end of last year or will run out at the end of this year. But for many Republicans, it's a matter or principle and politics: many oppose what they say are new tax increases to pay for parts of the package and nearly all say the Senate's only business now is acting on an energy bill that promotes drilling and other measures to boost domestic oil supply.
The White House, citing new taxes and other objections to the bill, threatened a presidential veto.
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