McCain facing tax vs. energy (non)dilemma

Congressional Quarterly has been suckered by the Greenwasher from Arizona — just like pretty much everyone else, as recently noted.

CQ just ran an article, “McCain Facing Tax vs. Energy Dilemma,” about “The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008” (described here) that asserts:

Republican presidential nominee John McCain may have to pick between two of his campaign’s principles next week when the Senate takes up an energy tax bill that would help subsidize new and existing renewable energy incentives with relatively small tax hikes on oil companies.

Then again, maybe he won’t be there to choose.

McCain has campaigned in favor of federal investment in wind power, solar energy, low-emission cars and trucks, and “clean coal” technology, all of which are included in the energy measure. But he also has said repeatedly that he opposes increasing taxes on oil companies.

[With apologies to Jon Stewart] Oh, Congressional Quarterly, why do you mock me?

You might think that a publication with the word “Congressional” in its name would write articles about members of Congress that were based on their Congressional voting records. Well, you wouldn’t think that, because you are readers of Climate Progress and wise in the ways of the world. But some random visitor from outer space would think that. All I can say is, stupid alien.


This is an incredibly easy vote for John McCain, a man of no remaining principles, to go by the last month — he picked a friggin’ global warming denier for is running mate, after all (see “Turns out McCain doesn’t care about global warming”), and he was accused of lying too much by Karl Rove! McCain thinks renewables “dont’ work,” he hates government subsidies for renewables, and his Big Oil buddies who both manage and fund his campaign hate even the tiniest reduction in their pork.

CQ does understand very recent voting history of enough to know what McCain is probably going to do — skip the vote entirely.

McCain’s campaign did not reply to several CQ Politics inquiries, made by telephone and e-mail, into whether he supports or opposes the energy tax bill.

Like his Democratic counterpart, Barack Obama , McCain has missed most Senate votes this year while campaigning for president, so it may never be clear where he stands. Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro said his boss favors the energy tax bill.

However, the energy tax measure is currently complicated by larger legislative considerations, which could also complicate McCain’s vote decision.

The energy tax bill is packaged with provisions extending numerous other expiring tax breaks as well as a one-year “patch” of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which would prevent more than 20 million taxpayers from having to pay the AMT this year. McCain wants to phase out the AMT.

The Senate version of the measure, which has not been finalized, would spend $17 billion on energy tax incentives over 10 years. It would pay for those incentives by limiting some oil and gas company deductions, altering tax treatment of certain foreign oil-related income and raising the per-barrel tax that goes to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund from the current 5 cents to 8 cents through 2016 and 9 cents in 2017.

Last December, McCain was the only senator who did not vote on a procedural motion that would have paved the way for an increase in taxes on oil and gas companies to pay for expanded incentives for alternative energy. The motion failed by one vote. Obama voted for it.

In the first seven months of 2008, McCain participated in 18 percent of Senate votes….

The bill has its flaws, which I will blog on later.Related Posts: