A Vote for the Wind PTC is a Vote for President Obama’s Climate Agenda

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will soon lose his grip on a chamber he dominated for seven years. Before giving up the reins, however, Reid will dictate the Senate’s agenda during the lame duck session. At the top of his to-do list is a tax extenders bill that includes an extension of the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

We already explained why Congress should reject any effort to extend the wind PTC during the lame duck session. In short, the PTC is a flawed policy that harms American families and threatens power grid reliability. We also explained how the PTC is integral to President Obama’s climate agenda, the foundation of which is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon dioxide rules for existing power plants.

A vote by Congress to extend the wind PTC is a vote in favor of the status quo, which the American voters rejected by giving Republicans control of the Senate. Opposing the Obama-Reid energy agenda doesn’t have to wait until the new Congress is sworn in—it can begin by opposing the wind PTC during the lame duck session.

Taking on Obama’s Energy Agenda Now

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a top priority of his is “to try to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.” He can take action on this goal even before the new Congress is sworn in by opposing the wind PTC.

In April, the Senate Finance Committee passed a tax extenders package that includes a retroactive extension of the wind PTC, which lapsed at the end of last year. The full Senate has not taken action on the package, though Sen. Reid is intent on passing the extenders during the lame duck.

If soon-to-be Majority Leader McConnell is indeed serious about reining in the EPA, he should start by opposing an extension of the wind PTC in the lame duck session. In fact, rejecting the PTC is just about the only action the Senate can take during the lame duck to “rein in” the EPA.

Don’t “Clear the Decks” if the Decks Include the Wind PTC

The incoming 114th Congress is eager to show that it can govern. McConnell and his staff have indicated that they want to “clear the decks” for the incoming Congress. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said that the election gives Republicans a “chance to govern on energy and environmental policy.”

If Republicans want to be effective in the lame duck session, they must resist attempts to include the wind PTC in a tax extenders package, even if it helps to “clear the decks.” Cutting a deal that includes the PTC would support the agenda that the next Congress is tasked with unraveling.

Republicans should not trade in their values for a clean slate. The American people gave Republicans a majority in the 114th Congress to push back against Obama’s overreach, including his energy agenda. The new Congress will push to invalidate the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations under the Congressional Review Act and use the appropriations process to stall the rule. Unfortunately, these efforts will ring hollow if Senate Republicans allow Sen. Reid to revive the wind PTC in the lame duck session.


On October 2, President Obama made sure the American people knew that his policies were on the ballot. He said, “I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” The American people have spoken and they repudiated President Obama’s policies by voting out a large number of Senators and Representatives in President Obama’s party. Opposing the wind PTC is the first step Congress can take toward fulfilling that mandate. Given the strong connections between the PTC and the President’s climate agenda, a vote to extend the PTC is inexcusable.


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