U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has stripped out a proposal extending the $1-a-gallon tax credit for U.S. biodiesel producers from the jobs bill expected to come for a vote once the session resumes on Feb. 22.
Reid, D-NV, says he wants a small jobs bill that can pass quickly, blowing apart a bigger package with several tax extender proposals that had been worked out by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-MT, and Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-IA.
Baucus and Grassley had attached a one-year tax credit extension biodiesel producers had sought to revive production of the fuel.
The credit expired Dec. 31, and now it’s not clear when the extension proposal will come up for a vote.
The National Biodiesel Board, which has been calling for the extension, expressed shock at Reid’s move.
"We are extremely disappointed," says Michael Frohlich, a spokesman for the group. "Reid basically pulled the rug from under the Finance Committee. This is short-sighted. We hope he revisits this issue before next week.
We’ll continue fighting. The stability and survival or biodiesel plants depend on this tax credit. This credit supports 23,000 jobs."