filed several amendments to the Clean
Energy for America Act
considered by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday.
A Grassley authored provision that focused on reducing fraudulent claims of the
electric vehicle (EV) tax credit was
accepted by the Chairman and included in the final bill. In 2019, the
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) discovered
that the IRS effectively had no process to determine if the EV credit was properly
claimed on a tax return. Between 2014 and 2018, TIGTA identified 16,510
potentially erroneous claims of the credit totaling nearly $74 million.
Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Committee Markup of the Clean Energy for America Act
Delivered on Wednesday,
May 26, 2021
I appreciate the Chairman’s interest in updating
our energy tax policy. I agree that reforming our current policies so that they
avoid picking winners and losers is a worthy goal.
However, the devil is in the details. I
have concerns that the approach we’re considering today is less about being
tech neutral than advancing a liberal agenda.
I’ve always understood that to
sufficiently meet America’s energy needs we need an all-of-the-above
approach. But, the Chairman’s proposal is for all that’s above, none
that’s below, and kind-of-sort-of for those that grow. This is due to the
bill’s focus on carbon elimination over carbon reduction.
This preoccupation with achieving a green
dream disfavors technologies that significantly reduce carbon emissions, but
can’t achieve net-zero on the aggressive time scale required here. At the
same time, the mark provides a windfall to certain technologies that would be
eligible for subsidies long after they achieve significant market penetration
and economies of scale.
I also have concerns over the IRS’s
ability to administer the proposal. It leans heavily on the IRS to write and
enforce rules and regulations that determine what technologies qualify for
subsidies. It’s unclear that the IRS presently has the expertise or
resources to do either.
The IRS has already been charged with an
increasing role as a social welfare agency under the majority’s advanced child
tax credit program. This proposal further expands the IRS’s role as a
regulator of carbon emissions and enforcer of labor rules.
This makes me wonder if recent proposals
to increase the IRS’s budget are about tackling the tax gap – or part of a
larger agenda to lean on the agency to administer a wide ranging progressive
Due to these and other concerns, I’m
unable to support the Chairman’s proposal as written. However, I remain ready
and willing to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase
American energy independence and reduce carbon emissions.