NOTE: Sen. Grassley 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.
 
Prepared Opening Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Senate Finance 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 agenda.
 

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.