It is unclear how many Senators will support the amendment, which needs 60 votes to be adopted. What is clear is that some of the Senators opposing the amendment are very likely to turn around and support another amendment raft with subsidies for the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry – the awkwardly-named New Alternatives to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) Act.
Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Harry Reid (D-NV) want to provide generous subsidies for the NGV-industry – from the production of natural gas-powered vehicles and the purchase of these vehicles to the installation of fueling stations. Federal handouts to the NGV-industry, which has been lobbying non-stop for well over a year, is exactly what President Obama touted in his trip to Mount Holly, North Carolina last week.
After the President’s speech last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “There is no reason to believe that today’s promises will be any different and is just another reason why North Carolinians can’t afford a second term of Barack Obama.” He is right that Americans cannot afford doubling down on failure. Yet, that is exactly what President Obama and many in the Senate appear ready to do, including some Republican Senators.
If we ever hope to turn back the big-government agenda enacted by President Obama, conservatism must carry the day in November. It must be about a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America. Conservatism does not carry the day by taking one for the team or enacting an Obama-lite agenda.
Fortunately, Senators will have an opportunity to provide a sharp contrast to the big-government, market-distorting policies offered by Senators Stabenow, Burr, Menendez and Reid.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) will offer an amendment to repeal all the targeted tax credit subsidies for the energy industry, and lower the corporate tax rate by a corresponding amount. Instead of empowering the Washington Establishment to pick winners and losers, the DeMint Amendment would empower individuals and make America more competitive in the global economy.
The message is simple: lawmakers need to shed their selective subsidy outrage and get out of the business of picking winners and losers.