VIDEO RELEASE: Blumenauer Announces Key Provisions Secured in Build Back Better Act to Deliver Climate Action, Create Jobs, and Level the Playing Field

September 15, 2021
Press Release
Blumenauer used his position on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to fight for crucial priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today announced a number of key provisions he secured in the House Ways and Means Committee’s portion of the upcoming budget reconciliation bill, the Build Back Better Act, to address the climate crisis, create jobs, and make it easier for Americans to get from Point A to Point B, while tackling longstanding tax inequities that benefit wealthy megapolluters.

The announcement comes after Blumenauer delivered passionate remarks before the Ways and Means Committee, in which he slammed his Republican colleagues’ attempts to sidestep the best interests of the American people to keep tipping the scales of America’s tax code in favor of extremely wealthy individuals.

“Congress must take advantage of this opportunity to fix our country’s crumbling infrastructure, support our ongoing economic recovery, and act on the climate crisis,” said Blumenauer. “I fought hard to make sure the Build Back Better Act reflects those priorities, by including crucial provisions to boost green infrastructure and renewable energy investments that will create jobs and cut emissions. As this bill continues through the legislative process, I will continue to do all that I can to make sure it remains as bold, robust, and effective as possible, and that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of the cost.”
Blumenauer is the only member of the Oregon congressional delegation to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee—which has jurisdiction over taxation and tariffs, in addition to various crucial programs, including Social Security and unemployment insurance—within the last 25 years.
Specific provisions Blumenauer helped secure in the bill include:

  • Reinstating a Republican-repealed polluter pays crude oil and imported petroleum tax that funded Superfund cleanup projects until funding dried up in 2004. The provision would also increase the tax from 9.7 cents per gallon to 16.4 cents per gallon, and is the result of a years-long fight by Blumenauer to end a 25-year tax holiday that allowed petrochemical industry polluters to enjoy environmental liability protections while letting taxpayers take on the cost burden of cleanup efforts—making it nearly impossible for some Superfund projects to be completed.
  • Reinstating the bicycle commuter tax benefit and increasing the value of the benefit to 30% of the parking benefit, which is currently $81 per month. The provision would also offer America’s workers enhanced commuting choice and flexibility, by expanding the benefits to cover scooters, bikeshares, and electric bikes.
  • Expanding the existing electric vehicle charging station credit to also cover charging stations for two- and three-wheeled modes of transportation, including electric bicycles and scooters.
  • Extending the small wind investment tax credit at full value for 10 years and increasing the size of eligible projects, to make it easier for businesses to finance small wind energy systems to shrink their carbon footprints.
  • Expanding the Investment Tax Credit to include energy storage technologies, including batteries, pumped hydropower, fuel cells, and more.
  • Creating a 15% refundable credit for the purchase of an electric bicycle.  Individuals making less than $75,000 for single tax filers, and $150,000 for married couples, would be eligible for a 15% tax credit for the purchase of an electric bike.
  • Full-value direct pay for taxpayers to invest in renewable energy generation. Based on Blumenauer’s Renewable Energy Investment Act, full-value direct pay addresses constraints in tax equity markets and fixes project financing challenges with renewable energy projects. 
  • Expanding the value of the Historic Tax Credit, which has helped to preserve thousands of buildings that have played central roles in their communities for generations, while also creating jobs and boosting private investments in local communities. Blumenauer’s provisions provide a temporary boost in the credit’s value, in order to cover costs associated with COVID-related financing challenges, and to give projects valued below $3.75 million a permanent value increase.
  • Strengthening incentives for energy-efficient upgrades in commercial buildings, by increasing the maximum 179D deduction, and creating a new regime for energy efficient building retrofits, similar to the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Act. The deduction would be highest for projects that meet prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship requirements, in order to encourage the creation of reliable, good-paying jobs.

Blumenauer also supported the inclusion of a Child Tax Credit extension through 2025; a refundable credit for Americans who purchase new plug-in electric vehicles; a 30% tax credit for commercial electric vehicles; and an extension through 2031 of the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Credit.
Next, the portion of the budget reconciliation bill completed by the House Ways and Means Committee will merge with sections written and passed by other House committees, readying the larger bill for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.