Romney Manages to Scuttle Bipartisanship in Congress All the Way from Poland
In the latest of a series of missteps, Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign issued a statement from his Des Moines, Iowa office expressing Romney’s opposition to any extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit, an important federal tax incentive that rewards companies for producing clean, renewable energy. And according to reports from key staffers, Romney’s announcement derailed a bipartisan agreement among members of the Senate Finance Committee to renew this crucial clean energy policy.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was so surprised by the Romney campaign’s announcement, while Governor Romney was in Poland as a part of his overseas tour, he thought it must have been a mistake or miscommunication. “I figure since something is coming out of Des Moines rather than Boston, and since the guy they were writing for was in Poland, that the left hand wasn’t talking to the right hand,” Grassley said.
Governor Romney’s position clearly clashes with the beliefs of Iowans. According to a poll released this week, more than half of Iowa voters, including 59% of Independents, would be less likely to vote for a candidate for President if that candidate did not support American wind energy generation. Further, 85% of Iowans, including 75% of Republican voters, think wind energy has been good for the state’s economy.
Most troubling, the man who said he would bring “innovation and transformation in Washington,” may be responsible for preventing a rare bipartisan bright spot in a Congress paralyzed by political brinksmanship. Democrats and Republicans have come together to support the Production Tax Credit in the past because it’s an important part of our energy security.
Wind turbine construction is an unqualified American manufacturing success story. 60% of a wind turbine’s components are manufactured in the United States, compared to 25% in 2005. The wind industry directly employs over 75,000 American workers, and supports 30,000 factories in the wind energy supply chain from coast to coast. Advances in wind energy technology have driven prices down by 90% in the past two decades. And in just the past five years the typical turbine has become 30% more efficient. If we continue to provide stable energy policy, wind will support 100,000 jobs by 2016, and wind power will generate 20% of America’s electricity by 2030.
Iowans get it. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress get it. Hopefully, Governor Romney will catch on that wind power is an important part of securing America with clean energy.
Michael Wu is Truman’s Advocacy Policy Director.