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Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008

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Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008

This article is about the combined Act of Congress. For its best-known division, see Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. For the related program, see Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"HR 1424" redirects here. For the star (HD 28503), see List of stars in Perseus.


Public Law 110-343 (

Its formal title is "An Act To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes."

The Act created a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (division A), and also enacted the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (division B), Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (division C), which also included the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008.[3][4]

Legislative history

The first version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (structured as an amendment to H.R. 3997) was rejected by the House of Representatives on September 29.

After its defeat, Senate leaders decided to amend an existing bill from the House in order to circumvent the revenue origination clause of U.S. Constitution, and chose H.R. 1424 as the vehicle for the legislation.[5][6][7][8] H.R. 1424 was sponsored by United States House Representative Patrick J. Kennedy.[3]

On September 30, 2008, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the proposed draft had been formalized for the amendment that would transform H.R. 1424 into the Senate version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[9][10][11]

On October 1, 2008, the amendment to H.R. 1424 was approved by a vote of 74 to 25, and the entire amended bill was passed by 74 to 25, (with one not voting, the cancer-stricken Senator Ted Kennedy). The bill was returned to the House for consideration.[12][13] On October 3, 2008, the bill as passed by the Senate was accepted by a vote of 263 to 171 in the House. Every member of the House voted, though the House had a vacant seat of the recently deceased Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law a few hours later.[14][15]

Three divisions of the Act

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is part of an effort to bail out firms holding mortgage-backed securities in an attempt to restore liquidity to the credit markets.[16]

Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 contains a new tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for less than a year after the first 250,000 are sold. The credit is a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh to a maximum of $15,000 for any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds (12,000 kg) [17] and up to $7,500 for 12 kWh or more in passenger cars (vehicles up to 8,500 pounds (3,900 kg) ).

It also extends existing tax credits for renewable energy initiatives, including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel development, and wind, solar, geothermal and hydro-electric power.[18] It establishes electricity as a clean-burning fuel for tax purposes.

Separately, this section also requires the reporting of cost basis by brokers to the IRS for certain securities acquired after 2011 – see covered security.

Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008

The Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act includes $100 billion in tax breaks for businesses and the middle class, plus a provision to raise the cap on federal deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000.[19]

The Act keeps the alternative minimum tax from hitting 20 million middle-income Americans. It provides $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana.[19]

As a whole, the Senate tax package would cost $150.5 billion over 10 years. Roughly $43.5 billion would be offset by several revenue-raising provisions. Hedge fund managers would be forbidden from using offshore corporations to defer paying taxes.[5]

The bill freezes a tax deduction that oil and gas companies get for certain domestic production activities. The deduction, now 6 percent, is scheduled to rise to 9 percent in 2010.[5]

The provisions of the tax bill included: [12][20][21]

Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (a part of Division C) mandates that if U.S. health insurance companies provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse, the coverage must be equal for conditions such as psychological disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction.[4][24][25]

Cost

The Act increased the statutory limit on the public debt by US$ 700 billion to US$ 11.3 trillion. However, the legislation is designed to have a net zero long-term cost, and includes language that mandates the President and Congress to develop a plan to recoup any money that is not recouped within 5 years.[3][26]

Reception

Journalists and critics commented that portions of the bill contained earmarks and pork barrel spending.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

References

External links

  • Pub.L. 110–343
  • House roll call vote
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