Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse released the following statement today regarding the Senate’s procedural vote on legislation to extend emergency unemployment benefits, extend existing income tax rates, and provide new tax cuts to workers and businesses:
“Today I voted in favor of badly needed relief for Rhode Islanders struggling in this tough economy. While I oppose some elements of the compromise package – including the extension of Bush-era tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and the reduced estate tax – I believe that on balance it is a win for middle-class families, in particular, a win for Rhode Island as we slowly recover from record unemployment. This legislation, by extending unemployment benefits and cutting payroll taxes, will put more money in the pockets of Rhode Islanders in the coming year, and will help spur economic growth and create jobs. I was also pleased that the final Senate bill included renewable energy incentives for which I fought.”
Last Thursday, Whitehouse spoke on the Senate floor to urge the extension of the renewable energy grant program established by section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program allows renewable energy projects to receive a direct cash grant instead of a tax credit and has helped jumpstart the clean energy economy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid subsequently agreed to include a one-year extension of the section 1603 program in the tax bill.