GOP Congressman: Cliff Deal Example of How ‘We Buy Votes with Debt’

By Fred Lucas | January 2, 2013 | 11:29 AM EST


Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R.-S.C.)

( – The deal to avert the fiscal cliff which consists of special tax credits for green energy, Hollywood, distilleries and other industries, is a demonstration of Capitol Hill vote buying, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said Wednesday.

The 154-page bill that passed the Senate and House on New Year’s Day to stop the tax hikes and spending cuts in the fiscal cliff contained 12 specific credits for green energy and 31 additional credits for various businesses, while increasing taxes on those earning more than $400,000.

“The bill turned out to be over 100 pages long. It actually has 96 different provisions in it,” Mulvaney said on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. “The ones that we found for example are the continued tax credits for example for wind energy. There are tax credits for Hollywood. There are tax credits for, I think, it’s rum manufacturers.

“It’s almost as if you could see this list of the senators walking up and down the aisle of the senators on New Year’s Eve and say ‘what do you need in this bill to get you to vote yes on it?’” Mulvaney continued. “That’s what it looks like. There are tax giveaways. Are they a lot of money? No. Are they indicative of how Washington has always compromised? Yes. We buy votes. We buy votes with debt.”

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A rum excise, found is Section 329 of the bill, is extended another year, to Jan. 1, 2014. The Washington Post reports the revenue stream is used to support the rum industries in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by taxing rum imported into the United States $13.50 per gallon. In fiscal year 2009, the rum tax raised $547 million for the rum industries in the two U.S. territories, according to the Post.

The Hollywood handout he referred to comes in Section 316 of the legislation, called the “Extension of Special Expensing Rules for Certain Film and Television Production.” The Washington Post reported that provision withheld $75 million in revenue by allowing motion picture studios to deduct up to $15 million of their costs if more than three fourths of the moves productions take place in the United States, or $20 million if the movie is produced in a low income area.

Sections 401 through 412 are the green energy tax credits. These include a credit for two to three wheel electric plug-in vehicles, credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling vehicles, extended credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel and an extension of credits for energy efficient new homes.

The White House made the green energy tax cuts a central part of a press release Tuesday.

“The agreement extends tax relief for businesses through the end of next year,” the White House release said. “This means extending the Production Tax Credit, a key incentive for renewable energy that many Republicans had been trying to end, as well as the Research & Experimentation tax credit. In addition, the agreement extends 50 percent bonus depreciation, a cost-effective temporary measure to support investment and growth. All of these would be extended through the end of 2013.”

Another example from the bill that has garnered attention was the extension of a tax credit for building race tracks is in Section 312 of the legislation.