Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bike commuter benefit does not survive Senate vote on Energy Bill

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Editor) on December 14th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

National Bike Summit 07
Congressman Earl Blumenauer introducing the
Bike Commuter Act on Capitol Hill last March.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

An effort to give bike commuters the same tax benefits as transit users and car drivers — which was introduced to Congress by Earl Blumenauer last March and passed a House vote last week — has been stripped out of the Energy Bill by the Senate.

The U.S. Senate passed the Energy Bill yesterday, but not before removing several “green initiatives” included in the bill by the Blumenauer-led Ways and Means Committee.

Along with removing Blumenauer’s effort to close the “Hummer tax loophole” (which sought to end the additional tax incentive for business purchases of luxury SUVs weighing over 6,000 lbs), the Senate removed the part of the bill that would have expanded the existing transportation fringe benefit to include bike commuters.

The bike commuter provision was based on The Bike Commuter Act and would have given a benefit of $20 per month to employees who biked to work “for the purchase, storage, or repair” of their bicycles.

Addressing National Bike Summit attendees on Capitol Hill last March, Blumenauer said the bike commuter benefit was simply a matter of equity and it would have stopped, “The discrimination against people who burn calories instead of fuel.”

Meeky Blizzard, who works in Blumenauer’s Portland office told me today that, “The House Leadership is committed to bringing the tax portions of the bill back in another form early next year, and I’m sure Earl will be working to make sure that the bike commute benefit is in there.”

The bill will now go back to the House for approval (Blizzard says it will pass as-is) and the White House is expected to sign the bill into law.

Here’s a little bonus audio from Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) taking a pot-shot at the bike commuter provision of the “Pork laden” Energy Bill. (I recorded this from a YouTube video of comments he made on the House Floor on December 6th.)


Tyler said...

we'll we could just recycle all the dead bodies accumulated from our war for oil and compose them into a form or energy usage by chemically converting human remains into combustible fuel...just a thought, or we we could just say FUCK YOU JOHN BOEHNER you are a fucking idiot I hope you die soon

George said...

Writing that the bike commuter benefit was stripped by the Senate does not provide us with actionable information. Which senator or senators led the way in making this change?