Biofuel provision part of House's healthcare amendment package

The Manager's Amendment House Democrats released Tuesday night contains a host of expected revisions to the majority party's healthcare reform -- and one not so anticipated section on biofuel credits.

Fourteen pages into amendment package -- which includes provisions that would end anti-trust protections for insurance companies and award states for innovation -- is a proposal that would restrict paper producers from claiming their share of a $1.01-per-gallon biofuel tax credit.

The effort -- derived from a bill first introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) -- could save the United States about $24 billion over 10 years, according to his office.

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“The Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit Act will modernize the existing cellulosic biofuel tax credit while ensuring that taxpayers get the biggest bang for their renewable energy buck by making clear that only qualified, non-food feedstocks capable of powering America’s energy future are able to claim the credit," Van Hollen said in a statement Tuesday.

“In addition to supporting homegrown renewable energy, it is my hope that this legislation will be added to the Manager’s Amendment for the House health care reform package making its way to the floor this week so that the savings generated by these improvements can help pay for health care for all Americans,” he added Tuesday, before the amendment containing his provision was released.

Ultimately, the inclusion of the biofuel provision might infuriate congressional Republicans, who have fought their own battle with amendments this year. Although GOPers have charged Democrats with ignoring their proposed revisions, majority party leaders have routinely responded that they would consider those amendments if only they were germane to the legislation at hand.

If the GOP makes an issue out of the proposal, Democrats could find themselves defending their amendments package the day after they released it.

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