1. Update
  2. Economic Justice, Environment & Energy

A Missed Opportunity on Taxes and a Chance to Try Again

By Andre Gobbo, Emily Wirzba, January 9, 2020


Congress failed to pass a package of key tax credits and extensions that would have benefited 19 million low-income people and updated critical tax credits to encourage solar energy, energy storage, offshore wind, and electric vehicles. But lawmakers soon could have another chance to advance these needed changes.

House Ways and Means chairman, Richard Neal (MA-01), recently announced plans to pass legislation in 2020 that would extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credits (CTC) and hopes to press the Senate to act on these critical measures.

Missed Opportunity

Congress typically passes a package of tax credits and extensions near the end of each calendar year that touch on a number issues that are important to FCNL. In a huge disappointment, the slim tax package added to appropriations bills in 2019 failed to include almost all our key priorities, despite months of advocacy and negotiation.

FCNL is deeply disappointed at the failure to include these vital provisions, and we remain committed in our advocacy to ensure swift passage of these credits in 2020.

By failing to extend or update tax credits for solar energy, energy storage, offshore wind, and electric vehicles, Congress missed a massive opportunity to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the climate crisis. If the provisions FCNL advocated for had been included, they would have gotten us one quarter of the way to meeting our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

While the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for onshore wind received a one-year extension, the package of tax credits overall lacked necessary updates and did not include needed clean energy technologies. Additionally, tax credits were extended for biodiesel, biomass, and garbage incineration, without the extension of reciprocal clean energy credits.

On the economic justice front, advocates were pushing to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). While the EITC and CTC don’t expire at the end of the year like other tax provisions, FCNL and our allies sought to use the debate around taxes to include these much-needed expansions.

If the expansions to the EITC and CTC that FCNL advocated for were included, millions of individuals and children would no longer be taxed into, or further into, poverty. However, neither of these provisions were included in the package, preventing millions of individuals and children from taking advantage of the single most effective poverty-reduction tool available to the government.

Disappointed but Determined in 2020

FCNL is deeply disappointed at the failure to include these vital provisions, and we remain committed in our advocacy to ensure swift passage of these credits in 2020.

With your help, we can continue to push Congress to include these important tax credits in other legislation in 2020.

Andre Gobbo

  • Legislative Representative, Domestic Policy

Andre Gobbo adds capacity to the Domestic Policy team by handling constituent queries, writing action alerts and sign-on letters, assisting with lobbying visits, creating informational content, supporting coalition relationships, and helping execute FCNL’s legislative strategies. He primarily works on issues relating to economic justice and gun violence prevention but also assists other domestic policy initiatives. He also serves as the co-chair of the Policy & Advocacy subcommittee within the Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence coalition.

Emily Wirzba

  • Legislative Manager, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Emily Wirzba leads FCNL’s lobbying work to achieve bipartisan recognition of climate change and action in Congress. Emily meets with members of Congress and their staff to promote FCNL's environmental priorities. She also works closely with FCNL's network across the country to organize constituents to lobby, write, and advocate for bipartisan environmental action in Congress. She currently serves as co-chair of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community's Energy and Ecology Working Group.