Bike Commuter Act on Capitol Hill last March.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)
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. It would have brought bike commuters in line with existing tax benefits for transit users and car drivers.
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.”
Based on news reports, it seems the Democrats opted to agree to remove several provisions in the Bill in order to avoid a Republican filibuster.
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.)