Obama Seeks $5 Billion to Create Clean-Energy Jobs

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama called on Congress today to add $5 billion for expansion of a clean-energy manufacturing tax credit to encourage job creation.

“If an American company wants to create jobs and grow, we should be there to help them do it,” Obama said at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, where he traveled to help Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid raise about $800,000 for his November re-election campaign.

The president promoted his $862 billion stimulus package and a section that last year provided $2.3 billion in tax credits. That resulted in 183 projects that created more than 17,000 jobs making things such as wind turbines and solar panels, Obama said in January.

The president today said the U.S. economy is recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s, with 83,000 private jobs added in June, though the unemployment rate is at 9.5 percent. In Nevada, the jobless rate was 14 percent in May.

“Nevada, I know we’ve been through tough times, and not all the difficult days are behind us,” he said. “But I can promise you this: We are headed in the right direction.”

Amonix Inc., a closely held company based in Seal Beach, California, was cited by the president as one of the firms using the tax credit to open solar-panel factories in Nevada and Arizona.

Generating Jobs

A $5 billion expansion for energy tax credits of 30 percent would attract about $12 billion in private investments, yielding thousands of clean-energy manufacturing jobs. That would mean that each federal dollar spent would lure about $2.40 in private capital for such projects, according to a White House fact sheet.

Obama said that the $5 billion investment would generate almost 40,000 jobs and the $12 billion in private capital would add another 90,000 jobs.

The program is being considered in Congress as part of a pending energy-tax bill now in the Senate.

Obama was ending a two-day trip to Nevada and Missouri to promote his policies to encourage development of clean-energy technology before returning to Washington later today.

He said yesterday he expects energy investments alone to generate 700,000 jobs over the next few years nationwide.

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