The Senate Finance Committee ignored President Carter's plea for support yesterday and took semi-final votes on a bill that flies in the face of his energy tax recommendations.
At the same time it adjusted the bill so the Seante can back-pedal in a House-Senate conference and perhaps approve some of Carter's taxes if the proceeds go to the industry as production incentives, which is the approach the Finance Committee and reportedly the full Senate prefers. Carter wants the proceeds rebated to the public.
The House approved all the taxes the President proposed to save energy - on crude oil, low-mileage cars and industrial use of oil and natural gas. The Senate committee rejected each one of them and instead drafted a bill which it says will meet his goals of less dependence on imported oil by encouraging more production.
It did this by approving a series of tax credits or cuts that by 1935 would cost the Treasury between $30 billion and $40 billion.
The committee estimated it made a savings of 1,000,000 barrels a day by 1985 in one fell swoop yesterday by voting to pay through tax credits half the cost of replacing an oil or gas boiler with one using other fuel for any business, nonprofit or religious organization. It is estimated this would cost more than $20 billion in lost revenues by 1985.
"If it costs a lot of money, it means it's working," said committee Chairman Russell B. Long (D-La.). Long has said all along that the energy tax revenues should be used to encourage production of more energy.
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) noted that the boiler tax credit was Carter's industrial use tax turned upside down. That Carter proposal would tax industries that use oil or gas to neat their boilers to push them to more abundant coal. Carter would give a 20 per cent tax credit, rather than the Senate's 50 per cent, to encourage conversion.
Frank Moore, Carter's chief of congressional liaison, stood outside the Finance Committee room yesterday after noon and said he expected a House-Senate conference would marry the House taxes to the Senate creidts and produce a bill.
To lay the groundwork for such a possible rescue operation, Long persuaded the Finance Committee yesterday to adopt an amendment that assures that everything the Senate committee has talked about during the alst month would be properly before the conference for negotiation. This would include creation of a transit trust fund and energy development corporation, which the Finance Committee has approved in principle, to spend the Carter crude oul tax revenue, should that be approved in conference.
"I'm not all that optimistic we can get a bill anyway," Long told the committee. "But without this flexibility the chances are just about nil."
Sen. William V. Roth (R-Del.) protested that the action paved the way for the Senate to accept "a significant tax."
The only tax approved by the Senate committee was an extension through 1985 of the non-controversial 4-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax which has been used to build the interstate highway system and which was scheduled to drop to 1 1/2 cents year after next.
After that, the Senate bill is a long list of tax reductions. It includes credits for homeowners who insulate or install solar heat, credits for companies that buy vans to carry employees to work, credits for businesses that convert to coal, credits for extracting oil from shale and geothermal energy from inside the earth.