Republicans critical of the President's visit to Newton - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Republicans critical of the President's visit to Newton

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NEWTON (KWWL) -

An event Thursday afternoon zeroed in on a tax credit to promote renewable energy that will expire at the end of the year.

President Obama toured TPI Composites, which makes wind turbines in Newton.
The company brought jobs to the area after Maytag shut down.

Now, TPI employs more than 700 people.

President Obama told those workers we need to continue to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and develop more secure domestic energy sources by investing in clean energy manufacturing.

"I'm calling on Congress to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year for clean energy companies like this one. Let's not wait. Let's do it now."

Was the President's visit to Newton an endorsement of the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit necessary, or is this just a campaign stop? Republicans say it's more of the latter.

Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, and President Barack Obama agree on one thing. Both believe the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit needs to be reauthorized. Senator Grassley says it's common sense and President Obama should be spending his time in Washington and not in Iowa.

Wind turbines are popping up across the landscape and are producing energy all over Iowa. Now a the tax credit, that helps pay for them, is in danger of running out at the end of the year.

The Wind Production Tax Credit was designed to give wind energy the ability to compete against coal-fired and nuclear energy and helped launch the wind energy industry.

Senator Grassley was in Washington D.C., when we caught up with him on the phone Thursday afternoon and got his thoughts on the President's visit.

"Giving speeches is not being engaged and he doesn't need to convince the people of Iowa to be for wind energy because we're second in the nation. We got 4,000 jobs with component manufacturing and they're going to be unemployed if we don't get this done soon. He's got to start working with the Democrat leadership," said Grassley.

Local Republicans say the President should be focusing on making the country energy independent. They say Keystone Pipeline could help provide that as well as many much needed jobs.

"I'm for the pipeline and I'm for harvesting more of our domestic oil and natural gas and this President has put a lot of that out of bounds and his EPA is trying to interfere with fracking, the way we get our natural gas out of the new fields we've found. I'm for conservation and I'm for nuclear energy, so it's not one or the other, it's all of the above," said Grassley.

In the end, Grassley says the President's visit is more of a distraction than anything.

"He wants to do everything he can to keep people's minds off of the unemployment rate, how bad the economy is, and high gasoline prices, and so this week it's wind energy," said Grassley.

Senator Charles Grassley knows something about this tax credit. He authored and won enactment of the first ever wind energy production tax credit back in 1992.

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