Press release: Udall talks Afghanistan, clean energy tax credits

WASHINGTON – On his weekly radio call, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall today discussed the developing situation in Afghanistan, the extension of tax credits for clean energy, and his meetings with business leaders in Albuquerque.

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Below is a timeline of Udall’s remarks:

0:00 – Udall opens the call by highlighting the discussions of a business roundtable he hosted on Friday with several Albuquerque companies who are creating jobs in New Mexico right now:

“Our clean energy producers called for more certainty in tax credits, so they could continue to invest in clean technologies. Small business owners called for more access to capital, so they can grow as the economy opens up. And we heard calls for investments in infrastructure, so that more people can get to work. These are all areas where Congress can act this year to improve conditions in New Mexico.”

1:30 – Udall discusses the transportation jobs bill and amendments to extend tax credits for clean energy and natural gas. He subsequently voted in support these amendment, but they were blocked:

“These tax credits have been essential to the growth of New Mexico’s clean energy sector. That includes everything from solar manufacturing in Albuquerque to biofuel development in Las Cruces to wind energy projects on the Eastside,” said Udall. “As we see rising gasoline prices and the impact that can have on the economy as a whole, it’s a reminder that we need to diversify our energy portfolio.”

3:00 – Udall comments on the tragic killing of civilians by a U.S. service member in Afghanistan this weekend:

“What he did runs contrary to everything that our nation’s armed forces stand for and should not taint the good work they have done. I support the swift investigation of the incident and the soldier’s background.”

3:45 – Udall details his support for an expedited timeline for transitioning U.S. Combat forces out of Afghanistan, as he outlined in a letter last week with 23 other senators:

“Over the past ten years, our service members and civilian personnel have performed exceptionally in Afghanistan and the region, accomplishing the goals we originally set out to achieve. That includes tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, and putting the Taliban forces — which supported al Qaeda — on the run.”

5:40 – Udall responds to a question about the causes of high gasoline prices and solutions:

“What we really need to do is be generating more American-made energy. And that’s along the lines of the ‘do-it-all, do-it-right’ approach that I’ve been advocating. We’re doing more oil and gas, we need to invest in renewables, and that’s why these tax credits I talked about are so important.”

9:50 – Udall responds to a question about the Supreme Court revisiting the Citizens United decision and his proposed constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance:

“[The Supreme Court] might conclude we’ve moved from a marketplace of ideas to an auction, where the highest bidder wins in our elections, which is not a very savory thing. I hope they take a hard look at this case as it moves up and do the kinds of reforms so that we don’t need a constitutional amendment.”

12:40 – Udall responds to whether or not he would support handing over the U.S. service member charged with killing civilians in Afghanistan to local authorities:

“I would not be in support of that. I think we have a good and fair process and I think we should proceed with that.”