On Obama's Congressional "To-Do" list: Green-energy tax credits

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at TPI Composites, a manufacturer of wind turbines blades, Thursday, May 24, 2012 in Newton, Iowa.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

(CBS News) President Obama stopped in Newton, Iowa to campaign for a renewable energy tax credit set to expire at the end of the year. The tax credits are part of the president's "To-Do" list for Congress.

Speaking at TPI Composites, which manufactures wind blades for wind turbines and employs 700 people, the president told the crowd that extending the tax credit is "a big deal."

"This industry -- thanks in large part to some very important tax credits -- has now taken off," the president told the crowd largely made up of TPI workers.

The president noted the importance of the tax credit to Iowa. "The state of Iowa now gets nearly 20 percent of all your electricity from wind. Overall, America now has enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes," the president said.

He tied the tax credit, which was first passed in 2005, to jobs. "As you know, it's an industry that's putting people to work," he told the audience. "You know that firsthand. There are more wind power jobs than in any other state. That's a big deal."

The issue isn't necessarily partisan. Republican lawmakers, including members of the Iowa delegation -- Senator Charles Grassley and Rep. Steve King -- support an extension of the tax credits.

The Wind Energy Association, which is pushing for the tax credit to be passed immediately, says an extension would retain 75,000 jobs.

The president told the crowd that "progress" is being made in renewable energy.

However, he said "that progress is in jeopardy. If Congress doesn't act, those tax credits I mentioned - the ones that helped to build up the wind industry and bring it here to Newton - will expire. If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost."

After the campaign speech, the president hosted a Twitter chat under the hashtag #WHchat. He started the conversation by tweeting, "this is barack - let's get this started! -bo." The "bo" in lower-case indicates the president himself is tweeting.

In response to a tweet by @asturtz about domestic energy, the president tweeted: "@asturtz all of the above energy strategy; increase dom. oil & gas. increase energy efficiency. 2x clean energy. 2x car fuel eff. -bo."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.