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For the eighth time since last June, the U.S. Senate has failed to extend the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is set to expire at the end of this year.

This morning, cloture on the Jobs, Energy, Families and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 (S.3335) was defeated on the Senate floor by a vote of 51-43. Sixty affirmative votes were necessary to move the legislation ahead.

"These votes today demonstrate a total lack of concern by some members of the Senate about the issue of high energy prices," comments Linda Lance, vice president for public policy at The Wilderness Society.

"Those members voting against cloture have no interest in truly addressing the energy issues that Americans face, but only seek to protect subsidies for Big Oil by delaying real solutions," she adds.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), only a handful of Republican senators - Maine's Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Minnesota's Norm Coleman, North Carolina's Elizabeth Dole and Oregon's Gordon Smith - supported the motion. Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, led the debate against cloture.

"Without passage in the immediate future, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars will be lost in new solar investment," says Rhone Resch, SEIA's president. "Failure to extend the solar tax credits is a severe blow to an industry that has proven to be an economic engine for the U.S. at a time when we need it most."

SEIA is imploring members of the solar industry to contact their senators to urge the extension of the ITC. The next opportunity will likely be in September, when the Senate returns from its August recess.

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