The strange tale of ‘black liquor’ and $25 billion

The World

Health care reform is now the law of the land, and after the months of protracted debate, you’d think there couldn’t be any details left to tease out, but our Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, discovered that lawmakers never once mentioned a $25 billion detail in the bill, pertaining to a mysteriously named substance: black liquor.

Todd first discovered black liquor in the Senate reconciliation bill last week and asked around Capitol Hill to see how something most of Congress had never heard of is going to save $25 billion over 10 years.

(SPOILER ALERT: Highlight the following to reveal the ‘secret’ of black liquor. Black liquor is a wood byproduct that is mixed with diesel and burned to generate energy for the paper industry. It’s been a tax loophole for paper manufacturers for some time; the bill that just passed eliminates the loophole.)

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