Thursday, June 09, 2016

GOP to Rule Out Carbon Tax

Coal plant emissions  (Credit: Getty Images) Click to Enlarge
House Republicans this week will vote to condemn taxes on carbon dioxide emissions, slamming the door on an idea that some members of their party have flirted with in the past.

The nonbinding resolution, sponsored by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), lists numerous problems with a carbon tax, declaring, “It is the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

The election-year proposal responds to years of pressure from Democrats and economists across the political spectrum who have endorsed the idea.

A carbon tax also has the backing of some conservatives, who argue it would be a simple way to reduce greenhouse gases without new regulations or more government.

Numerous think tanks, including the R Street Institute and the Niskanen Center, have been pressuring GOP lawmakers to endorse a carbon tax.  The American Enterprise Institute held closed-door meetings in 2012 to get additional groups on board with little success.

But with the GOP broadly skeptical of climate change science and new taxes, Republican lawmakers have avoided endorsing a carbon tax, and the House’s resolution is meant to make clear where they stand.
Catrina Rorke, director of the energy program at R Street Institute — which supports a tax that would return revenues to taxpayers — said if Republicans want to eventually repeal the Clean Power Plan and get any Democratic support, they will need an alternative.

“It’s my job to suggest that it doesn’t matter if you believe in climate change, it matters if you don’t like what the status quo is.  And the status quo is the Clean Power Plan, which is very unfavorable,” she said.  The rule seeks a cut in the power sector’s carbon emissions by about a third and has almost no Republican support.
Rorke hasn’t lost all hope.  She cites a pair of new House working groups on climate — one Republican, one bipartisan — as evidence that the GOP is coming around on the issue.

Read more at GOP to Rule Out Carbon Tax

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