Senate votes to reject carbon tax
TheHill.com reported yesterday that a bipartisan group in the Senate rejected the move to impose taxes on industrial carbon emissions.
The Senate went on record against imposing taxes on industrial carbon emissions in a pair of symbolic votes Friday, providing clear evidence that major climate change legislation lacks political traction.
Lawmakers voted 41-58 to reject Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) proposal to ensure that revenue from any carbon tax be returned to the U.S. public through deficit reduction, reducing other rates and other “direct” benefits. …
The votes on the nonbinding budget resolutions were largely symbolic, and didn’t quite tackle the idea of taxing carbon emissions head-on or address specific proposals on emissions fees.
But they nonetheless illustrated that Republicans and centrist Democrats appear to form a clear majority against fees on emissions from oil and coal producers, power plants and other sources.
Interestingly, the author of the proposal, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) tried to claim the (indirect) support of the new Pope for his proposal.
“We have a new Pope, Pope Francis, who said last week that our relation with God’s creation is not very good right now,” Whitehouse said.
“God’s creation runs by laws — the laws of nature, the laws of physics, the laws of chemistry, and God gave us the power of reason to understand those laws,” added Whitehouse, who speaks often on the floor about the dangers of climate change.
“But they are not negotiable, they are not subject to amendment or appeal, and the arrogance of our thinking that they are is an offence to his creation,” he said.
Sen. Roy Blunt, (R-MO) suggested that Whitehouse may have misunderstood the Pope’s actual motivations.
“I know the Pope also mentioned — more times that he mentioned carbon tax — helping the poor,” said Blunt.
He said carbon taxes would hurt the economy and struggling families, noting, “the most vulnerable among us are the most impacted by this.”
Blunt also said a carbon tax would hurt manufacturing. “Energy intensive jobs are the first to go when utility prices get uncompetitive,” he said later in the debate.