Friday, March 29, 2013

Senate Symbolic Vote On Carbon Tax To Reduce Deficit

Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-R.I.) pro-carbon tax amendment to a nonbinding budget plan failed with 41 votes, showing that proposals to impose a price on greenhouse gas emissions lack political traction.  Last week’s symbolic Senate referendum on taxing industrial carbon emissions to fight climate change would have gotten 42 counting, but  Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), wasn’t there to vote.

The Center opposes carbon taxes and supports cap and trade and Energy Defense Reservations as  better alternatives to mitigating climate change.

His amendment called for revenue from any carbon tax to be returned to the U.S. public through deficit reduction, reducing other tax rates and other “direct” benefits.  Whitehouse recently launched a Capitol Hill climate task force with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and they have floated a draft plan to impose emissions fees on big polluters.

Such plans for more aggressive steps to fight global warming face grim political prospects. But they are part of broader efforts by liberal Democrats to enhance support for battling climate change as President Obama prepares new executive actions.

It was part of a symbolic fight on climate during the budget battle, going head-to-head with a GOP anti-carbon tax plan that won more support (more on that here).  (The Hill, 3/28/2013)

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