June 10, 2016

Whitehouse, Schatz Slam Effort to Denounce Carbon Fee

Senators Call Out House Republicans for Siding with the Koch Brothers over Conservative Values and Public Support

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives is poised to vote on a resolution today expressing opposition to a federal carbon fee—a policy many economists, including prominent conservative ones, believe to be the best way to limit the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change.  Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), authors of American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act, panned the non-binding resolution as irresponsible and further evidence of the Republican Party’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and its campaign contributions.

“How much more in the tank for the fossil fuel industry can you be?” said Whitehouse. “Every Republican who has come to a climate change solution has concluded that putting a price on carbon and returning the revenue to the American people is the best solution to the climate crisis.  It is also a concept supported by seven in ten voters.  Also, beware:  when Republicans say they won’t even consider a carbon fee, that means they have nothing.  Nothing but flat, rank climate denial.  With this vote, House Republicans make it clear that fossil fuel and Koch brothers money matters more to them than their self-proclaimed conservative values or the will of the people.”

“By refusing to even consider the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax, Republicans are once again choosing to put the interests of big oil before the interests of our country and planet,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. “Economists across the political spectrum agree that a tax on carbon is a reasonable and responsible way to both cut dangerous carbon pollution, and return revenues to American families and businesses. If we are going to combat climate change and create a safe future for our children, we need bipartisan leadership, and so far Republicans are refusing to step up to the plate.”

Leading conservative economists, prominent officials of Republican administrations, Republican former members of Congress, and many other notable conservatives support a carbon fee as the most efficient and effective way to reduce fossil fuels emissions and mitigate climate change.

Conservatives have also noted that a carbon fee has the potential to spur economic development and create jobs for American workers.  “A tax on carbon emissions will unleash a wave of innovation to develop technologies, lower the costs of clean energy and create jobs as we and other nations develop new energy products and infrastructure,” Henry M. Paulson, George W. Bush’s former Treasury Secretary, has written in the New York Times.

For an extensive list of conservative support for a carbon fee, click here.

A recent poll conducted by Yale University and George Mason University found that 68 percent of all registered voters support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes such as income taxes by an equal amount.  Such a carbon fee is supported by 86 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Independents, and 47 percent of Republicans.

On Thursday, June 9, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, released a letter to members of the House urging support of the resolution.  The Koch Brothers political network has promised to spend $750 million on the 2016 elections.  The president of Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity has publicly threatened that Republicans who support a carbon fee would “be at a severe disadvantage in the Republican nomination process.”

Whitehouse and Schatz’s American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act, first introduced in 2014, would significantly lower U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while generating substantial revenue—all of which would be returned to the American people.


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