As the House prepared to leave town for the August recess, it voted for the first time Friday to express preemptive opposition to a carbon tax.
The House voted 237 to 176 in favor of an amendment offered by Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise that would require any carbon tax to first be approved by Congress.
“The House sent a strong bipartisan message to President Obama that a tax on carbon would devastate our economy and he needs to drop any idea of imposing this kind of radical regulation,” Scalise, R-La., said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., added: “Like all taxes, a tax on carbon would hit the poor, the elderly and those on fixed incomes the hardest. I urge the president to focus on how we create a climate for economic growth and job creation, not how we find new ways to tax the American people.”
A carbon tax is levied on businesses based on the amount of greenhouse gases, those linked to climate change, they emit. The idea for such a tax has been around for years, but the Obama administration is not seeking one.
The anti-tax initiative is unlikely to get through the Democratic Senate, but it gives Republicans a chance to put Democrats on record as supporting one and allows them to assure constituents and the business community that they won’t allow a carbon tax to gain political momentum on Capitol Hill.
“This is just about messaging,” a House Republican legislative aide said. “I wouldn’t think too much into it.”
Energy groups such as the Industrial Energy Consumers of America and the American Fuel and Petrohemical Manufacturers supported the amendment. Conservative group FreedomWorks hinted that it may count the vote as a ‘key vote’ in calculating its Economic Freedom Scorecard.