GOP Lawmaker Is Pushing For A Carbon Tax On Refineries, Setting The Stage For A Fight With Steve Scalise

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

A Republican lawmaker is drafting legislation to tax carbon dioxide emissions from refineries, despite voting in favor of a bipartisan resolution opposing a carbon tax two years ago.

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo “is shopping draft text to lawmakers, businesses and environmental groups that would end the federal gas tax and impose a carbon fee on refiners,” according to E&E News.

Carbon tax revenues “would fund infrastructure projects like highways and rebate low-income consumers who would be hit by higher energy costs,” GOP strategists Michael McKenna, who saw the draft bill, told E&E News.

Curbelo’s pending legislation is a somewhat modified version of the “revenue-neutral” carbon tax being pushed by environmentalists, energy industries and former Republican lawmakers and officials.

Curbelo said he would introduce global warming-related legislation “in the near future,” but did not divulge any details.

McKenna told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Curbelo’s bill has “zero” chance of passing Congress. The vast majority of Republicans and conservative leaders oppose carbon taxes. (RELATED: Trump Pulled Out Of The Paris Climate Accords, But The US Is Spending Billions To Implement It)

In fact, the House is poised to vote for an anti-carbon tax resolution House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and West Virginia Rep. David McKinley.

Curbelo said that resolution “presents a false choice,” but Curbelo voted in favor of an identical anti-carbon tax resolution in 2016. That resolution passed the House with six Democratic votes.

The pending vote on Scalise’s latest anti-carbon tax resolution will see just how far lobbying to support a carbon tax has moved the GOP on the issue, especially those in the so-called Climate Solutions Caucus.

Curbelo co-hairs the Climate Solutions Caucus with Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, which was created with the help of the environmental group Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The caucus was created to “educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety.”

Scalise’s resolution is expected to pass the House, but pro-carbon tax groups are pre-spinning the upcoming vote as a victory if there’s any dissent among the GOP.

However, Curbelo’s reported support for a carbon tax on refiners comes amid a tough re-election bid against Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton increased her margin of victory in Florida’s 26th congressional district over President Barack Obama’s margin four years earlier.

Clinton beat Trump by 30 percentage points in Miami-Dade County, but Trump won neighboring Monroe County by 7 percentage points. However, only around 40,000 votes were cast in Monroe County, which is also in the 26th district.

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