Barbara Boxer pledges to push carbon tax as part of tax reform

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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After being rebuffed on the carbon tax, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said she will try to pass it again through tax reform.

Boxer’s carbon tax bill from earlier this year does not have the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate unimpeded, reports the Hill newspaper. She claims a carbon tax would enable other tax rates to be lowered.

“We are looking at tax reform to see whether there is a possibility to utilize a fee on carbon that could be returned to the people in dividend form, such as the Bernie Sanders bill and there are others like it. So, we are really mostly working toward the tax reform issue,” Boxer said.

Republicans have vehemently opposed the idea of a carbon tax “swap” where certain tax rates — like corporate or income tax rates — are lowered in exchange for implementing a gradually rising tax on carbon emissions.

“Other countries are running from similar policies, the most recent example being Australia’s rejection of a carbon tax in their last election,” said Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter. “That’s because a carbon tax is clearly a failed idea that could significantly ruin any chance for the United States to have a full economic recovery.”

A spokesman for Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the chairman opposes a carbon tax “either as a standalone or as part of a larger package.”

At the beginning of his second term, President Obama called on Congress to pass market-based solutions to lower U.S. carbon dioxide emissions or he would use his executive authority to tackle the issue himself.

Soon after, Boxer and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced carbon tax legislation to slap a gradually rising tax on carbon emissions that would start at $20 per ton in 2014, rising to $35 per ton over twelve years.

California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman introduced draft legislation that would impose a carbon tax as high as $30 per ton in 2014 which would rise to nearly $70 per ton in 2025.

But House Republicans have voted affirmatively against a carbon tax, and Boxer acknowledged that there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass her bill.

“We don’t have the votes for a carbon tax or a carbon fee, so I wouldn’t suggest to [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid that he bring it up because we don’t have the votes for it,” Boxer told reporters on Tuesday.

Recently, Australia’s Labor Party was thrown out of power for imposing a carbon tax last year. However, Boxer and other carbon tax supporters have not been deterred by Australia’s election results.

Boxer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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