Conservatives Fear GOP Rep’s Carbon Tax Bill Creates An ‘Earmark For Left-Wing Activists’

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A Republican lawmaker’s legislative proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions would set up a national commission opponents worry would end up being an “earmark for left wing activists.”

The bill would slap an ever-increasing tax on greenhouse gas emissions and create a National Climate Commission, according to details of the bill obtained by the conservative Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo is expected to unveil carbon tax legislation on Monday, so some language could still change before the announcement.

“This is a direct attack on American manufacturing and competitiveness,” ATR President Grover Norquist said in a statement. “It also sets up an earmark for left wing activists who would be paid by as ‘consultants’ with taxpayer money.”

Curbelo’s climate commission would be authorized to “procure the services of experts and consultants,” ATR revealed, which could be used as slush fund for environmentalists and pro-carbon tax groups that would likely be consulted.

The commission shall “undertake comprehensive review of economically viable public and private actions or policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” according to text seen by ATR.

“Each member shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under” U.S. law, reads the text of Curbelo’s legislation.

ATR’s reporting lines up with a draft legislative summary obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday. The draft proposal creates a climate commission to provide recommendations for further emissions reductions and put together a report every six years. Ten commissioners would be appointed by the president and congressional leaders to serve six-year terms.

ATR also noted Curbelo’s legislation would levy penalties “equal to 3 times” the carbon tax on companies that don’t pay, and the bill “[e]ncourages states to impose carbon taxes on top of the federal carbon tax.”

Dozens of conservative groups, including ATR, oppose a carbon tax. The group plans to join other conservative groups at an anti-carbon tax event held as Curbelo unveils his legislation on Monday alongside left-wing environmentalists.

ATR has spent the last week highlighting cases from Australia and Canada where carbon taxes sparked political backlash for those who supported them. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign also backed away from a carbon tax after doing some research, noting it would be “lethal” in the 2016 general election.

The timing for Curbelo’s bill is somewhat inconvenient. The House passed a resolution opposed to a carbon tax on Thursday. Activists pointed out that six Republicans voted against the resolution, but on the flip side seven Democrats voted for it. (RELATED: These Are The Six Republicans Who Voted In Favor Of Carbon Taxes)

“I don’t judge any of my colleagues for their vote today, this is kind of a question in a vacuum,” Curbelo told Axios after the vote. “Had they had a time to review my proposal — timing didn’t work out — you would have gotten more no votes.”

Curbelo faces a tough reelection battle this year, meaning the carbon tax bill could be part of an effort to distance himself from Trump administration on certain issues. It remains to be seen if Curbelo’s bill will spark a GOP revolt on climate policies or die out with little fanfare.

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

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