Pro-carbon tax House Democrats make their move

By Abby Smith and Josh Siegel

THE PLAY FOR CARBON PRICING: A group of House Democrats is making a push for the Biden administration to include a carbon price as part of its green infrastructure package, going against the grain of the party, which has largely moved on to favor other climate policies.

Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida told reporters today that he and 28 co-sponsors introduced a carbon tax and dividend bill last week, one that would return the revenue to households, in order to force the policy into negotiations between Congress and the administration.

“It’s premature to talk about where this is ultimately going to go,” Deutch said. “We believe strongly this needs to be part of the plan.”

Deutch’s comments come a few days after White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy all but closed the door on a carbon price, telling reporters that President Joe Biden‘s “choice” was to “look at” a clean electricity standard as part of the infrastructure bill as its main mechanism to eliminate carbon emissions from the power sector by 2035.

Given the small margin by which Democrats control the House, Deutch and co-sponsors have the power to stop Biden’s infrastructure package if it includes a clean electricity standard and not a carbon price, but he and his colleagues dodged a question by Josh on if they would oppose legislation on that premise.

But co-sponsor Rep. Scott Peters, Democrat of California, told Josh that he’s expressed “concern” to administration officials about the infrastructure plan not including a carbon price and he said it would be “irresponsible” to dismiss the policy because of “presumed political difficulties.”

Why they are holding out hope: Peters said a carbon price, which would address emissions across the economy, not just the power sector, is an “indispensable” component of any climate policy portfolio. He argued that the administration’s infrastructure plan is in its “early stages” and noted that Biden has said he’s open to other ideas than what he proposed.

The Democratic proponents referenced key Biden administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who support carbon pricing. Yellen is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, which promotes a carbon tax and dividend approach. They also claimed a carbon price is more viable with Republicans because of the recent endorsement of the American Petroleum Institute.

Their bill has no Republican co-sponsors, but Deutch said the Democrats have been discussing the legislation with GOP colleagues.

“We couldn’t wait to introduce a bill,” he said, underscoring the urgency of it being a part of infrastructure negotiations.

This article appeared on the Washington Examiner website at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/daily-on-energy-pro-carbon-tax-house-democrats-make-their-move