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GOP Resolution Blocking Carbon Taxes Set to Be Approved Friday

Republicans in Congress appear set to approve a non-binding resolution opposing carbon taxes. The resolution, scheduled for a vote today, would put legislators in opposition to an approach that is touted as combatting climate change, and which has found favor with large oil companies such as Exxon.

Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana is the representative driving the resolution, which has the backing of Koch, Inc. Scalise was also behind a 2013 amendment that would require the administration to seek congressional approval before implementing a carbon tax. That amendment was adopted by a vote of 237- 176.

The resolution up for consideration on Friday is a stand-alone effort that states in part that "a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States."

Republican strategist Mike McKenna noted that the resolution is part of a strategy to undercut the ability of future presidents and lawmakers to levy a carbon tax to help finance an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

Koch lobbyist Phillip Ellender, who is also the president of government affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, sent a letter to lawmakers on Thursday supporting the resolution, saying, "Raising taxes on the energy that American families and businesses rely on every day will not help any hardworking citizens improve their lives."

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On the other side, Exxon Mobil has lobbied for a revenue-neutral carbon tax that would replace multiple environmental regulations that raise costs for producers. Shell BP holds the position that a carbon tax, or a cap and trade system, would—if properly constructed—encourage producers and consumers alike to find ways to reduce emissions.

The idea of a carbon tax is appealing to some as a method of putting a cost on carbon dioxide, and GOP Congressman Bob Inglis has touted the idea as a “free market solution to climate change.”

The Senate is not expected to take up the issue.

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By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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