Congressman John Larson on Thursday blasted House Republicans over a resolution brought to the floor opposing a tax on carbon — an idea that he has promoted as a way to pay for rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other needed infrastructure.
Larson, who serves on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, complained that the resolution rejects the mere idea of a tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels without the House having held a single hearing or debate on the issue.
“What a fraud this whole process has become,” Larson lamented. “Here we have a fake debate and fake legislation that’s going nowhere instead of actually having real hearings.”
Last year, Larson introduced “The America Wins Act,” legislation that would raise $1.8 trillion over 10 years through a tax on carbon-content of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. The revenues would be set aside in a trust fund that would be used solely for investments in the nation’s infrastructure.
Larson said that Congress “ought to at least be open to looking at a carbon tax” that could provide benefits to the public — noting that House Republican leaders have failed to address the funding requirements needed for rebuilding infrastructure for the last eight years.
“While China moves ahead of us every single day, nothing gets done in the House of Representatives,” he said.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, said that the resolution saying a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy is an important statement and not a made-up issue. He noted that there are those in Congress interested in a carbon tax that would increase the average family’s energy bill by $500 a year as well as raise the cost of a gallon of gasoline by 50 cents.
“I think the case is very clear by anybody who’s looked objectively at what a carbon tax would do to the economy. It would be devastating to our manufacturing base, it would kill jobs, and I think — most devastating — it would increase costs for families across this country,” Scalise said. “Everybody gets to take a position on this today. You are either for a carbon tax or against it.”
The House voted 229-180 in favor of H. Con. Res. 119, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy. All five Connecticut Democrats voted against it.