Conservatives oppose the PROVE IT Act

Photo Credit: Getty

How does a federal tax on every aspect of our lives sound? How about punishing energy use?

It’s probably safe to say that most people think that sounds terrible.

Yet some legislators want to set in motion the process to make this a reality. The PROVE IT Act (S. 1863), which may be introduced in the House soon, is a bill that would lead to carbon taxes on imports and a domestic carbon tax. It isn’t a coincidence that most of the biggest PROVE IT Act supporters are also the biggest carbon tax supporters.

Over 40 conservative and like-minded organizations just sent a letter to the Hill making it perfectly clear that they oppose this harmful legislation.

Proponents try to make it sound like it’s just some information-gathering exercise to showcase the carbon intensity of American goods compared to foreign goods.

If only that were true. The reality is the bill would remove one of the biggest obstacles to the creation of carbon taxes, which is developing the information necessary to make them a reality.

Once the complex measuring scheme is established, then it will be easy for Congress to take the next step and impose carbon taxes. This isn’t a slippery slope argument. This is a statement of reality.

Americans just saw Democrats, without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate, use the reconciliation process to shove through the Inflation Reduction Act. Within that bill was the creation of the first federal methane tax. And this tax was made possible because of the existing EPA greenhouse gas reporting program.

The PROVE IT Act information would be used in a similar fashion.

Conservatives are supposed to be against new taxes and in favor of abundant and reliable energy. The PROVE IT Act is the antithesis of these principles.

The coalition letter explains:

We find it very concerning that legislators would support a bill that would lead to:

Massive New Taxes. It’s not just a domestic carbon tax that would inflict financial pain on Americans. The burden of a carbon tax on imports would primarily be borne by American businesses and consumers. It acts as a domestic consumption tax.

Punishing Energy Use. Since more than 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from coal, natural gas, and oil, which produce carbon dioxide emissions, carbon taxes are taxes on the energy that make modern life possible. Put more simply, a carbon tax is a tax on modern life.

Hurting the Poor. All Americans would suffer through higher prices due to these taxes. This would always be harmful, but it’s especially harmful now as the United States suffers through years of inflation. Higher prices due to carbon taxes, especially to meet basic needs, would have a disproportionate impact on low-income households.

Embracing EU’s Extreme Climate Policy. Instead of fighting and rejecting the EU’s disastrous climate policy, the PROVE IT Act embraces what the EU is doing. Many supporters advocate for a carbon border adjustment mechanism and seek to create a “carbon club” of countries that join together to impose carbon taxes in some fashion.

Imagine being a conservative legislator, or for that matter any legislator, and pushing such policies. From a political standpoint, it’s a toxic concoction. 

From a practical standpoint, it’s far worse. As the coalition letter argues, “this bill…is one of the biggest threats to energy and economic prosperity in recent memory.”

Legislators need to reject the PROVE IT Act.