House Passes Resolutions Opposing Carbon Tax and Obama’s Oil Tax

The House of Representatives on 10th June passed two resolutions opposing taxation of fossil fuel consumption.  The vote on H. Con. Res. 89, which expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax (that is, a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and natural gas) would be detrimental to the U. S. economy, was 237 to 163.  Six Democrats and 231 Republicans voted Yes.  One-hundred sixty-three Democrats voted No.  

The six Democrats voting Yes on H. Con. Res. 89 were Representatives:  Brad Ashford (Neb.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Henry Cuellar (Tex.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Az.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Az.).  Two Members voted present: David Jolly (R-Fla.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM).  Fourteen Republicans and 18 Democrats did not vote.

The second vote was on H. Con. Res. 112, expressing Congress’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed $10 per barrel tax on oil.  It passed on a 253 to 144 vote.  Twenty-three Democrats and 230 Republicans voted Yes.  One Republican and 143 Democrats voted No.  The sole Republican voting in favor of an oil tax was Representative Richard Hanna of New York.  Two Members voted present: Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Oreg.).  Fifteen Republicans and 20 Democrats did not vote.

The votes contradict contentions by some observers that support among Republicans for climate taxes is growing.  Apparently, the arguments made by the left-libertarian group, the Niskanen Center, that creating a new tax on fossil energy consumption is a conservative or free market policy is not gaining any traction with Republicans who have to face voters.  Even Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), the leader of efforts to convince House Republicans to support action on climate change, voted for both resolutions.  And Gibson is retiring from Congress.  Perhaps he plans to run for another office in the future.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was the chief sponsor of the anti-carbon tax resolution.  Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) was the chief sponsor of the anti-oil tax resolution.