Small group of House members introduce pro-tax, anti-energy bill

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The PROVE IT Act (S. 1863) is a pro-tax, anti-energy bill that, if passed, would lead to a carbon tax on imports and a domestic carbon tax.

Last month, a coalition of over 40 leading conservative and freedom-loving organizations made it clear to the House: the conservative community opposes the PROVE IT Act. The letter was sent in anticipation of a House version of the bill being introduced.

That day has arrived. Today, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced the House PROVE IT Act, with a smaller number of cosponsors than expected. Based on Rep. Curtis’s press release, there are 21 sponsors in total (including Curtis and Peters), with 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

That’s still 21 legislators too many.

But the reality is that there are legislators who want carbon taxes. And the PROVE IT Act would help make their dreams to punish energy use come true. The bill would require the government to measure the carbon intensity of domestic and foreign goods, thus creating the foundation by which to make carbon taxes a reality.

The June coalition letter explains:

It is clear that this information would then be used to impose new “climate” taxes, similar to what Democrats in Congress did during the summer of 2022. In the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which no Republicans supported in either the House or the Senate, Congress took information collected under the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program and imposed the first-ever federal methane tax. The Senate passed the IRA on a 51-50 party-line vote with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker.

The sponsors of the House bill apparently don’t have a problem supporting a bill that would lead to, as the coalition explained:

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.

Bill sponsors would likely point to a provision in the House bill that says it doesn’t authorize any new tax or mandatory reporting.

Let’s make this perfectly clear: Nobody is saying that the PROVE IT Act authorizes a tax or mandatory reporting. The point is that the bill would lead to the creation of the taxes, just as the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program led to the creation of the federal methane tax.

Carbon tax proponents would be pushing hard, as they already have, to get co-sponsors for this bill. Fortunately, almost every House member understood that it is both bad policy and bad politics to support a bill that would lead to new taxes, higher prices, and a lower quality of life for Americans.

House members, especially conservatives, should be unequivocal and vocal in strongly opposing this harmful legislation.

Here’s what leading conservative organizations wrote in last month’s letter:

Americans want affordable and reliable energy, not federal tax schemes that treat energy use as a sin. This bill though would lead to such taxes and is one of the biggest threats to energy and economic prosperity in recent memory.

Therefore, we strongly urge legislators to oppose the PROVE IT Act and ensure that it is not included, in any form, within other legislation.

For the sake of Americans and the nation’s well-being, let’s hope legislators take this advice. 

Visit CEI’s PROVE IT Act web page to learn more about this major threat to energy and economic prosperity.