Senate goes on record opposing carbon tax 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 27, 2015

The Senate voted yesterday afternoon to oppose creation of a federal carbon tax, a proposal the White House has not endorsed and that has little chance of enactment in the current Congress.

Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment was adopted by the chamber, 58-42. Four Democrats crossed the aisle to support it: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All voted for a previous Blunt amendment to the fiscal 2014 resolution.

Manchin and Heitkamp were also the only two Democrats to oppose an amendment offered last night by Senate Budget ranking member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that called for climate action.

The budget blueprint is nonbinding, so the Blunt amendment will not have force of law. And it would not complicate enactment of a carbon tax, as Blunt intended to do with an earlier version that aimed to create a “point of order” requiring a three-fifths majority to pass a carbon tax bill (Greenwire, March 24).

Blunt withdrew that amendment last night after it was ruled non-germane.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe praised this afternoon’s passage of the amendment, saying a carbon tax and other climate measures “are not about protecting the environment or the health of local citizens.”

“These policies are about appeasing political supporters and expanding the government’s control,” Inhofe said in a statement. “The only Americans that stand to benefit from the federal government imposing policies that unilaterally tax or otherwise restrict domestic carbon missions are green energy venture capitalists and major political contributors to Democratic campaigns.”