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The True 97% Consensus: Congress Delivers Another Beat-Down On Carbon Dioxide Tax

Never-Trumper Republican congressman Carlos Curbelo plans to introduce a bill Monday to impose a tax on carbon dioxide. The Curbelo Weather Tax appears aimed at winning over liberal voters this November in his Democratic-leaning congressional district, after the House voted Thursday to support a resolution against imposing any carbon dioxide taxes.

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Thursday’s resolution Thursday stated clearly that a tax on carbon dioxide would be detrimental to the U.S. economy. Only six out of 236 House Republicans voted against the resolution, marking 97% support by the GOP. Seven Democrats also voted in support of it. So more Democrats supported the anti-carbon dioxide tax resolution than Republicans opposed it.

That’s why Republican congressional leaders, tired of Swamp Creatures and the mainstream media proclaiming growing Republican support for a tax on carbon dioxide, scheduled the vote in the first place. The near-unanimous Republican support for the resolution obliterates the media narrative that Republicans quietly support such a tax. Today’s vote  also reinforces the message of a House vote in late 2016, in which every Republican and some moderate Democrats voted to oppose the carbon tax.

In short, it’s not a popular idea, especially not among Republicans.


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Even so, leading up to the vote, the media played up support by liberal Republican has-beens Jim Baker, George Schultz, and Hank Paulson for a carbon dioxide tax. Of course, these Bush-era establishment figures supported the tax in 2016, also. A lot of good that accomplished.

The media also fawned over former Republican congressman Bob Inglis and soon-to-be former Rep. Mark Sanford supporting carbon dioxide activism, too. Inglis, of course, is a “former” Republican congressman because he won less than 30% of the vote in his 2010 Republican primary despite being an incumbent. His global warming activism played a major role in him getting trounced in his primary. Incumbent Mark Sanford just lost his primary challenge, too, largely for the same reason.

It’s par for the course. Republicans who support global warming activism curry temporary favor with the liberal media.

But that media favor quickly disappears when they face a Democrat in a general election. Few ever get a chance to put their temporary media support to a general-election test. Inglis and Sanford can attest to that. In short, Republican primary voters see through alarmist global warming claims, and they turn out in droves against Republican congressional candidates who support a carbon dioxide tax.

The environmental left and the Jim Bakers of the world have been setting their hopes on 42 House Republicans who joined a group called the Climate Solutions Caucus. The Caucus pledges support for “economically-viable options to reduce climate risk.”

But even most of the Caucus members understand that a tax on carbon dioxide is incompatible with a viable economy. Even misguided Republicans who defy public opinion polls and place a high priority on reducing carbon dioxide emissions realize that America is already reducing emissions faster than any other nation in the world, and we are doing so without a tax on carbon dioxide.

Public opinion polls show American voters continue to rank global warming among their lowest priorities. Less than half of Americans, and less than 20% of Republicans, expect global warming to pose a serious threat in their lifetimes. More importantly for GOP policymakers, Republican primary voters place a high priority on punishing Republicans In Name Only who support carbon dioxide taxes or other government-imposed carbon dioxide restrictions.

Global Warming Exaggerations

Republican voters know Al Gore and the environmental left have greatly exaggerated the global warming issue. Temperatures are rising much more slowly than Gore predicted, extreme weather events show no sign of becoming more frequent or severe, and global crop production continues to set annual records under our current climate.

The media are placing new hope in a conglomerate of big businesses, including non-coal energy companies, who support a carbon dioxide tax. But the media misunderstand the nature of today’s Republican Party and its grassroots voters.

Gone are the days when establishment Republican leaders cozied up to Big Business and disregarded the interests of conservative principles and American consumers. Today’s grassroots Republican base understands that businesses will throw them and conservative principles under the bus for short-term financial gain. Media talking points that ExxonMobil now supports a tax on carbon dioxide are about as persuasive to Republican voters as talking points quoting Nelson Rockefeller or Gerald Ford.

With the House vote Thursday opposing taxes on CO2, Republican congressmen again served notice that carbon dioxide taxes are off the table. In the unlikely event elected Republican officials vote otherwise, the grassroots base will take notice and deliver their own powerful message in future Republican Party primaries.

  • Taylor  is senior fellow for The Heartland Institute.

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