Today, the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. tax policy, held its first climate change hearing, but didn’t invite one of the carbon tax’s most outspoken Republican advocates. Former Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo was invited and then, under political pressure from Democratic leadership, uninvited to participate in today’s event. The GOP invited ClearPath executive director Rich Powell to testify as their witness. Also testifying on the benefits of a carbon tax, the Climate Leadership Council’s Ted Halstead, who wrote: “Any climate solution should be grounded in sound economic principles. Economists have long agreed that the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions is to put a direct price on the carbon content of fossil fuels. We refer to this as a carbon fee.”
Curbelo released the testimony he would have delivered to the policymakers. “Today we are pleased to make public the testimony that some of the most powerful Members of the House worked so desperately to suppress. It consists of a solution for reducing carbon emissions and a call for bipartisanship – concepts that are apparently threatening to some Washington politicians. Carlos is grateful to Chairman Neal for his kind invitation and looks forward to continuing his leadership on climate policy” said JP Chavez, a long-time friend and advisor to Curbelo. In his written statement, Curbelo called the carbon tax the “most cost-conscious choice for policymakers” as he outlined why a the free market mechanism is the most “effective and efficient” tool available. “A carbon tax joint with an appropriate use of funds has the potential to not only limit and reduce the damage caused by climate change but to grow the economy as well,” he wrote.
The Ways and Means Committee will play a pivotal role in the climate solutions debate given its “jurisdiction over the most important climate policy tool: taxes,” according to Alex Flint from Alliance for Market Solutions. Unlike in past Congresses, the GOP looks ready to play ball on climate change.
The climate is changing.