Politics

In Reversal From 2016, Carlos Curbelo to Vote Against Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

Scalise, author of resolution, admits goal is to put members on record

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said he will oppose an anti-carbon tax resolution the House is scheduled to vote on Friday, changing his position from 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders have scheduled a Thursday vote on an anti-carbon tax resolution in hopes of putting vulnerable Democrats on record in favor of the tax, but they’re going to put some of their own members in a tough spot too.

“I’m voting against that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, said of the resolution, which expresses the sense of Congress that “a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”

Curbelo voted to support a similar resolution the House adopted in 2016. No Republicans voted against it at the time, but six Democrats joined the GOP in passing the resolution 237-163.

Roll Call includes Curbelo on its list of the 10 most vulnerable House Republicans. Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates his race Tilt Republican.

Curbelo has drafted legislation he plans to introduce soon that would halt federal regulations on climate change in exchange for an escalating tax on carbon emissions, according to E&E News.

Whether Curbelo will be the lone Republican “no” vote on Thursday remains to be seen, but he’s hoping that other members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus he co-chairs with Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch vote against the anti-carbon tax resolution too.

The Climate Solution Caucus has 84 members, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The group’s mission is to “educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.”

Deutch issued a statement Tuesday urging the caucus to vote against the resolution, which is authored by Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “This is an important moment for the Climate Solutions Caucus to show the American people that Democrats and Republicans can stand together against anti-climate efforts,” he said. “It is the very mission of the caucus to explore all viable options to address the growing threat of climate change.”

Deutch also took a dig at Scalise, saying, “When a climate denier who represents the oil industry tries to squash even a discussion about a possible strategy for curbing emissions, my caucus colleagues must rise above politics and do what’s right.”

The Climate Solutions Caucus is unlikely to be united in support of a carbon tax. Most House Republicans have taken pledges upon being elected to Congress promising not to impose new taxes.

Scalise admitted Tuesday that the point of the vote was to have everyone on record on the issue.

“There are still people talking about trying to impose a carbon tax, which would be devastating to our manufacturing economy, one of the great bright spots we see in our economy, where we’re bringing jobs back to America, rebuilding our middle class,” he said. “A carbon tax would destroy that.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer called the anti-carbon tax resolution a “political effort” designed to help Scalise, who is considered a potential candidate to replace Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

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