Tomorrow, the House will take up two resolutions pushing back on policies drive up the cost of energy. H.Con.Res. 89, introduced by Rep. Scalise, expresses the sense of Congress that a federal carbon tax would be detrimental to the economy. H.Con.Res 112, sponsored by Rep. Boustany, similarly disapproves of the Obama administration’s plan to levy a $10.25 per barrel tax on oil. Both resolutions mark an important opportunity for Congress to take a stand for affordable and reliable energy. It is key that Representatives vote YES on both H.Con.Res. 89 and H.Con.Res. 112.
A carbon tax is essentially a tax on the use of natural gas, oil, and coal, which make up over 80 percent of the energy we use in America. Such a tax would inflict considerable damage to the economy and would significantly raise energy costs on American families. In 2013 theCongressional Budget Office determined that a carbon tax “would have a negative effect on the economy” and “diminish the purchasing power of people’s earnings, effectively reducing their real [inflation-adjusted] wages.”
A carbon tax is also a naturally regressive tax, meaning the hardest hit would be low income families. According to census data, families making less than $10 thousand per year spend nearly 70 percent of their after-tax income on energy, while those between $10 thousand and $30 thousand per year spend over 20 percent on energy. Even if implemented, a carbon tax would do essentially nothing to accomplish its stated goal of combating a global temperature rise. A study by the Cato Institute found that even if the U.S. were to reduce all carbon emissions linearly by 2050, the average global temperature would be reduced by a mere 0.1 degree Celsius by 2100.
Another harmful energy tax proposal is the Obama administration’s idea of placing a $10 per barrel tax on oil. The White House estimated the tax would raise the price of gasoline by $0.24, as well as impact other petroleum products and goods and services reliant on transportation fuels. The Congressional Research Service determined this tax “would likely result in decreased discretionary consumer purchasing power which may translate into lower expected economic growth.”
Fortunately, Rep. Scalise and Rep. Boustany have taken the lead on fighting back against policies that drive up energy costs. These sense of Congress resolutions provide a key marker for Representatives to vocally oppose such taxes. We urge all Members of Congress vote YES on H.Con.Res. 89 and H.Con.Res 112.