Lipinski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Promote Energy Independence and Reduce Carbon Emissions While Raising Wages and Social Security Benefits (May 13, 2009)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03), together with Reps. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), introduced the Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2009 (H.R. 2380). This landmark legislation is a straightforward approach to achieving American energy independence and combating global climate change while cutting taxes for all American workers and increasing Social Security benefits.  This is the first bill addressing energy independence and climate change that has bipartisan support. 

“Everyone agrees that we need to break our addiction to oil because of the damage it causes to national security, economic security, and our environment,” said Lipinski.  “But it is proving very difficult to get enough support for a bill in Congress.  This bill offers a more straightforward approach than “cap-and-trade” proposals and also cuts taxes for all working Americans and increases Social Security benefits by making the polluters pay. 

“This bill is a triple win: fighting oil addiction, reducing carbon emissions, and raising wages and Social Security benefits,” continued Lipinski. “And perhaps most importantly, this is the first piece of legislation addressing energy independence and climate change that has bipartisan support which will likely be needed to get a bill enacted into law.”

The bill is an alternative to the cap-and-trade proposals currently being considered in Congress. It puts a predictable price on carbon dioxide emissions, encouraging the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. But it refunds 100% of the revenues collected from polluters by reducing payroll taxes and increasing Social Security benefits.

“This legislation is a significant step toward energy independence and environmental protection, and all of the money collected goes back to taxpayers,” added Lipinski.  “In addition, American manufacturing jobs are protected with a tariff on goods imported from countries with lax environmental laws.  And this approach differs from cap-and-trade because it does not create the opportunity for Wall Street manipulation that caused so many problems in the financial markets.”

The measure has the advantage of providing predictable pricing over time to encourage deployment of clean energy technologies, and to stimulate the innovations needed to break America’s oil addiction and mitigate global climate change.  A proposed carbon user fee of $15 per ton of CO2 would be applied in 2010, increasing to $100 by 2040, adjusted each year for inflation. The bill includes a clear schedule of rates, allowing businesses to plan accordingly. Fossil fuels would have a fee imposed as they enter the economy, at the mine mouth, the oil refinery, and the natural gas pipeline, making it easy to implement and minimizing administrative costs.

(May 13, 2009)