Lipinski Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Combat Climate Change and Cut Taxes

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3), along with Rep. Francis Rooney (FL-19), have introduced the bipartisan Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2019 to combat climate change by instituting a carbon fee and using the revenue generated to put money back into the pockets of taxpayers. The legislation is a straightforward approach to decreasing carbon emissions from fossil fuels, while simultaneously cutting taxes for all American workers, increasing benefits for Social Security recipients, and providing certainty for businesses.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face, and a large portion of that comes from combustion of fossil fuels,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “This bill incentivizes adoption of cleaner renewable technologies, and will break our addiction to fossil fuels that are so damaging to our environment. This bill will also be a boon to taxpayers and has the advantage of providing predictable pricing to businesses over time to encourage deployment of clean energy technologies, stimulate innovation, and mitigate global climate change. I have helped lead the charge for carbon pricing since I helped introduce the first bipartisan carbon fee bill in 2009, and will continue to be a champion for real commonsense solutions to climate change.”

Congressman Rooney said, “Shouldn’t those that pollute the environment be the ones who pay to clean it up? Placing a price on carbon emissions allows for individuals and companies to make more informed decisions by factoring in the cost of greenhouse gas pollution to society, allowing the market to appropriately respond by reallocating resources to lower-emissions products and behaviors. It is a less costly and more predictable solution compared to increased government regulation, with much more promising predicted outcomes. I am grateful that my colleague Congressman Dan Lipinski has joined me in proposing market-based carbon pricing proposals to reduce carbon emissions.”

The Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act would return revenue generated to Americans using straightforward mechanisms already in place: via a tax cut for American workers and an increase to social security benefits for beneficiaries.  A small portion of the fund is also used to increase the Weatherization Assistance Program (1% of revenues) and the Low-Income Home Energy Program (5% of revenues) to help offset increased energy prices for the most vulnerable.

Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, of World Resources Institute, said WRI is encouraged by the bipartisan leadership shown by Congressmen Lipinski and Rooney to come forward with proposals to put a price on carbon.

“We should be taxing pollution, not taxing employment,” said Steer. “This is one of the smartest and most effective steps we can take to reduce carbon emissions. As Americans experience record heatwaves and extreme weather events across the country, they want Congress to act. We need this kind of bipartisan leadership from both parties to bring forward solutions to this urgent crisis.”

The bill, H.R. 3966, would impose a fee starting in 2020 of $40 per ton of CO2, making it one of the most ambitious carbon fee proposals.  The fee increases by 2.5% plus inflation for every year that the United States does not meet emissions reduction targets, thereby allowing the price to gradually adjust based on market signals until emissions reduction targets are met.  Coal, petroleum, and natural gas would all be taxed where they enter the U.S. economy - at the mine mouth, pipeline, or at the U.S. border - making it easy to implement and minimizing administrative costs.  The bill also imposes a tax on fossil fuel imports, except where they have already been taxed in their country of origin.

“The Friends Committee on National Legislation welcomes the introduction of Rep. Dan Lipinski’s Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2019. We are pleased to see Congress taking their moral obligation to address climate change seriously,” explained Emily Wirzba, FCNL’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Legislative Manager. “Any carbon pricing bill must consider impacts on vulnerable communities, and we are excited that this bill dedicates revenue to weatherization and energy assistance for low-income households. This bill marks another important contribution to the bipartisan dialogue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.”

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