Lipinski Bill Requires Proceeds from Climate Legislation to be Returned to Taxpayers and Seniors (June 4, 2009)

Today, Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-03) helped introduce a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives that would return to taxpayers any revenue the federal government takes in as a result of the enactment of climate change legislation. The bill mandates any funds collected be distributed to the American people through tax cuts, increases in Social Security benefits, or other direct means.

“Anything the government collects from polluters should go back to American taxpayers,” Lipinski said. “We should not get caught up in a fight over how to divvy up the money collected by a cap-and-trade scheme or carbon fee, especially at a time when middle class families and retirees are hurting.”

Lipinski is cosponsoring the bill, known as the Consumer Assistance Rebate for Energy (CARE) Act, with Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Bob Inglis (R-SC), and Dave Reichert (R-WA).

“It is important not only for the protection of our environment but also for our national security and economic security that we reduce the use of fossil fuels and promote energy independence,” Lipinski said. “But any costs associated with doing so should not have to be borne by seniors or hardworking Americans struggling in the midst of a terrible economy.”

With Congress gearing up to vote on major climate change legislation, Congressman Lipinski helped introduce last month a bipartisan bill that offers a straightforward alternative to cap-and-trade.

The Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2009 (H.R. 2380) would impose a fee on fossil fuels as they enter the economy at the mine mouth, oil refinery, or natural gas pipeline. The easy-to-implement proposal has the advantage of putting a predictable price on emissions, discouraging fossil fuel consumption, and stimulating the innovations needed to break America’s dependence on foreign oil. The bill refunds to taxpayers 100 percent of the revenues collected from polluters by reducing payroll taxes and increasing Social Security benefits. Cosponsoring the measure are Inglis and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

“The bill is a triple win: fighting oil addiction, reducing carbon emissions, and raising wages and Social Security benefits,” Lipinski said. “And perhaps most importantly, it 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.”

However, with multiple climate change proposals under consideration, Lipinski wants to ensure that the revenues generated by any measure that ultimately becomes law will be transferred to taxpayers. Hence his support for the CARE act, which would apply to any climate change legislation enacted.


(June 4, 2009)