This Carbon Dividend Bill Calls for Bipartisan Support

10 March 2020

In January, Representative Theodore Deutch (D-FL) introduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The bill proposes a fee on production and importation of fossil fuels based on the fuel’s carbon dioxide content. It would reduce U.S. Carbon Dioxide emissions by 40% in 12 years. Unlike a tax, the money would be given in equal shares to every American as a monthly dividend. 

The act was co-sponsored by Florida Republican Francis Rooney. He envisions that once collected by a fee, the money would cycle back to individuals in the form of tax credits used for things like unemployment insurance. Proponents of the bill state that it is bipartisan, however Rooney is the only Republican co-sponsor.

There have been new attempts to address climate change in the Senate, such as the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. 

“We may seem like an unlikely pair to team up on this effort,” said caucus co-founders Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) in a post on Braun’s campaign website, “but we both recognize the importance of American leadership in our addressing out changing climate.”

The idea is to hold an equal number of Republicans and Democrats who will progress with unanimous consent. The caucus currently has four Republican and four Democrat members. A companion caucus in the House is led by Rooney and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).

The bill also attempts to remove the incentive for industries to relocate overseas. Imported goods would have to pay a border carbon adjustment in order to protect US manufacturers. Countries without a similar carbon pricing system would have to pay a fee to export emissions-intensive goods. American companies exporting goods to these countries would receive a refund for the carbon fee that would be paid under normal circumstances. The policy would also allow an exemption for gasoline or diesel used for agricultural purposes. 

HR-763 has gained the support of 75 cosponsors. The bill holds the necessary potential to cinch a solution to global warming, but both sides have to want that.

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