House backs symbolic measures to oppose oil fee, carbon tax

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2016 3:35 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reinforcing its opposition to President Barack Obama's environmental agenda, the Republican-controlled House on Friday approved symbolic measures declaring hostility to two liberal ideas on fossil fuels.

One measure disapproves of Obama's call for a $10-per-barrel fee on crude oil, while the other preemptively opposes a plan Obama has never advanced: a "carbon tax" on emissions from fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

The House approved the oil-fee measure Friday on a 253-144 vote. Lawmakers voted 237-163 to express the belief that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said the oil fee and carbon tax are in line with the "radical rules and regulations" Obama has imposed.

Scalise denounced the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS and the National Labor Relations Board — "the whole alphabet soup of federal agencies that every morning wake up trying to figure out how to make it harder for our economy to get moving again."

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., blasted the GOP measures as nothing more than "a messaging opportunity" for Republicans.

"This has no force of law. All this does is say what the sensibilities of Congress are," Larson said. "What the public thinks is that we're all bluster and no solutions."

Larson, who supports a carbon tax, said the proposal was "not just about climate change. It's about the health of the air we breathe, what we're poisoning the atmosphere with. The American people are screaming out for Congress not to have a messaging opportunity, but to offer a solution."