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Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

An influential conservative organization is rallying like-minded interest groups to voice opposition to a carbon tax, largely in response to a new initiative launched last week urging support for such a policy, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The American Energy Alliance is among several such conservative groups with sway among Republicans on Capitol Hill. This influence is likely to hold strong despite former Republican leaders voicing support for a carbon price, including former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.

The details: The letter, which the group is still seeking signatures for, is addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and it urges them to hold a vote on Rep. Steve Scalise's non-binding, but politically important, resolution that would put lawmakers on the record opposing a carbon tax. The House overwhelmingly voted in support of the measure in 2016.

"Despite recent attempts to market several carbon tax policy proposals as 'conservative,' it is also important to note the striking similarities between those proposals and carbon tax legislation being pushed by liberal Members of Congress."
— Excerpt of draft letter by the American Energy Alliance

Between the lines: A tax on carbon emissions is considered the most economically straightforward way to address climate change, compared to regulations or more complicated trading regimes. Carbon taxes have had more support from conservatives in the past, but climate change as an issue has largely become a liberal cause in Washington over the last decade.

The latest initiative aims to be somewhat different. Called Americans for Carbon Dividends, the group is pushing a carbon tax that gradually rises while revenue is distributed back to consumers.

The bottom line: A carbon tax remains highly unlikely to pass in Congress in at least the next few years.

Go deeper: Nuclear, Renewable firms fund new group pushing carbon tax

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the US-Mexico border wall at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executive orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job, Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from the Trump administration.