Jan 24, 2019

Exclusive: Bipartisan House group revives carbon tax bill

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A bipartisan handful of House members are introducing carbon tax legislation today after first floating it late last year.

Why it matters: While it’s very unlikely to become law in at least the next few years, it’s nonetheless a marker for efforts to move national carbon pricing beyond the think tank and advocacy world where it’s been for a decade and back into Congress.

The details: Florida Democrat Ted Deutch unveiled the bill with a few other Democrats and one Republican. The bill would impose an initial $15-per-ton carbon "fee" on fossil fuel producers, processors and importers that rises $10 annually.

  • All the revenues are returned to the public.
  • The plan would remove some but not all greenhouse gas regulations.
  • Rep. Francis Rooney (R.-Fla.), is the only Republican co-sponsor as of now. GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania had signed onto last year’s bill, but he isn’t (yet anyway) a co-sponsor of this bill. A request for comment to his office wasn't immediately returned.

The big picture: After a near decade’s absence in Washington, debate over big climate and energy policies are emerging in Washington as Democrats take control of the House and the presidential campaign heats up.

  • Bipartisan efforts are emerging on a carbon tax, while progressive Democrats are rallying around the vague-but-popular Green New Deal, that calls for 100% renewable electricity within a decade and several other big policies aimed at transforming the economy while cutting emissions. (It could include a price on carbon, but that isn't its central component.)

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

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Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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