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Rep. Carlos Curbelo. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty

The House on Thursday easily approved a non-binding but symbolically important resolution condemning a tax on carbon emissions. 

Driving the news: Six Republicans opposed the measure, along with most Democrats. That’s a notable change from two years ago, when Republicans unanimously supported a nearly identical measure.

Between the lines: The small number of GOP crossovers shows there are still massive political hurdles facing the movement to get Republicans to change their stance on climate policy.

What’s next: A Republican lawmaker — Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida — intends to introduce legislation actually creating a tax on carbon emissions on Monday. Curbelo told Axios Thursday that he expects to have at least one fellow GOP co-sponsor.

Curbelo said in an interview right after the vote that he sees the six no votes from Republicans — along with another who opted to vote present — as success, a “small victory” that should be celebrated.

“We went from zero to seven. That’s how you measure progress in this institution. There were many more who thought about it long and hard,” said Curbelo, who helped create a bipartisan caucus that acknowledges climate change.

Rep. Fred Upton (R.-Mich.), who is a member of Curbelo’s caucus, told Axios going into the vote he was going to vote yes, though he paused before answering.

The big picture: The symbolic vote is an outlier in Washington as attention is largely focused on bigger and more impactful issues, like Russia, immigration and the farm bill. 

Why it’s coming up now: 

  • It reflects the importance of the issue to lawmakers hailing from states producing fossil fuels, such as Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, who are both sponsoring the measure. 
  • It also shows the influence of right-leaning groups, notably Americans for Tax Reform, which has been highlighting its opposition to a carbon tax in recent weeks. 
  • The vote comes a few weeks after a new advocacy group, funded by nuclear and renewable energy companies, formed to push Congress to support a carbon tax whose revenue is sent back to Americans in the form of a dividend check. 

“I don’t judge any of my colleagues for their vote today, this is kind of a question in a vacuum. Had they had a time to review my proposal — timing didn’t work out — you would have gotten more no votes,” Curbelo said. “With a resolution that had consistently received unanimous support to the result today, it is not insignificant.”

This story has been updated to add comments from Curbelo.

Go deeper

Updated 45 mins ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.