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PROVE IT companionship

Illustration of two smoke stacks crossed as if dueling one another.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrat Scott Peters and Republican John Curtis plan to introduce a House version of the PROVE IT Act, the bipartisan carbon data bill making its way around the Hill.

Why it matters: The legislation is a first step to building congressional support for a tariff regime based on carbon emissions.

Driving the news: Peters spokesperson Paul Iskajyan said the California Democrat is aiming for introduction this fall. Curtis' office confirmed he'd be the GOP lead.

  • The bill would direct federal agencies to study the emissions intensity of industrial goods from the U.S. and around the world.
  • Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Kevin Cramer led introduction in the Senate — where it's got six other cosponsors — back in June.
  • The goal is to attach it to must-pass legislation soon so that the federal government can develop the kind of comprehensive data it would need to levy fees on carbon-intensive imports, like steel.

Between the lines: Cramer sees carbon tariffs as climate policy that Republicans can get behind because they fit into the GOP's increasingly protectionist policy views.

  • For Senate moderates, it's an easier sell, he said during an event hosted by the Climate Leadership Council Thursday morning.
  • "The bigger question becomes, what about Republicans in the House? It's a much more emotional place to work," he joked.
  • Already, conservative groups view the PROVE IT Act as a first step toward a carbon tax — a politically toxic term for the House GOP.

Of note: The bill could soon get a brighter spotlight, with the U.S. and the EU trying to wrap up talks on "sustainable" steel and the aluminum trade by October.

  • Plus, the EU is already implementing a carbon border adjustment mechanism scheme of its own that could affect U.S. companies.
  • "The sooner we get higher quality data in the mix for these conversations, the better," Coons said on the sidelines of the CLC event. "This is a way to show bipartisan legislative intent around that."

What's next: The bill has been referred to the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate. Coons said he wants it to move there first.

What we're watching: GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy is working on a parallel legislative effort to develop a "foreign pollution fee" bill.

  • Cassidy told Axios he hopes to unveil that proposal "later this month."
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