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Dems break ranks on carbon tax amendment

Four Senate Democrats broke ranks Thursday and voted to approve an amendment aimed at prohibiting a carbon tax.

The Senate voted 58-42 on an amendment offered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would set up a deficit-neutral reserve fund to prohibit a federal tax or fee on carbon emissions from any entity that, directly or indirectly, is a source of the emissions.

Red-state Democrats Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted with Republicans.

Blunt, ahead of the vote, suggested that the amendment was necessary to help protect Americans from higher utility bills and "send a clear message" to President Obama.

"This vote is important to send a clear message to the administration that Americans simply can't afford to pay higher utility bills because of bad energy policies," he said.

But, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) suggested ahead of the vote that putting "a price" on carbon could lead to a better economy.

"When you put a price on carbon it works," she said. "If you look at my state, we are creating jobs in clean energy, we're balancing our budget better than we ever have before. ... So I don't know why on earth we would say 'no' to something that leads to prosperity."

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