Manchin raises red flag on carbon tax

Centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate Democrats eye talking filibuster NAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Schumer tees up showdown on voting rights, filibuster MORE (D-W.Va.) on Monday raised a red flag over his Democratic colleagues’ push to include a carbon tax in the reconciliation package they will need his vote to pass later this year.

A plan to tax carbon as a way to combat climate change and raise revenue for the reconciliation package is gaining momentum, and some Senate Democrats think that Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSenate Democrats eye talking filibuster NAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Schumer tees up showdown on voting rights, filibuster MORE (D-Ariz.) is open to the idea after she raised global warming as a key concern during an interview with the Arizona Republic last week.

But Manchin, who represents coal-rich West Virginia, is not a fan of the idea. 

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“I just heard about that,” he told reporters Monday when asked about the new push for the carbon tax. “Any type of a tax is going to be passed on to the people.”

“Now if a tax is going to be beneficial to help something and give us more research and development and innovation and technology, it’s something to look at,” he said. 

But Manchin said he doesn’t believe that would be the case for the carbon tax under discussion, at least as it’s been explained to him so far. 

Manchin made a similar argument against a carbon tax in April when he criticized the idea during a virtual conversation with the National Press Club in Washington. He argued at the time that it wouldn’t create significant incentives for the development of new technologies but instead would likely be used to eliminate jobs in fossil fuel industries.

The leading proponents of a carbon tax include Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseInfrastructure spending should not facilitate sawing down our National Forests Garland vows prosecutions 'at any level' over Jan. 6 To save America's democracy, Democrats need to start acting like Republicans MORE (D-R.I.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: More of Biden's agenda teeters on collapse The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Senate to take up voting rights bill Tuesday, missing Schumer deadline MORE (D-Hawaii).

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Whitehouse says a carbon polluter fee would add as much as $1 trillion, and he wants it in the package.

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats' filibuster gambit unravels Sen. Rob Portman announces positive COVID-19 test Ukraine president, US lawmakers huddle amid tensions with Russia MORE (D-Del.) and Rep. Scott PetersScott H. PetersBiden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Pfizer, US strike COVID-19 pill deal CBO: Democrats' package saves about 0B on drug prices MORE (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in July to create a border carbon adjustment fee on the import of products that emit a lot of carbon to produce. It would direct revenue to the development of emissions reducing technology.

Sinema, a fellow Senate centrist, is said to be open to the idea of a carbon tax, and last week she told The Arizona Republic, “We know that a changing climate costs Arizonans. And right now, we have the opportunity to pass smart policies to address it — looking forward to that.” 

A Democratic aide familiar with Sinema’s thinking, however, said she is not actively pushing the idea.

“Sen. Sinema is not pushing or proposing a carbon tax,” the source said.