Senate freshmen Dems call for carbon cap

Their call for a “polluter pays” approach to climate change echoes that of Democratic leaders looking to strike a deal on a first-time carbon-pricing program focusing on electric utilities.

Environmental groups and electric utility companies have been meeting to try to reach a consensus that could be used by Senate Democratic leaders as a way to attract centrists in both parties. 


The Senate freshmen do not specify the scope of a carbon cap but they do address concerns that have been raised by manufacturers and other major industrial electricity consumers about a utility-focused plan raising their production costs and sending jobs overseas.

They seek legislation that offers tax incentives and other financial aid “to help American manufacturers create jobs, cut their energy consumption, retool for a clean energy economy and remain competitive in the global market.” This also includes job training programs and recognizing the role of rural and agricultural communities. 

Perhaps reflecting the regional diversity of the 12 senators, their letter to Reid is light on specifics and full of general goals that legislation should include.

This includes a federal mandate that “results in a meaningful increase in renewable energy production,” along with incentives for other types of “clean energy technologies.” Republicans and some Democrats want a federal renewable electricity production mandate to include existing and future nuclear production and cleaner uses of coal.

They also seek “a clear target” for reducing foreign oil dependence that could be achieved through investments in electric vehicles, alternative transportation fuels and expanded rail transportation.

“Recent tragedies in the Gulf and West Virginia have highlighted that we pay a heavy price for our dependence on fossil fuels,” the 12 Democrats wrote. “While fossil fuels are and will continue to be an important part of our economy, we believe the transition to a clean energy economy — one that includes an all-of-the-above approach — is an economic, national security and environmental priority.”

The 12 Senate Democrats on the letter are Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDenver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Setting the record straight about No Labels MORE (Colo.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info MORE (N.M.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Senate defense bill would pull Turkey from F-35 partnership if it buys Russian missile system Trump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran MORE (N.H.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump Senators introduce bill to end warrantless searches of electronic devices at border MORE (Ore.), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world Dem governors on 2020: Opposing Trump not enough MORE (Alaska), Roland Burris (Ill.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers Fox News contributor Campos-Duffy compares abortion to slavery 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (N.Y.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senators offer bipartisan bill to help US firms remove Huawei equipment from networks DOJ plans to show Senate Intel less-redacted Mueller report, filing shows MORE (Va.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Trump Jr. slams Republican committee chairman: 'Too weak to stand up to the Democrats' MORE (Colo.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenStudy finds misconduct is the top reason CEOs are leaving large companies Hirono electrifies left as Trump antagonist Miss USA pageant winner celebrated for addressing 'Me Too' movement on stage MORE (Minn.) and Kay Hagen (N.C.).

Many of them reside on key panels that have jurisdiction over climate and energy policy or otherwise have been involved in the efforts so far to draft a strategy Reid wants on the floor later this month. While they represent a fairly diverse caucus, perhaps only Begich has been considered a possible swing vote in the overall debate.