GOP leaders slam the door on carbon taxes

Capitol Hill's most powerful Republicans say advocates who have been discussing a carbon tax behind closed doors are wasting their breath. 

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment Amash storm hits Capitol Hill MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.), speaking through aides, have stated their opposition to the concept in recent days.

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump adviser expected to leave White House, join Juul The Hill's 12:30 Report: McGahn inflames Dem divisions on impeachment Amash storm hits Capitol Hill MORE spokesman Michael Steel had a one-word answer when asked, on Friday, whether the Speaker would ever consider a carbon tax to help address climate change and the deficit: “No.”

Similarly, McConnell spokesman John Ashbrook said Monday that “Leader McConnell opposes a national energy tax.”

ADVERTISEMENT

While their positions are no surprise, the categorical opposition underscores the hurdles facing an ad hoc, left-right coalition of activists and policy wonks who have held a series of meetings in private to discuss the idea.

The most recent meeting was last week at the headquarters of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, as reported by The Hill.

Backers of carbon taxes say the policy would help curb greenhouse gas emissions, and raise revenues to help battle the deficit or enable reductions of other tax rates.

A draft of the agenda prepared for last week’s meeting included representatives and scholars with groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, AEI, Public Citizen, the free-market group R Street, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, ConservAmerica — formerly Republicans for Environmental Protection — Taxpayers for Common Sense and others.