GOP rep: Parties ‘have to come together’ on climate change

GOP rep: Parties ‘have to come together’ on climate change
© Greg Nash

A Republican lawmaker pushing to put a tax on carbon dioxide emissions said that bipartisan cooperation is the only route to significant climate change legislation.

Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Addressing climate change is a win for Republicans — why not embrace it? House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban MORE (R-Pa.), one of only two lawmakers formally supporting Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz Disinvited GOP lawmaker turns up at Dem hearing MORE’s (R-Fla.) carbon tax bill, said Thursday at an event hosted by The Hill that partisan climate proposals can never get the support needed to pass through Congress.

“It’s not a question of ‘can,’ the parties have to come together,” Fitzpatrick told The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack during the climate event hosted alongside the Bipartisan Policy Center.

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“These purely partisan solutions are never going to work, because you’re never going to get the votes you need to pass. We’re trying to get something across the finish line to advance the goal,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that he’s always suspicious of partisan proposals to solve major problems.

“That tells you something right off the bat. If it’s a single-party solution, why is that the case?”

Fitzpatrick has set himself apart as one of a handful of current Republicans in Congress to back a proposal to punish companies for their emissions.

The Modernizing America with Rebuilding to Kick-start the Economy of the Twenty-first Century with a Historic Infrastructure-Centered Expansion Act, or MARKET CHOICE Act, would put a $24-per-metric-ton tax on carbon emissions and put most of the money toward infrastructure.

Curbelo and Fitzpatrick introduced the bill days after the House easily passed a GOP-backed nonbinding resolution to disavow a carbon tax and declare it detrimental to the country.

“Carlos and I stand for something very different: We’re trying to be that voice inside the GOP caucus to advance common-sense, bipartisan solutions to what he and I believe is a very significant threat,” the freshman lawmaker said.

Thanks in part to Pennsylvania’s court-ordered redistricting, Fitzpatrick is one of the most vulnerable GOP lawmakers in this year’s midterm election. Democrat Scott Wallace has polled very closely to Fitzpatrick, and Democratic leaders think he can take the seat.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSize of 2020 field too big even for Democratic enthusiasts, poll finds Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Trump's UN pick faces Senate grilling MORE (D-R.I.), speaking with Cusack after Fitzpatrick, blamed corporations for the general GOP opposition to climate policies and the failure to pass significant emissions legislation.

“The general posture of corporate America — at least in the United States Senate, where I am — is still violently hostile to movement on climate change,” he said.

Whitehouse said fossil fuel interests are actively pushing against climate policies through lobbying and campaign spending, while companies with progressive internal environmental policies are doing little to help.

“And that, I think, is the crux of our problem,” he said.