Dems introduce climate change legislation after Senate votes down Green New Deal

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenTwo dozen Dem senators urge Trump to extend nuclear treaty with Russia Live coverage: Barr faces Senate panel as he prepares release of Mueller report US so far granted waivers to 6 percent of applicants on travel ban list: report MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced legislation Thursday to tackle climate change and boost the economy two days after the Senate blocked the hotly contested Green New Deal.

The Democrats proposed the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, which would cap carbon pollution and curtail carbon dioxide emissions gradually in the next 20 years, impose penalties on companies that violate the pollution regulations and donate all the proceeds to American families in the form of dividends. 

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“The dangers of climate change are front and center in our everyday lives and only getting worse — we must take real steps to fight back,” Van Hollen said in a statement. This bill will spur economic growth and encourage the development of clean technologies. I urge Congress to take up this measure immediately – it’s clear this issue can’t wait.” 

“The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act is the kind of bold action we need to help save the planet. Our market-based approach to putting a price on carbon would help the US economy adapt quickly by reducing carbon and embracing clean energy,” Beyer added. “We also see a sharp rise in engagement on this issue and growing support for ambitious solutions, and I believe our bill deserves a prominent place in that discussion.” 

Specifically, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act would cap carbon emissions at 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and then 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2040.

Carbon pollution permits would also be auctioned off to the first sellers of oil, coal, and natural gas into the U.S. market and would in turn give 100 percent of the profits garnered each quarter to every American in the form of a Healthy Climate Dividend.

Van Hollen and Beyer touted the plan as a way to supplement families’ income before accounting for the cost saved by preventing further impacts from climate change. They also pointed to an op-ed written in January by a group of bipartisan economists who the endorsed the cap and dividend approach.

The legislation comes two days after the Senate voted down the Green New Deal, a plan backed by progressives to tackle climate change by investing in eco-friendly jobs. While the plan was popular among the Democratic Party’s left flank, moderates expressed skepticism about the proposal’s cost and if its goals were realistic. 

Republicans also seized on the resolution as a sign that the Democrats were moving further and further left, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Mueller report is a deterrent to government service Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age MORE (R-Ky.) slamming the idea as a “destructive socialist daydream.”