GOP victories in Virginia and elsewhere last week is causing some moderate Democrats to reconsider instituting a carbon tax to help fund President Joe Biden's massive $1.7-$3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" budget reconciliation bill.
Despite optimistic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's, D-R.I., recent prediction the upper chamber has the Democrat votes it needs to pass the president's bill with a $20 per-ton carbon tax, more moderate Democrats are saying they cannot support that part of the sweeping legislation.
Whitehouse told Forbes during last week's COP26 climate forum in Glasgow, Scotland, that "at least 49 senators" are willing to sign on to the package that includes the carbon tax.
"At least 49 senators support a proposal to impose an almost $20 per-ton fee on carbon as part of President Joe Biden's climate-and-spending legislation," he told Forbes last week.
There are currently 48 Democrat senators and two independents that caucus with the Democrats in the chamber, and all of them are needed for the evenly split 50-50 Senate, with Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote for the bill to pass.
The Forbes article pointed out, however, moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., say they are against the tax as one of the funding mechanisms in the bill.
"As a farmer, Sen. Tester supports making common sense investments to combat the impact of climate change on Montana workers and businesses," Sarah Feldman, Sen. Tester's communications director told Forbes, adding, "Sen. Tester has been presented multiple carbon tax proposals and does not support any of them. He remains committed to working with his colleagues to lower costs and cut taxes for working families, while creating good paying jobs and addressing climate change."
The tax would be placed on companies, charging them for the tons of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere to help reduce the greenhouse gas in the wake of climate change, and to incentivize companies to move to greener forms of energy, according to the Columbia Center on Global Energy.
Youngkin's victory throws another monkey wrench into the climate activists plans for the tax, as it virtually eliminates the commonwealth from entering a regional Transportation & Climate Initiative group with 12 other mid-Atlantic states.
The group would seek to reduce emissions from transportation and develop clean energy technologies, vehicles, and fuels to try and cut back a third of the region's emissions, according to the organization.
Youngkin campaigned on reducing taxes, like a proposed gas tax in the state, and not getting into the group.
According to Columbia, the carbon tax would generate around $180 billion per year, and help the U.S. reduce emissions 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
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