In a little-noticed move that bears significant ramifications for fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama quietly signed a bill today excluding US airlines from any European carbon emissions fee. While environmentalists were pushing Obama to allow Europe to tax the hell out of America’s airline industry in the name of global warming, Obama begged off. A White House spokesperson told The Hill:
The Obama administration is firmly committed to reducing harmful carbon pollution from civil aviation both domestically and internationally, but, as we have said on many occasions, the application of the EU [Emissions Trading System] to non-EU air carriers is the wrong way to achieve that objective.
The bill was a rare bipartisan piece of legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). Said Thune, “American sovereignty will no longer be threatened by the E.U.’s illegitimate and disingenuous ‘environmental’ tax on our country,” Thune said in a statement. “My bill will ensure that we protect U.S. air carriers and passengers from this illegal tax, freeing up billions of dollars that can instead be invested in creating jobs, modernizing or purchasing new aircraft and stimulating our own economy.”
So, what did this have to do with the fiscal cliff? It shows that President Obama is not fully prepared to surrender America’s economic future to the radical left. He is still concerned with how America’s economy performs, even if this is his second term. That means that when it comes to the fiscal cliff, he’s not fully prepared to watch America sail over the chasm and crash into the pit just to please his radical base. If this bill is any indicator, Obama has an incentive to work with a Republicans, not just to hold fast to his tax increases.