Beltway Republicans, including former Treasury Secretary James Baker, lobby National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn to enact a carbon tax at the White House today. Ivanka Trump, her husband Jared Kushner, and Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are also expected to attend.
Other Republican insiders comprise the climate change group. The list includes Hank Paulson, treasury secretary for George W. Bush, Rob Walton former Walmart chairman of the board of directors, and Ted Halstead, founder of the New America Foundation, a Soros related group.
The insiders would impose a $40 per ton tax on carbon, and potentially increase it in the future. Conservatives on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue oppose a carbon tax. President Trump has tweeted that he will not support or endorse a carbon tax:
.@thehill Your story about me & the carbon tax is absolutely incorrect—it is just the opposite. I will not support or endorse a carbon tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2016
At $40 per ton of carbon, the plan would raise $300 billion in revenue, and add 36 cents per gallon to gas prices. James Baker has said that they would reallocate the funds in the form of rebates, a family of four would receive $2,000 a year.
Chris Warren, Vice President of the Institute for Energy Research, told Breitbart News, “A carbon tax is a regressive tax on poor families, lower income families spend a higher percentage of their earnings on energy which leaves less to spend on health care.” Warren called this $40 per ton carbon tax proposal “remarkably similar to one exposed in the John Podesta email Wikileaks reveal.”
James Baker told CNN this plan would aid blue collar workers, and provide a conservative vision for climate change. He said, “We have a Republican administration now — a Republican administration that could show leadership on this issue and present to the blue collar workers who were so important to Trump’s victory — something that does not increase, build government, that is conservative, that is free market — let the market determine — and there is some support out there for that now and from some quarters that normally didn’t support this kind of thing.”
Baker’s impassioned speech does not convince conservatives. Jon Meadows of FreedomWorks, a grassroots activist organization, told Breitbart News, “We continue to oppose the carbon tax. For one thing, the brunt of the impact will be on those with lesser financial means.”
The climate change plan calls for repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and other EPA regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions. Chris Warren of the IER believes that this scheme is all small and mirrors. “This is a classic Washington style tax hike, proposing a regulation swap on the Clean Power Plan. Trump has opposed a carbon tax, and promised to undo Obama’s regulatory agenda, including the Clean Power Plan,” he said.
A deal to impose a carbon tax in exchange for reductions in environmental regulations seems less likely given Trump’s opposition to a carbon tax.
The new administration has met previously with activists to discuss climate change. In December, Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka met with Al Gore to discuss climate change. Rumor has spread that Ivanka will make climate change her signature issue, yet President Trump is not convinced. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has said that President Trump’s “default position” on climate change is that “most of it is a bunch of bunk.”