By Chris White
Three of the six Republicans lawmakers who voted Thursday against a House resolution opposing a carbon tax were from Florida and one of them is a prominent President Donald Trump supporter.
Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Francis Rooney of Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, and Mia Love of Utah were the only Republicans to vote against the measure. But their opposition was offset by the seven Democrats who supported the measure.
Curbelo, whose district voted overwhelmingly for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, is one of the principal founders of the bipartisan caucus and is preparing to roll out his own legislation next week to put a $23 levy on carbon emissions. The measure doesn’t enact any new laws, but it does pressure Republicans to oppose any future legislation designed to tax carbon.
Rooney, meanwhile, has become a reliable supporter Trump. He said he was “pretty frustrated” with some FBI officials whom he thinks are too biased to carry out a thorough investigation into whether Russia collusion into the presidential election.
“I’m very concerned that the DOJ and the FBI, whether you want to call it ‘deep state’ or what, are kind of off the rails,” Rooney told MSNBC in a December 2017 interview. He was referring to two former FBI agents who worked for the special counsel investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Rooney voted in opposition of the climate resolution and sided with Democrats, many of whom believe a carbon tax can help ratchet down the emissions scientists say are contributing to global warming.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia proposed the resolution, which called a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.” Both lawmakers moved forward on the measure even as other Republicans sought to push a carbon tax.
One of the Democrats who supported Scalise’s measure was Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate who won in a state Trump carried by a significant margin. Lamb won a special election in March and was hailed as a new type of Democrat capable of gaining sway in Trump country.
GOP-affiliated groups, such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, have doubled efforts to recruit Republican lawmakers to work on rebutting climate skepticism. They also want to hijack the Democrats’ traditional stranglehold on the environmental movement. (RELATED: GOP Groups Call Carbon Tax A Free Market Solution To Climate Change)