WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said on Tuesday that he is not talking about a carbon tax in negotiations over the spending and infrastructure bills, even as some of his fellow Democrats in the Senate support it as a way to fight climate change.
“The carbon tax is not on the board at all,” said Manchin, a centrist from West Virginia, the top U.S. coal producing state after Wyoming.
Some Democrats, including Senator Ron Wyden, have focused on a carbon tax as a possible alternative as Manchin opposes a key measure in the spending bill called the Clean Electricity Payment Plan. That measure, which would reward power utilities for investing in renewable energy such as wind and solar and fine those who do not, has been backed by Democratic President Joe Biden to achieve his climate goals including cutting U.S. emissions by about 50% by 2030.
Under a carbon tax, the government sets a gradually rising price for each ton of greenhouse gas that polluters emit, incentivizing industries to move to cleaner energy sources.
Manchin urged lawmakers to pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before the wider spending bill and in time for the U.N. climate talks begin in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31.
“We have the trust in each other, we should be able to vote immediately on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is a tremendous piece of legislation for the President (Biden) to take with him to Glasgow,” Manchin told reporters.
Progressive (NYSE:) Democrats have said the bills should be passed together to ensure that the debate on wider legislation on climate and social programs does not slip into next year, or get abandoned altogether.
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