To welcome the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell penned an op-ed for Fox News to claim that he and the Republicans in the Senate are in favor of bipartisanship, while the Democrats are not:
So make no mistake. The Senate has proven its ability to reach bipartisan solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.
And looking ahead to the coming year, there will be no shortage of opportunities to continue this impressive record of cooperation across the aisle and across the Capitol.
What we can make of those opportunities will depend on our Democratic colleagues. Will they choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference?
Last week, the American people made it abundantly clear that they prefer that Congress focus on making a difference.
That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle.
But however Democrats interpret the latest message from voters, Senate Republicans will continue our commitment to delivering results.
For anyone who has been paying attention to Mitch McConnell’s tenure as a Republican leader in the Senate, this op-ed would likely (and correctly) be seen as a case of absolutely breathtaking hypocrisy. However, Mitch McConnell did recently allow for a bipartisan bill on criminal justice reform to be voted on and passed in the Senate, so maybe he’s softening up a little when it comes to partisanship (not likely: see Mueller investigation protection bill).
Well, Republican Senator Jeff Flake and Democratic Senator Chris Coons have given Mitch McConnell another opportunity to prove to the country that he is actually willing to allow bipartisanship, by introducing a bill to fight against climate change and dirty energy:
Republicans need to get serious about climate change. That’s why I introduced a revenue-neutral carbon tax bill in the House several years ago. Today, @ChrisCoons & I have introduced a bipartisan, revenue-neutral carbon tax bill that provides an honest path to clean energy.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 19, 2018
The bill would tax fossil fuel companies who emit carbon, and rebate those funds to taxpayers:
The landmark bill aims to charge fossil fuel companies a tax for their carbon dioxide emissions. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced by a bipartisan group in the House in November.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would charge $15 for each ton of carbon emitted into the air and would increase that fee by $10 every year afterward, in an effort to fight climate change. Other than administrative costs, all of the money would be given back to taxpayers in a dividend.
This type of legislation is long overdue. The people of America want our government to fight climate change, they want our government to move away from dirty energy, and they want our government to embrace clean, renewable energy.
A new poll conducted by Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication finds that a Green New Deal, designed to transition the country away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, has widespread, bipartisan support.
The poll found that, of all registered voters, 81 percent are in favor of a Green New Deal. Support among Democrats and Independents is even higher, with 92 percent of Democrats proclaiming they “somewhat support” or “strongly support” Green New Deal legislation. But the most surprising result is the broad support among Republicans, 64 percent of whom signaled their support to pollsters. Even 57 percent of self-identified “Conservative Republicans” backed the Green New Deal plan.
Bipartisan Senate legislation now exists to tackle climate change and help move American toward clean, renewable energy. Will Mitch McConnell work with both parties to do something the country wants done?
Probably best not to bet on it. It has only been two months since Mitch McConnell stood on a stage in Kentucky with Donald Trump and nodded in agreement as Donald Trump lied to the people of Kentucky about a supposed renaissance for dirty energy:
TRUMP: “We have ended the war on clean, beautiful coal. We’re putting our miners back to work like never before. They’re going back, back, back”
The truth: Only 1,900 new coal mining jobs have been created nationwide since Donald Trump became President, just 0.05% of total jobs created in that time. There are currently 52,000 coal mining jobs nationwide, which is 20,000 below four years ago, and 80,000 below thirty years ago (Source: BLS Data: All employees, thousands, coal mining, seasonally adjusted). Those numbers don’t even account yet for the coal mine that just shut down this month in West Virginia, resulting in hundreds of layoffs.