What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, Oil & Gas Industry : S Con Res 13. (Fiscal 2010 budget resolution) Graham of South Carolina amendment that would create a new Senate rule barring any legislation that includes an energy tax increase for taxpayers earning $200,000 or less/On agreeing to the amendment (2009 senate Roll Call 135)
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S Con Res 13. (Fiscal 2010 budget resolution) Graham of South Carolina amendment that would create a new Senate rule barring any legislation that includes an energy tax increase for taxpayers earning $200,000 or less/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 135     Apr 02, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would create a new Senate rule that prohibits any legislation with an energy tax increase applicable to taxpayers earning $200,000 or less.  The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress’ budget priorities in fiscal 2010.  The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Creating such a rule would mean that any legislation that falls afoul of the rule can be defeated by a parliamentary maneuver on the Senate floor, unless the Senate votes to waive the rule by 60 votes.  This is generally considered to be a large margin in the Senate.

Graham said his amendment would protect middle class families from being hit with legislation that increases the cost they pay for various forms of energy.

“Why are we doing this? The climate change proposal that was in the President’s budget would create a massive tax increase on anybody who uses energy, and that would be every American middle-class family, which already has a tough time getting by. This would be a [rule] against any bill that would raise the cost of energy on our middle-class families who are struggling to get by,” Graham said.

Graham was referring to a proposal put forth by President Obama that would implement a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that would raise $646 billion in revenues over 10 years.  A “cap-and-trade” system would basically cap the amount of climate change-affecting pollution that an industry could emit, and then set up an “emissions allowances” system whereby industries that need to purchase more than their emissions cap can buy allowances from those who fall below their emissions cap.

Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said only that he was willing to vote for the amendment.

By a vote of 65-33, the amendment was adopted.  Every Republican present voted for the amendment.  Of Democrats present, 24 voted for the amendment and 31 voted against it (including the most progressive members).  The end result is that the bill went forward with language establishing a new Senate rule that makes it easier to defeat legislation including an energy tax increase that applies to those earning $200,000 or less.

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