CCL takes carbon fee message back to the Hill

CCL Legislative Director Danny Richter appears pleased with the way lobbying day is progressing as he walks with Lynate Pettengill through the hallway of the Longworth House Office Building. Photo by Erica Flock.

CCL Legislative Director Danny Richter appears pleased with the way lobbying day is progressing as he walks with CCL Development Director Lynate Pettengill through the hallway of the Longworth House Office Building. Photo by Erica Flock.

Rebuilding our democracy as we repair our world: CCL back on Hill with carbon fee message

By Steve Valk 

While all eyes and Web browsers were focused on the big Keystone XL Pipeline showdown in the Senate – falling 1 vote short of passage – volunteers and staff from Citizens’ Climate Lobby fanned out across Capitol Hill for a day of targeted lobbying, hitting more than 100 Senate offices.

Judging by the ecstatic shares at the debriefing session held at the end of the day, Tuesday’s lobbying efforts were a great success. Perhaps the euphoria Republicans felt following the election is still lingering in House and Senate offices, but it seemed like every meeting with GOP offices I heard about was upbeat, pleasant and positive, with staffers engaged and interested in our carbon fee and dividend proposal. Nearly all who lobbied reported that staffers they spoke with planned to attend the briefings for the REMI study coming up on Wednesday and Thursday.

For those of you just joining our story, back in June CCL released a study from Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), that looked at the potential impact of our legislative proposal, a steadily-rising fee on carbon – rising $10 per ton of CO2 each year – where revenue is returned to households. The REMI study found, among other things that CO2 emissions would drop 50 percent within 20 years. During that time, 2.8 million job would be added because of the economic stimulus of recycling all the revenue into the pockets of people who were likely to spend it.

To help congressional offices get a better handle on the REMI study and ask questions, we’re hosting briefings in the Senate (Wednesday) and House (Thursday) led by Scott Nystrom, author of the study.

Early in the day, walking across the Capitol, I noticed the scaffolding encasing the dome. It seemed symbolic: Workmen were repairing the Rotunda while CCL volunteers and staff were repairing the democracy that resides under that dome. I Tweeted the following:

More meetings are yet to come. The Wisconsin congressional delegation got their own briefing on the REMI study today from Scott Nystrom, and Wisconsin volunteers will meet with those offices tomorrow to get their impressions.

Ashley Hunt-Martorano CCL Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson hold a copy of Roll Call with the interesting story of the day. (Photo by Erica Flock)

Ashley Hunt-Martorano and CCL Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson hold a copy of Roll Call with the interesting story of the day. (Photo by Erica Flock)

After hearing the reports today, I’m feeling more and more optimistic that we’ll get a bipartisan Carbon Fee and Dividend bill introduced in the next Congress. As we keep saying, our government still responds to the will of the people, provided the people let their government know what they want. Today we told them, and in a way that they were ready to hear.

Another sign today that the tide may be about to turn on climate policy was a story in Roll Call: Will Republicans Need a New Message on Climate Change in 2016?

In the Roll Call story, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said, ““If conservatives plan on winning the White House back, we’ve got to have something on the menu that addresses this felt need for action on climate.”

In case you’re wondering, yeah, we met with Graham’s office today to tell them about Carbon Fee and Dividend. Stay tuned.

Steve Valk is Communications Director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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