EXCLUSIVE: Sensenbrenner to Lead Charge Against 'Cap 'N Tax'

Branding the so-called “cap ‘n trade” legislation nothing more than “a huge hidden tax and welfare transfer, largely to China and India,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R.-Wis.) today vowed to lead the charge in Congress against the environmental measure proposed by Democratic Reps. Ed Markey (Mass.) and Henry Waxman (Calif.).

“Their plan should be called ‘cap’n’tax,’ Sensenbrenner told two HUMAN EVENTS reporters. In an exclusive interview, the former House Judiciary Committee chairman pointed out that the Waxman-Markey bill “contains no number, so the consumer can’t figure out his or her increase in the cost of electricity, oil and heating, and gas at the pump.”

Sensenbrenner explained that in order to cooperate with the legislation that deals with “climate change” (the term now in vogue instead of “global warming,” he observed), China and India will have to have compensation equivalent to 1% of the entire world’s Gross Domestic Product. That figure is above and beyond the aid we already give them, added the congressman.

“That comes to about an additional $1900 in taxes every year for every American,” said Sensenbrenner, who pointed out that this would be raised through “hidden taxes” on electricity and gasoline. [A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed similar figures, concluding that “cap and trade” legislation would lead to additional taxes of $3, 128 per American household].

“If they could add up the tab, they’d be appalled,” Sensenbrenner told us. “The sooner we have those numbers, the sooner ‘cap and tax’ can be killed.”

Other recent critics of “cap and trade” have said its enactment will hit particularly hard on lower income Americans. During a recent meeting with the House GOP Study Committee, for example, Lord Christopher Monckton, onetime science advisor to Margaret Thatcher, said Republicans should make a campaign issue out of the proposed environmental legislation and brand it an assault on blue collar workers with lower incomes. In a fighting speech during a conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last weekend, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R.-Penn.) denounced cap and trade as “the war on the poor.”

But Sensenbrenner goes further, attacking the proposal as “an assault on everybody.” In his words, “When you drive forty miles to and from work and you have to pay a lot more for gas every day, it’s going to hurt whether you make $20,000 a year or $2 million a year. The same is true of heating costs.”

Sensenbrenner addressed the Western European leaders who are urging the U.S. to embrace tougher measures for dealing with climate change. This movement is, he said, “driven center-left leaders doing this, such as the Labor governments of Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown. [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel is a leader of the right, but she’s in this ‘grand coalition’ with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and they control the environment ministry. [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy is cooperating in the call for climate change measures, but not out leading the charge. 90% of France’s power comes from its nuclear facilities.”

Does he agree with Lord Monckton and other scientists internationally that the science behind global warming is without merit?

“I believe that the science is not as conclusive as the former vice president of the U.S. [Al Gore] and his friends with Nobel medals say it is,” Sensenbrenner told us.

Throughout his interview with HUMAN EVENTS, 31-year Rep. Sensenbrenner repeatedly returned to his theme that what he called ‘cap and tax’ would also strike a deadly blow to the U.S. manufacturing industry.

“Soon, if it is passed, manufacturing factories will have signs outside saying ‘Closed for Good. Gone fishing,’” he said, “We’ve got to kill this bill.”