Recent Press Releases

Thune Amendment Prohibiting Cap and Trade Energy Rate Hikes Passes Senate

Thune Hails Victory for All American Energy Consumers

March 31, 2009

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today issued the following statement after the 89 to 8 vote in favor of his amendment to the Democratic budget that would prohibit the collection of funds from any future cap and trade proposal if that proposal would increase electricity rates and gasoline prices for American households and businesses:

"The Senate acted in the best interest of every American who uses electricity, gas, and diesel fuel. The increased utility and fuel costs that would result from cap and trade legislation, as proposed by President Obama, would equate to a national sales tax on energy that would affect every family in America. In a time when many families are making sacrifices to make ends meet, Congress and the Administration should not be leveling a new tax on energy, especially one that hits middle and lower income families especially hard."

President Obama and the Administration's budget director Peter Orszag have previously stated that a cap and trade program would lead to an increase in electric rates. Director Orszag also stated that these increased energy costs disproportionately affects middle and lower income consumers.

Last week, a hearing of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission determined that cap and trade would increase the cost of electricity for South Dakotans by a minimum of 41 percent. Additionally, Senator Thune recently received a letter signed by over 50 South Dakota state legislators opposing a cap and trade program.

A 2007 Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of a proposal that is similar to President Obama's cap and trade framework concluded that every American family would face additional energy costs of up to $3,128 by 2015.

Senator Thune's amendment is especially important because Democrats in the House and Senate have expressed an interest in "fast tracking" a cap and trade plan via the budget reconciliation process. The budget proposal currently before the House of Representatives allows for reconciliation which effectively opens the door for a cap and trade proposal being included as part of any final budget that is put together - despite the fact that the budget currently before the Senate does not include any budget reconciliation language.

Senator Thune's amendment was the first of several to be offered to the Democratic budget in an effort to provide alternative solutions that benefit taxpayers and reduce the overall spending and debt contained in the proposal that the Obama Administration is advocating to Congress.