After the State of the Union, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), will deliver the Republican response, where he will likely repackage many of the same dirty energy policies that lost spectacularly among voters in 2012.
Although Rubio was dubbed by TIME magazine a “new voice of the GOP,” the presidential hopeful sounds no different from the old party — particularly his positions on climate change and favoring Big Oil above all.
Just last week, Rubio claimed climate change is not a problem for his home state Florida, despite a devastating year of extreme weather. “I know people said there’s a significant scientific consensus on [human-caused climate change], but I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle,” he said.
Not surprisingly, Rubio is a member of the Koch polluter caucus. He is one of five senators who received a perfect score from the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity, and he received more of the petrochemical giant’s cash than any other Senate campaign in 2010, for a career total of $32,200. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Senator Rubio has received nearly $260,000 in dirty energy contributions from oil, gas, and coal, with his largest contribution coming from the Koch-linked group, Club for Growth.
But Rubio’s polluter backing comes at a cost. His record includes:
—Voting against repealing Big Oil subsidies to fund clean energy projects and reduce the deficit.
— Voting against extending tax credits for renewable energy, at the same time he maintained oil industry tax breaks
— Signing a pledge to Americans for Prosperity that promises to “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.”
— Voting against legislation aiding states harmed by the 2010 BP oil disaster. Rubio was the only senator from the Gulf Coast to do so, and one year later, he voted to expand coastal oil and gas exploration and issue faster drilling permits to oil companies.
Rubio has given no reason to expect anything less than a Big Oil agenda tonight.
Tiffany Germain, ThinkProgress War Room Senior Climate/Energy Researcher, contributed substantial research to this post.