Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that at least 11 Republican members of Congress have advanced the false claim that a cap-and-trade proposal currently before Congress would cost American families over $3,000 in extra energy taxes per year. They base their claim on a 2007 MIT study. In fact, that study actually says any tax burden would be about one-fortieth of what the Republicans claim.
Since yesterday, at least eight more GOP members have joined their ranks in advancing the false claim. Some have repeated the exact same line (GOP Reps. Paul Broun of Georgia and Jason Chaffetz of Utah both said the budget “opens the door to a national energy tax that will cost every family at least $3,128 a year”), while others like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have increased the alleged tax to $4,500. Watch the compilation:
John Reilly, an MIT professor and one of the researchers who worked on the 2007 study the Republicans are citing, said that some House conservatives had contacted him two weeks ago about the study. He said he “explained why the estimate they had was probably incorrect and what they should do to correct it.” In fact, Reilly has now written a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) — who has himself made the false claim — to denounce the GOP’s distortion of his study.
This morning on the House floor, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called out the Republicans for making this false claim, noting that Reilly “indicates that they are using an intentional misrepresentation of the study”:
BLUMENAUER: One of the things I find most distressing is their repeated falsehood about somehow a $3,000 increase in taxes on the American people based on a research done by MIT. They talked about it four times again last night! [...] The fact is that in the budget we have an opportunity for people who want to be legislators not communicators to help us allocate how those benefits will be utilized.
Thus far, congressional Republicans haven’t let the facts stand in the way of a good lie.
REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): Or that [the budget] opens the door to a national energy tax that will cost every single family in America at least $3,128 a year.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): One estimate from MIT says that the cap and trade scheme could raise taxes on households by as much as $4500 a year.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Yes, let me first say that cap and tax scheme that is in this budget, $646 billion. They have a 600-page bill, a billion dollars a bill [sic] they are spending. Your part of that is $3,128 per household. That is your national energy tax.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT): Or that it opens the door to a national energy tax that will cost every family at least $3,128 a year.
REP. JEB HENSARLING (R-TX): The Democratic budget is proposing a national energy tax which according to studies at MIT could pose a $3,128 burden on every working family in America.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Under the Obama proposal its $3,000 per family, so it’s a very expensive proposal.
REP. DAVID DREIER (R-TX): It also increases taxes on every single American household across this country with new energy taxes. In fact, families will see their taxes on energy go up by as much as $3,100 a year.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA): Because that proposal, there are economists out there who have said anywhere from 1,800 to more than 3,200 dollars of additional tax on every household in America would be the result from a cap and tax scheme.