Despite CBO Report, Republicans Continue To Claim Climate Legislation Could Cost $3100 Per Household

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June 25, 2009 1:39 p.m.

Earlier this week I reported that a Congressional Budget Office analysis had determined that–despite what Republicans have been alleging for weeks–the Waxman-Markey climate change bill will have only a modest financial impact on American households.

My inquiry about this discrepancy to House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office went unanswered, but the next day, Boehner distributed a new set of talking points which omitted the once-omnipresent claim that the legislation would cost the average household over $3,000 annually.

Not everyone’s following protocol, though.In a press release issued today, Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) repeated the debunked statistic. “The Office of House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today launched a new video news release entitled, ‘Number One Priority.’ The video highlights Speaker Pelosi’s top priority, ‘cap and trade’ legislation that will impose a national energy tax of up to $3,100 on all Americans and slam small businesses with higher energy bills, causing the loss of millions of jobs.”

Note that the language has changed here, too. Republicans used to claim that a cap and trade system would cost the average household about $3,100 per year. Now, Cantor’s saying it will cost them up to that amount. The CBO report found that households in the highest income quintile will likely see a net cost increase of $245 per year as a result of the Waxman-Markey bill–which, to be fair is only 12 or 13 times less than Cantor’s claiming. And I suppose it’s theoretically possible that some rich constituent of Cantor’s who uses an outrageous amount of energy will pay that much more. But it seems as if the GOP will resort to anything to keep this talking point alive.

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