Newt Gingrich vs. the New Energy Bill?

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The energy reform/climate change bill being drafted in the Senate hasn't come out yet, but it appears to have a prospective opponent already in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.


The bill will be unveiled Monday by Sens. John Kerry (D), Joe Lieberman (I), and Lindsey Graham (R), and no one's completely sure what will be in it. Gingrich, for his part, is warning that it may include a gas tax--even if its authors aren't calling it that.

Graham's office has denied that a "gas tax" will be included in the bill, as noted by CongressDaily's Darren Goode.

Here's an excerpt from an e-mail that Gingrich's group, American Solutions, sent out to supporters today from Vice President for Policy Vince Haley:

On Monday we may see a new gas tax introduced by Senators Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman as part of the energy and climate legislation they have been working on together the last several months. 

Earlier this week we asked your fellow American Solutions members in South Carolina to call Senator Graham's office and ask him not to introduce new gas taxes.  Many of them reported back that Senator Graham's staff responded by saying that Senator Graham does not support new gas taxes and doesn't have any plans to introduce new gas taxes.

We hope that is true and that Senator Graham, along with Senators Kerry and Lieberman, has indeed changed his mind. If so, it would likely be due in large part to the many American Solutions calls.  

But we remain skeptical. We are concerned that the legislation we expect to see Monday will nevertheless contain new gas taxes. For the last several weeks it has been widely reported in the media that the legislation will contain new taxes on gas, diesel, and other transportation fuels. These will be assessed in the form of a fee or other costs imposed on oil companies, which will then be passed on to consumers in the form of higher gas prices...

Come Monday, if the legislation proposed by Senators Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman contains measures that will increase the price of gasoline, you now know why American Solutions considers it a new gas tax and thus will vigorously oppose it.  We will also be asking for your help in calling your Senators to oppose any such new gas taxes.

If next Monday the Senators are insisting that they are not introducing any new gas taxes, but instead are describing a "linked fee" or a requirement that oil companies buy carbon permits, you will know that they are supporting a bill that will raise gasoline, diesel, and other fuel prices.  

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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