The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today unanimously approved Senators Claire McCaskill and John Thune's bipartisan plan, which would protect Missouri consumers and American jobs from a European Union tax on the U.S. airline industry. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
"To subject Americans to a tax levied by the European Union while they fly in U.S. airspace. airspace is a dramatic overreach and assault on our sovereignty-especially when European countries can use that money for anything they'd like," McCaskill said. "The bottom line is that European governments have no business imposing a tax on our air travel, and I'm glad that our colleagues today moved our plan closer to the finish line."
Since January, airline carriers landing in or departing from E.U. countries, including flights between the U.S. and E.U. countries, have been subject to the E.U. Emissions Trading System (E.U. ETS), an emissions trading program that levies a tax on U.S. airline carriers related to European countries' interest in reaching their own internal goals for carbon emissions.
The E.U. program applies a "cap-and-trade" carbon tax system to all flights originating or landing in Europe-taxing even those emissions that occur over the United States, international waters and elsewhere outside Europe. Remarkably, these taxes are not set aside for a specific purpose, and could be used as part of the general fund of any European Union government for virtually any purpose.
McCaskill, along with Thune (R-S.D.), is leading the effort to protect U.S. airlines from being forced to participate in any emissions trading program established by the E.U. and was the first Senate Democrat to sign onto the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act. The McCaskill-Thune legislation has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as unions representing airline employees.
McCaskill has often worked across the aisle on international issues, recently teaming up with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to prevent U.N regulation of the internet. Citing her Senate record, the nonpartisan news magazine National Journal ranked McCaskill exactly in the moderate middle of the U.S. Senate, #50 out of 100.