American consumers and U.S. jobs would be shielded from a European Union airline tax under a bipartisan measure by Senators Claire McCaskill and John Thune (R-S.D.) that was approved early this morning by the U.S. Senate. The legislation now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives.
"It's refreshing to see strong, bipartisan support for the commonsense notion that Americans shouldn't be forced to pay a European tax when flying in U.S. airspace," said McCaskill, who joined her Senate colleagues in votes between midnight and 2:00 a.m. ET this morning. "I appreciate Sen. Thune's work to get this done, and now the U.S. House needs to act in order to protect American jobs and consumers from this new tax."
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 Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved McCaskill and Thune's bipartisan plan in July.
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 and Thune are leading the effort to protect U.S. airlines from being forced to participate in any emissions trading program established by the E.U. McCaskill 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 consistently worked across the aisle on international issues, recently teaming up with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to simplify trade processes for America's manufacturers, and guard against the return of Congressional earmarks. 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.