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Earlier in the week, when we laid out our expectations for the president’s last budget, we predicted new tax hikes. After all, how are you going to pay for all that new spending? But even we didn’t see this one coming…

President Obama’s plan to impose a $10 tax on every barrel of oil is so outrageous that Democrats have “remained largely silent” about it.  Can you blame them? This tax would hurt Americans all over the country, raising their energy costs.

We will never let this harmful proposal become law. President Obama knows this. But if it’s going nowhere, why does the president float such a radical tax? Here are a few possibilities:

He wants to cement his legacy as the most anti-energy president.

Doesn’t look like that will be a problem. Even though the president campaigned on an all-of-the-above energy strategy, his record shows he really just wants to keep it in the ground. He halted offshore drilling in the Gulf, decimating the coastal industry for months. He rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, much-needed infrastructure that would have created thousands of jobs. When Republicans blocked the president from passing cap-and-trade through Congress, his administration embarked upon a regulatory assault of the coal industry through the EPA’s Clean Power Plant plan.

Since the beginning of this coal crusade, more than 40,000 coal industry jobs have been sacrificed. His final year gives him one last shot to cement this legacy, so he’s revving up these regulatory attacks. Just last month, he announced a rule that would halt coal production on federal land and another methane rule that would make it more difficult for companies to produce oil and natural gas on federal land.

He wants to show how far Democrats should be willing to go to enact climate change policies.

And boy is that far. White House economic advisor Jeff Zients said yesterday, "We recognize that oil companies would likely pass on some of the costs.” To whom? Consumers. The administration ‘recognizes’ that the American people’s energy costs are going to increase, but they just don’t care. The hardworking consumer is just collateral damage to them. And which consumers are hurt the most? Poor people, because a bigger percent of their wages go toward energy bills. 

Furthermore, this proposal would utterly destroy the oil industry, which is already struggling to do business with the price of oil at a 12-year low. But ultimately, that’s the president’s goal: to eliminate fossil fuels, the most affordable form of energy. It’s all a part of his long-term fantasy to stop climate change, no matter that such proposals will cripple the economy and ruin people’s livelihoods.  On the other hand, we believe in human ingenuity, and that energy development and protecting the environment can go hand in hand.

He wants to distract the American people.

House Republicans are putting forward a bold, pro-growth agenda and we’re taking it to the American people. That scares Democrats. President Obama wants to distract Americans, painting Republicans as the party of “no.” Well, we’re happy to do everything we can to stop radical policies that hurts people and the economy, but we refuse to get bogged down in distractions and fantasy proposals that go nowhere.

Nothing will deter us from moving forward with our positive agenda to build a #ConfidentAmerica. Yesterday, Speaker Ryan announced task forces for the agenda, one of which has a specific mission to reduce regulatory burdens, to “make it easier to invest, produce, and build things in America . . . while still protecting the environment, public safety, and consumer interests.” So no, we won’t be distracted. We will be a proposition party, giving Americans a choice between the radical progressive Left and a vision shaped by the principles of conservatism, which grows our economy, creates jobs, and unleashes our energy potential.