CBO scores Kerry/Boxer climate bill

CBO SCORES KERRY/BOXER CLIMATE BILL…. If deficit reduction is an important goal, policymakers can take comfort in knowing that a cap-and-trade bill is fiscally responsible.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office today released an analysis finding that the major climate and energy bill the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved in November would reduce the budget deficit by $21 billion over the next decade.

The cap-and-trade bill is sponsored by EPW Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). It would require U.S. emissions curbs of 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. The committee approved the bill with no GOP support.

The nonpartisan CBO added that the bill would continue to be in the black even as the cap it creates tightens.

Let’s see, the bill combats global warming, reduces pollution, helps create new jobs in a burgeoning sector, and lowers the deficit, all at the same time. Sounds awful.

Of course, the CBO score applies to the Kerry/Boxer bill — which seems to be far short of overcoming a Republican filibuster — not the compromise Kerry is working on with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Nevertheless, the larger takeaway here is that the climate bill can help address the budget issue while also addressing the energy issue. As Boxer said in a statement, “The CBO score shows that there is a way to design a clean energy and climate bill that is fiscally responsible and gets the job done – while protecting the health of our families and the planet.”

The CBO’s report is online here.