House opposes carbon and oil taxes in symbolic votes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted largely along party lines on Friday to reject any new taxes on carbon emissions and oil production.

The two non-binding actions were intended to get Republicans on the record opposing higher taxes on fossil fuels amid industry concerns that they could become part of a new tax reform debate in 2017, according to aides and lobbyists.

One resolution opposing a carbon tax as detrimental to the U.S. economy, which was led by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and backed by the privately owned Koch Industries Inc, drew support from 237 lawmakers, including 231 Republicans and six Democrats, while 163 Democrats voted against the measure.

Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups favor a carbon tax as a way to control emissions. Republican leaders and their industry allies have worried that support for a carbon tax among big oil companies could encourage some Republicans to back such a measure.

A separate resolution against President Barack Obama’s proposed $10-a-barrel oil tax won support from 253 lawmakers, including 230 Republicans and 23 Democrats. One Republican and 143 Democrats voted against the measure.

“These taxes would harm businesses and hardworking American families who (are) already struggling with stagnant wages,” Representative Bill Flores, a Texas Republican and former energy industry executive, said in a statement.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz