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Congressman Ted Deutch Is Pushing For A Carbon Fee And Ban On Assualt Weapons

Congressman Ted Deutch

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) said on Sundial Monday that retreating from the Paris Climate Agreement makes America "weaker" and that he plans to push hard for two things in the coming months: a carbon fee and gun reform legislation.

The congressman, who represents Florida's 22nd District, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, is in South Florida meeting with constituents before Congress returns to session in September. He held two town halls in Palm Beach County last week focused on the issues of climate change and gun control. In February, Deutch introduced a bill, along with Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, that would ban the sale of high capacity assault weapons that hold more than 10 rounds. He also proposed a plan that aims to combat climate change by taxing carbon emissions. The bill would price carbon at $15 per metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Deutch joined Sundial host Luis Hernandez to talk about climate change, gun control and the news that broke over the weekend regarding 12 seniors who died at a Hollywood nursing home following Hurricane Irma.

This has been edited lightly for clarity. 

WLRN: Convincing Republicans, especially in the Senate, to move forward on this [carbon tax], there is fear that showing support for something like this will lead them to get tossed out of office by voters.

DEUTCH: I'm not sure there are voters frankly anywhere in America that haven't experienced climate change whether it's drought or severe storms.

Some people say they [don't] link climate change to those issues.

How about if we start by having some of my Republican colleagues go to the president and tell him, "America ought to be leading in the world. We ought to be the leaders in combating climate change. We ought to be showing the rest of the world our commitment to helping do something that will not only make the world safer it will strengthen our economy. It will create innovation." The way to do that is to lead the world through the Paris climate accords, not to withdraw from it. That kind of retreat makes us weaker. I would think that my colleagues would be willing to stand up and speak in favor of strength and against weakness.

Let me move over to the issue of guns. You are part of a group that's looking at restrictions on gun magazines. After the shootings in Ohio and Texas, has anything really changed?

Sure. And it's been changing for a while. Remember it was after the horrific tragedy at Stoneman Douglas in our community in Parkland that you saw this movement spring up of young people who went out and energized their peers all across the country. And they recognize that everyone is touched by gun violence whether it's a mass shooting in a school or at a WalMart or at a club or whether it's everyday gun violence in your community. They succeeded in changing the behavior of major corporations and getting some of them to sever ties with the NRA and getting others to stop selling assault rifles and ultimately they helped deliver a gun safety majority in the House of Representatives. 

It's with that majority that we've passed universal background checks and it's with that majority that after these latest terrible, just shocking acts of gun violence that Congress is going back September 9th, but the Judiciary Committee I serve on is going to go back a week earlier and we're going to take up and pass the ban on high capacity magazines and national red flag law. We're going to send those over to the Senate as well. There's growing pressure on Mitch McConnell to do the right thing.