"Their costs will skyrocket and their customers will simply buy cheaper imported steel," Boehner said.
The draft, however, contains provisions to protect businesses from foreign competition and leaves open for debate how consumers will be protected. One idea that has some bipartisan support is returning all or most revenue from pollution permit sales to taxpayers.
Another suggestion is to give permits to companies free in the plan's early years. That also could help hold down costs to consumers if the companies passed the benefits along.
In a sign of the argument to come, Republicans unleashed a series of ads Tuesday aimed at 54 politically vulnerable House Democrats, charging that a cap and trade plan would send energy prices soaring. Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, warned of a "fiscally irresponsible cap and tax proposal that will increase energy bills, raise taxes and overwhelm the budgets of American families."
Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said he was glad that the draft bill included plans to protect American industries from competitive disadvantage. Still, he said it would take time to analyze the 640-page draft to determine how effective and how costly the bill would be.
The bill's section on global competitiveness calls for some industrial sectors to receive rebates to compensate for additional costs. If the rebates aren't sufficient, the president could impose tariffs on foreign manufacturers and importers to cover the carbon they emitted in making their exported products.
James Mulva, the chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips, said at the National Academy of Sciences on Monday that businesses wanted certainty about energy prices so they could make investment decisions. He predicted that this issue will be a difficult fight in Congress and called for work toward an "environmentally effective, economically sustainable and fair" approach.
Mulva said that a "significant proportion" of the permits should be given free to businesses to help consumers and protect against competition from foreign countries without mandatory controls.
The measure offers other provisions that businesses sought. One is offsets; companies can increase their emissions if they obtain reductions of emissions elsewhere at a lower cost that offset those increases. Total offsets would be limited.
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