WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama's push for a new energy policy got a major boost Thursday when a key House panel approved a plan aimed at addressing climate change.
The House Energy and Commerce committee passed the bill largely along party lines, 33-25. One Republican, Rep Mary Bono Mack, of California, voted with the Democrats in favor of the bill.
The bill, drafted by Democrats, would create a so-called "cap and trade" system for U.S. businesses to sell credits for pollution.
It sets a target for cutting greenhouse gases by 17 percent from their 2005 levels by 2020. An auction for the credits, which effectively starts in 2014, allows businesses who meet the new energy standard to sell their credits to those who are still working to become more energy efficient.
"We are now one step closer to delivering on the promise of a new clean energy economy that will make America less dependent on foreign oil, crack down on polluters, and create millions of new jobs all across America," Obama said in a written statement.
Faced with opposition from fellow Democrats, committee Chairman Henry Waxman agreed to divide up free permits or "allowances" to various industries such as electric utilities, coal and natural gas companies.
The allowances give businesses more time to make the transition and protect consumers from sudden rate hikes in energy costs.
The bill also sets aside a portion of the auction proceeds to subsidize energy bills for low and moderate income families.
According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, when the auction goes into full effect it could yield an average of about $100 billion a year. Democrats argue this will spur a new marketplace for clean energy technologies and generate new "green" jobs.
"Today we have chosen bold action to preserve good paying jobs here in America and preserve our planet," said Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts who cosponsored the bill with Waxman.
The legislation also includes a new requirement that energy suppliers generate a total of 20 percent of their energy from more energy-efficient sources by 2025.
Governors of states who are unable to meet this standard using renewable sources can petition for an additional 3 percent to be met through other energy-saving means.
Most House Republicans maintain that the bill amounts to a "national energy tax," arguing that as utility companies work to meet the new standards, they will pass on the costs of the new mandates to consumers.
Four Democrats on the committee - Rep. Mike Ross, of Arkansas, Rep. Jim Matheson, of Utah, Rep. Charlie Melancon, of Louisiana, and Rep. Jim Barrow, of Georgia - voted against the plan.
House Democratic leaders have pledged to have a vote on the House floor before the month-long congressional break in August. President Obama has called for Congress to send him an energy bill this year.
Insane. Watch the stock market plummet if this nonsense bill passes.
Alright everyone get ready for your taxes to sky rocket. You know its coming. If you deny it then you have half a brain. Quit drinking the kool aid. All this is going to do is raise EVERYONE taxes.
Point the windmills at the GOP and hook it to the grid, Enough hot air to power America for centuries. Problem what to do with the waste (like Cheney)? I know how about commentator for Fox News?
This will bankrupt the country and increase all of our utility bills by 90%. Are you libs really going to support a measure that will cost you this much? Are you that eager to have less money?
Can someone in the admistration coherently explain how this bill will "create millions of jobs"? Are they planning on offering people jobs to run on treadmills equipped with mini generators to produce "green" energy?
What BULL, why allow trading in pollutants, the rule should be that you lower emissions period.
Allow more oil drilling , but phase out green houuse gasses , allowing companies to comply withen a certain amount of time.
tax them into the ground
legalize pot and tax that
we can tax our way out of this recession and maybe pay off the Chinese and Japanese
One Republican, Rep Mary Bono Mack, of California, voted with the Democrats in favor of the bill.
As a Californian, I will be on your tail, Mack!!!!!!!!!!
Did you pay attention to the recent vote AGAINST everything YOU stand for? You better!
"One step" closer toward a goal uncountable miles away.
Mr. Barack Hussein Obama had better pray to Allah that the price of oil hits $100/barrel so that this green job fiasco can occur..... if not people will tell him where to stick his green plan...
Cap and trade..just another loony ideal to tax us even more. How many of you wish too see your utilitiy bills jump 75% or more just to feed the congress more of our money for their pet projects? I don't!
PLEASE there is no global warming, It is just obama heating up trying to take over our country. When he forces us all out of work with these global warming lies who is going to be supplying him with the tax dollars he loves to spend? George Soros?
Did mary bonehead mack vote with the demmies for a secret deal from obama to bailout CA?
It's time to end the dependecy on oil created by the greedy oil companies.
Obama and his energy tax is obscene. What on earth is this moron doing? What an Obomanation!!
Cap and trade doesn't work in Europe, and it will not work here. I am all for energy independence, but this is an extremely flawed approach.
these permits, or "carbon credits," will do nothing but more harm to the environment. It's merely a shuffling of pollution. Good job, libs, once again, screwing the country.
OF course the Republicans will vote against. They don't believe in climate change and still think earth is flat.
Cap and trade is one of the most ridiculous, anti-freedom measures imaginable. It is the last straw for me. I will not stand for cap and trade, and the credibility of the United States government will be completely lost on me. It is not a game I want to play.
"...create millions of new jobs all across America,"
After first destroying millions of others!
And much like healthcare the costs will be incredible.
Talk about a go-getter, this President is a busy man. The good thing about his work is that all is for the better of our Country and its peoples future. The GOP Administrations of the past are always looking for a way to screw over the American people. Our Country is crippled but the Democratic party is alive and well. Nothing better than a President for the people. :)
you got too be joking lets just raise the price of every thing with cap and trade.( what a bunch of morons) lets just ruin the country some more, screw the little people. like michel obama i am not proud of the way this country going, so lets lose more jobs over seas now companies not going too pay for this crap