June 26th, 2009
11:38 AM ET
9 years ago

House debates politically contentious energy overhaul bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A sharply divided House of Representatives debated passage of a White House-backed climate change bill Friday as Democratic leaders made a final push among members worried about the legislation's potential economic and political fallout.

"We're getting there," House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, told CNN. "We're on the eight (yard line). First and goal."

The bill would reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a so-called "cap-and-trade" program under which companies would buy and sell emissions credits.

Among other things, the bill would also require utilities to generate an increasing amount of power from renewable sources.

The potential House vote is slated to come one day after President Barack Obama made an urgent plea for congressional approval in what could be an early make-or-break test of his young administration.

"Now is the time for us to lead," Obama said during an appearance Thursday in the White House Rose Garden. "We cannot be afraid of the future. We cannot be prisoners to the past."

The president said the bill will spark a "clean energy transformation" of the U.S. economy and "make possible the creation of millions of new jobs."

"Make no mistake," he emphasized. "This is a jobs bill."

Republicans have argued that the bill would have the unintended consequence of devastating the country's battered industrial base while pushing polluting industries to countries with lower environmental standards.

Even if the bill passes the House, it faces an unclear future in the Senate, where Democratic leaders have held off on introducing their own version of the legislation.

–CNN's Evan Glass contributed to this report

Filed under: Environmental policy • James Clyburn
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Bludney Plud

    I have listened to some of the Repulican arguements against this bill, and they come across as either shills for the oil companies or Chambers of Commerce lackies with selfish motives. I almost believe that when the time comes for us to hang, in the environmental sense, that it is politicians such as these that will have sold us the rope.

    June 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. mjm

    This is a jobs bill for China...not the US.

    You cannot increase the cost of doing business in the US and expect industry to stay.

    June 26, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Jason

    This has nothing to do with saving the planet. This is a stupid plan. Of all the things we need to do passing a huge "TAX" burden on to the american people and industry at this time is idiotic. Not saying we don't need to make changes and cleaner energy is important but this plan demands we suffer for it. If this is what all for change people want along with healthcare and forever regulation and bailouts this is a quick way to increase more debt on the country and its citizens. The amount of funding burden being passed down is going to be a net increase to everyone who pays taxes and even those who never have.

    June 26, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Torch

    What kills me the most is that the Dems really think they can control the climate. I mean they are so arrogant that they think they can outsmart Mother Nature.

    This gawd awful peice of legislation will not save the planet, the climate or anything. It's nothing more so that Liberals can feel good about themselves with their new religion....Climate Change.....formerly known as Global Warming......see, they've even PC'd their own term.

    Meanwhile, all we get is higher energy costs.

    Godspeed 2010 so we can get these communists out of our govt.

    June 26, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Disaster in the making.

    June 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Theresa

    This is the "Cap and Trade" =Cap and Tax bill that will be the largest tax hike on Americans. Everything we buy will have new taxes build into it. In addition, our electric bills will eventually double. It is another governmental tax scheme that is being past off as an energy bill. Many of those that vote for this beastly tax will be voted out of office

    June 26, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Deborah/Kansas City

    Come on Democrats do what we elected you to do. Clean Energy and Enviornment; Healthcare Reform; Education Reform; Economic balance to stop the middle class from bearing all the finacial hardship. This is your chance to live up to why we elected you.

    June 26, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Ken


    This has to stop.

    If this was two years ago, or five years in the future, it might be the right thing at the right time.

    In a less sensitive financial time, this could be ok to do. But, when tackling massive deficits, housing crisis, business failures, record layoffs, government buyout of Auto companies, control of banks and other financial institutions – our financial liabilities are WAY TOO HIGH already.

    And, the companies who are hit by cap and trade taxes will either pass the taxes on to me/us, or, go out of business entirely.

    Or, is that Pelosi's plan? Since she and others in congress (and out) have invested in NEW ENERGY stocks, they stand to profit greatly at the expense of the lower class.

    June 26, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. landshark

    Pass the bill already. I have my fuel efficient car, and more importantly, I have lots holdings in natural gas and gold to offset the effect of higher utilities and a declining dollar. Sucks for the rest of you, but not for me!!!

    You can still profit from cap and trade. Buy UNG, GLD, and short the electrical utilities, coal producers, and large domestic manufacturers. You will cash in on both sides of the trade.

    June 26, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Your daddy

    Bet Warren Buffett is gonna regret buying all that BSNF now. With cap and trade, coal is gonna plummet and so will BSNF and the coal producers.

    June 26, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. GI Joe


    No foreign resolutions to put thru for the Republicans today?

    No more mourning a pop star?

    Give them a vacation. They are obviously not doing what they want any longer (unless the republicans just want to obstruct more).

    June 26, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Randolph Carter

    I've got an awesome energy idea: Get a wind turbine to generate electricity. Use that electricity to power a big fan in front of the wind generator. The breeze from the fan would turn the wind turbine, generating more electricity. No fossil fuels involved. Whaddaya think? I may have just saved the planet. Have a nice day!

    June 26, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. steve

    My advice to Democrats in general;
    Stop going on national Tv and anounce that you don't have the vote.
    It makes you all look like defeatist. The last time I checked you are the majority and the GOP is the miserable minority.
    Work with the president to move his agenda forward and ignore the party of No.

    June 26, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. darko

    Energy reform IS needed. Yet this is not the solution... maybe for Gore's lockbox, but not for the american people.

    June 26, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Blue

    We need for this bill to pass.

    June 26, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Enlightened Voter

    Fortunately the rethugs won't be there to vote NO since they aren't interested in anything to do with the environment.

    June 26, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Laura, Boston MA

    I hope jobs are created and not lost due to companies who do not want the expense of being required to generate an increasing amount of power from renewable sources to go elsewhere.

    I also hope that the companies that stay and try to conform to the standards required do not raise the prices of the goods and services that they produce onto us the consumer!

    After all my $13 stimulus in my paycheck can only stretch so far! How about you all?

    June 26, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Bingo

    Yes, this is a jobs bill - to export jobs to other nations who will not follow the cost prohibitive cap and trade practices of this bill and will therefore be able to build and sell goods at competitive prices. This bill will destroy not only the US manufacturing industry but also our labor market (no manufacturing, no labor) and, ultimately, our economy. This will change the United States into a Third World country.

    June 26, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. DJ

    Bad, bad idea ...

    June 26, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. skyhawkdriver

    This IS NOT a jobs bill..the government DOES NOT create jobs..people create jobs by taking risks and investing their money and blood and sweat..the federal government diminishes this by raising taxes and creating beauracries to interfere with small buisness..the more government and the higher the taxes the less small buisnesses will hire..as the former owner of a small buisness I am sick and tired of government talking about job creation..they know nothing of the sort.stay out of our lives mr obama..stop talking about something you know nothing about

    June 26, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Slider

    Campaign promise: "No tax increases for households earning $250,000 or less.

    Reality: The first, in a long series of taxes that will jack up the cost of living.

    Epilogue: Democrats and Independents may now file this promise with the transparency and "signing no bill until the public views it for five days" promises.

    Thank the Democrat putz for giving you this government.

    June 26, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Linda, CA

    No to cap & trade! No to an extra $1500 a year in my utility bill! NO to any representative that votes for it!

    June 26, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. rodlang

    This bill will do nothing to "save" the environment and will cause a massive increase in energy costs that affect low and moderate income people. It is so bad that Australia has now ditched their own cap and trade program. This is an awful bill.

    June 26, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    What do you expect when the President has past involvement with one of the companies that will benefit most from cap and trade? Obama's no different than Bush/Cheney and all their oil and Halliburton buds. He sucks up to ACORN and special interests with the best of them. Absolutely disgusting!

    June 26, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. SPJ

    SAY NO to your elected officials. Another money making scheme at the tax payers expense.

    June 26, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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