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. Morgan

    If Carbon is so bad, make the emissions illegal. This is just a scam to fund the Universal Health Care bill. Except, if it passes and emissions are cut then revenues will go down; how will they fund Health Care then? By taxing your health benefits? What happens when all the companies offering health benefits put you on the government plan? The path to hell is laid with unintended consequences.

    The government should not be in the "business" of profiting off what amounts to the selling of indulgences.

    June 26, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. edp

    If I didn't know better, I'd say some members of the old Enron braintrust wrote this bill...Cap & Trade is a THEORY, not a practical application - unless you get government involve to create laws that will force the inefficiencies and allow for only a few to prosper.

    For all opposed to this bill, I hope you are also sending emails to your representatives in the House and Senate.

    June 26, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. renea

    Already criticism this is a shame people you dont even know if this will even be passed,Didnt the majority voted for change and the very ones that voted for him dont even have a positive mind. People say they want change but when its time to trust that change will happen you get scared and back off. Change takes time and effort PEOPLE! This president is only doing what he promise during his campaign, And I for 1 im glad that he is PRAY for him pleas or else just SHUT_UP.

    June 26, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. DC Insider

    This is such a poorly thought out bill. It will only cause arbitrage with our jobs to other countries. Before all of you Liberal Nazis start spouting your hate, you should read the bill! If you did, you would realize it will cause companies to offshore jobs to other countries or increase the tax burden on the Middle Class. READ before you SPEAK. Thank you.

    June 26, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. SB in SA

    You can kiss the state of West Virginia good bye. The vast majority of that state's economy is made from coal production..

    June 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Independent in Virginia

    This will, at most, cut global CO2 emissions 2% by 2050. Is that 2% worth losing jobs, spending $$ trillions of dollars, increased taxes (via energy costs) for a 2% total reduction.

    And 2% is being liberal folks. The 83% in US is a mask for the overall rate in reductions! I can't believe some don't get this...

    June 26, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. David S.

    I cant wait unitl I see all those people so supportive of Obama after they see just how much it is going to cost them when Obama completes his new society. They may not understand economics but when their utlitiy bills, fuel costs, food bills and just about everything else rise dramatically they will have no one else but themselves to blame for voting this socialist into office.

    June 26, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Craig- Easton, PA

    How touching that all of the Repubs are so worried about the huge deficit we are leaving their children and grandchildren, but they don't seem to care what kind of WORLD we'll be leaving them. Guess they can spend their savings taking vacations at the beach... in Pennsylvania.

    June 26, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Earl

    Contentious? Really? America has been held hostage to foriegn oil and American refineries for far to long. The cornerstones to a solid economy is energy, construction/production, education and a great constitution. We are so far behind in every catagory that the devastating toll has been so evident that not to act decisively would be rediculous. The excuses and rhetoric about why we should leave it the same is dead in the water. Only the dumbest and ignorant persons could think otherwise.

    June 26, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Carl

    New World Order.... enough said...

    June 26, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Matt

    Nuclear Energy is renewable but they won't allow that. This will just force energy companies to fail. Then Uhmbama will say they are too big to fail and take them over. But here is the kicker. The federal governement already controls the energy industry. It's why in every town across America you can only get electrcity from one company.

    June 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. J.S.

    THIS ONLY puts money in Al Gore's and his company, GIM, pockets. GIM is located in London–jobs for the British, not us Yaks Democrats best look twice before voting it in just to please Gore and Pelosi

    June 26, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. global cooling

    This is nothing more than another liberal power grab and tax increase. "Global Warming" has been disproven over and over. Stop listening to the rhetoric and look at the facts. The earth has actually been cooling for the last 11 years despite increased carbon dioxide. Look it up. The proponents of this myth will be remebered as the biggest charlatans and snake oil salesmen of our time.

    June 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Billy Ray Valentine, Philadelphia, PA

    Anyway you slice it, this bill will only add to the cost of energy without reducing any effects to the climate whatsoever. China and India will continue to contribute to global warming since they don't care about emissions and the US economy will continue to tank.

    June 26, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Illinoistom

    We are using the Spain model for climate change...18% unemployment there. The Canadian model for health care... ask a Canadian how great that is. Why does the US Congress suddenly want to adopt policies that have proven to be disaster in many countries? There now seems to be a national obsession with sabotaging the things that make us great: industry, individual liberty, and innovation.

    June 26, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Dick Hertz

    Please explain to me how with the cost of electricity, fuel, food , transportation, etc. increasing, that this will not cause the cost of everything else to increase? Who will pay for this? Not the industries the government tell us it is intending to pay this tax, but everyone who buys their products (and we all have to eat)!

    June 26, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. aware

    More lies! Just say "NO" America! This is just tax fraud and power grab. It will do zip for the environment/global warming! 😦

    June 26, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. cjsks


    "Climate" and "weather" are not synonomous... climate deals with all meteorlogical elements over an extended period of time in terms of averages and means, not just day-to-day or week-to-week activity. So the trends are much more gradual, patterned and predictable.

    Fact: Climate change is happening. One only needs to review the historical data. There is a strong, "more than likely" possibility that human activities are adding to the problem. We also know that carbon emissions are acidifying the worlds oceans, threathening the entire food chain.

    You should show a little more concern over the impact that we are having on our planet. After all, it's the only one we have.

    June 26, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    steve June 26th, 2009 12:29 pm ET

    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.

    Right on, Steve . . . well said!

    June 26, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    Hey all of you who think this bill is such a bad idea, raise your hand if you've actually READ the bill! Hmmmmm . . . not so many . . . go figure.

    June 26, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. nadine

    This is the beginning of the end for the manufacturing portion of the United States. We will all become dependent on the government, but.. who will be financing Medicare/Medicad, etc - the people in government. So.. when everyone is out of work, will Obama and the rest of Congress be able to financial support us, or will they be living outside of the US and watching us suffer for what they did. Time the people take back this country and elect non-politicians into office (meaning not ones that have been in politics their entire careers). The problem with getting into poltics is that the person has to be wealthy, which is not correct either. A regular person should be able to run and elected based off their values, not all the propaganda that is put in front of the public, but speaking from the heart.

    June 26, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Greg Pottstown Pa

    lets call this what it really is, a cap and TAX bill. This has nothing to do with helping the echo system, if enacted it would lower the temp by .5 of a degree over the next 50 years. All this will do is increase the cost of living and send more jobs over sees. I am a hunter and a fisher and spend most of my time out doors and I love the echo system.

    June 26, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The cap-and-trade program is a sham! It still allows corporations to pollute all they want. We need actual reductions in pollution, not redistribution to others!

    June 26, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Peter E

    By your argument if it's colder on March 4th than it was on February 20th in your town by even a degree, it completely disproves the 'theory' of seasons. Do you never take an umbrella with you to work when the weatherman predicts an 80% chance of a downpour in the afternoon?Please pick up a book, read, and learn the difference between weather and climate before you try to judge others on science.

    June 26, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Let's face it, the only way to reduce energy expenses in this country is to reduce total energy consumption! We already consume twice as much oil as we produce, AND the oil companies set their prices based on international market, not just the domestic, AND on top of it they even export oil overseas instead of selling it to us. So we can't beat the price down. We can only reduce our bill if we reduce use!

    June 26, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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