June 27th, 2009
10:17 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama says energy legislation a 'jobs bill'

(CNN) - President Obama used his weekly radio and video address Saturday to praise an energy overhaul bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives.

"Make no mistake: this is a jobs bill," Obama said in the address. "We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act."

Obama also said the legislation would wean America's dependence on foreign oil and cut down on pollution.

"This legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy," he said. "That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries."

The bill, which passed 219-212 with little Republican support Friday evening, aims to 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.

In his own video address Saturday, House Minority leader John Boehner argued 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.

Full text of Obama address after the jump

Prepared Remarks of President Barack ObamaWeekly Address

The White House

June 27, 2009

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a historic piece of legislation that will open the door to a clean energy economy and a better future for America.

For more than three decades, we have talked about our dependence on foreign oil. And for more than three decades, we have seen that dependence grow. We have seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security. We have seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet. And most of all, we have seen other countries realize a critical truth: the nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.

Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too. Now is the time for us to lead.

The energy bill that passed the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy – everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.

Make no mistake: this is a jobs bill. We’re already seeing why this is true in the clean energy investments we’re making through the Recovery Act. In California, 3000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1000 permanent jobs. In Michigan, investment in wind turbines and wind technology is expected to create over 2,600 jobs. In Florida, three new solar projects are expected to employ 1400 people.

The list goes on and on, but the point is this: this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries. And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession. Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation.

This legislation has also been written carefully to address the concerns that many have expressed in the past. Instead of increasing the deficit, it is paid for by the polluters who currently emit dangerous carbon emissions. It provides assistance to businesses and families as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies. It gives rural communities and farmers the opportunity to participate in climate solutions and generate new income. And above all, it will protect consumers from the costs of this transition, so that in a decade, the price to the average American will be just about a postage stamp a day.

Because this legislation is so balanced and sensible, it has already attracted a remarkable coalition of consumer and environmental groups; labor and business leaders; Democrats and Republicans. And I want to thank every Member of Congress who put politics aside to support this bill on Friday.

Now my call to every Senator, as well as to every American, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth. It’s just not true.

We have been talking about energy for decades. But there is no longer a disagreement over whether our dependence on foreign oil is endangering our security. It is. There is no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It’s happening. And there is no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy. The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America. And I believe that the American people and the men and women they sent to Congress share that view. So I want to congratulate the House for passing this bill, and I want to urge the Senate to take this opportunity to come together and meet our obligations – to our constituents, to our children, to God’s creation, and to future generations.

Thanks for listening.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    This is a job destroyer along with raising the cost of EVERYTHING taxpayers use – 95% increase in heating your home this winter. Most of us cannot afford that. So when we freeze to death this winter what will the government do for our tax dollars? This is the biggest tax increase in the history of the UNITED STATES.

    June 27, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. annie against biased news

    Foreign countries are already offerig tax breaks for industry moving to their countries.

    June 27, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. raagos


    June 27, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. pat c

    until we americans realize that we MUST grow as a nation and look forward to better living standards we will go backwards as a leader to other nations. president obama has the right vision but it is up to we the voters to support him on the growth of better standards and cleaner work for our children and grandchildren. i would much rather see my son work in a plant that builds wind tunnels than in a dirty coal mine any day. the blue collar worker in america should hail our chief for this task he is undertaking. please don't listen to the limbaughs out there that think we can continue living in the past and let the white collar jobs rule our lives.

    June 27, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. girlymen love the GOP

    Thank you sir,a job well done.And to hear the republicans crying ,wailing and moaning about it really makes my day.hahaha

    June 27, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    The time for saying "We can't do this because we don't want to pay up" is over. Global warming is real and we MUST do something about it. This is a start. No more denying it, and no more saying "It's God's will if the earth is destroyed."

    June 27, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    Dera Democrats,

    Just because the GOP is offering nothing to help does not automatically translste into votes for you. You must act like you deserve the power you have been given. On healthcare and enegy you have a chance. Do something.

    June 27, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Roscot

    The president needs to address "green" energy in an entirely more emphatic way than what he has done so far. We need development of fuel cell technology and petroleum production, and importation of petroleum needs to be cut by two thirds of what this country uses now. Then, we ill see improvement with jobs, environmental issues, etc. The president is expending entirely nowhere near the rhetoric he needs to on these issues of less oil and more technology development.

    June 27, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |



    GO OBAMA!!

    June 27, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Stuffit

    "This legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy," he said. "That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries."

    The only way legislation makes clean energy "profitable" energy is by penalizing the current forms. Science and R&D will determine whether the new "clean" energies are profitable or not. Does anyone remember government meddling in corn-based ethanol? It was going to be a clean form of energy that legislation was going to solve. Then reality came knocking and folks found out that you need to expend more energy in the production of the stuff than it would generate.

    What did that legislation do? It had farmers that wanted to get on the gov't gravy train dedicating more of their crop toward ethanol and less toward food. In the end, feed prices went up and had a ripple effect on beef etc. as well as making corn on the cob more expensive at your grocer.

    Don't get me wrong, analogous programs in the past have accelerated our technological advantage, so this may not be all bad (the space program and that wonderful stuff WD-40 come to mind).
    But wouldn't it have been more prudent to provide incentive for the creation of new forms of energy without putting our businesses at a handicap by taxing the hell out of their current sources.

    Just sayin' ...

    June 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Roscot

    This president is completely RHETORIC and no fire, so he needs to capitalize on RHETORIC as to get others to do the job. Instead he is making condolence phone calls to the country about Jacko...what showmen both of these guys are and were!!!!

    June 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. lynn in NM

    Jobs bill??? Whatever!!! Any old lie will do.

    June 27, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Sarah

    This is something that should have been started back in the 1970s and we wouldnt be in this mess we are in at present. There has to be a generation that takes the initiative and sacrifices for future generations. This country has turned into a country of "what's in it for me". Time to GIVE instead of TAKE.

    June 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. B.H.

    Glad to see we are finally doing something positive concerning the climate!

    Go Obama!

    June 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Jason

    People commenting in this forum should look at the vote count. Democrats also voted against the bill. It is not just republicans that voted against. Wait till everyone pays much higher energy bills every month, I want to see if the supporters still cheer the bill or start whining about the high cost and blame it on Bush.

    June 27, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. a REAL American

    If this is a jobs bill then I'm Jesus Christ!

    June 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. annie against biased news

    To evolve – lets see how you evolve when you are living under a bridge with nothing to eat unless you get lucky and catch a rat!

    June 27, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    It is funny how the temperatures have not risen in 10 years and the Antartic has one area of ice sheet melting but the other areas of ice sheet are growin at a n even faster rate. Also how 10,000 polar bears is now 25,000 polar bears. This is a scam to help green companies and other democratic party special interest to make more money from the taxpayers and industry. Did you know the democrats voted no against all the amendments that would have stopped cap and trade in the event our economy was hurt such as your electric bill doubling, gas prices reach $5.00.00 and unemployement rose higher from job losses. Yes, people will lose jobs and green energy which is not reliable since it is dependent on mother nature to be always sunny and the wind to always blow. We need to drill n America, build more nuclear plants. Companies are going to move overseas where they will not have to pay the carbon tax.

    June 27, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Claudia in Houson

    Boehner is an idiot and his only solution is to stay the course which means continue polluting. Republicans talk about our childrens future with no innovative plans for the planet in which they will live, it's not just about industry, it's about pollution that is destroying our planet. What an idiot, can't wait for John McCain and Sarah Palin to get on board with this idiot.

    June 27, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. katiec

    Am proud to see our country take positive steps to help combat global warming and our ennvironment. As a nation and as one of the worse polluters we need to let the rest of the country know we are serious about not destroying our earth.
    Why does anyone believe what the republicans say? They are doomsday and very destructive people. Why are they even catered to?
    With their rating in the gutter there is no need to listen to their obstruction, unworkable ideas (when they have any).
    Now on with the health care reform and public option,

    June 27, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Esme

    Bravo President Obama!

    June 27, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Ted

    The party of NO continues its saying NO to anything and everything. They scream and wail about no bipartisanship, but do nothing about it. They need to get a grip and start caring about the American people.

    June 27, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. jennifer

    Just because, Obama can make a bill sound good, doesn't mean it is good. But how can we form a opinion, when the Democrats do NOT give anyone time to study and READ the bill! The media will not report in detail, if at all, on the bill! People please understand, a small group of the Democrats are writing these bills and shutting out all Republicans and moderate Democrats. Is this really how you want things done in Washington?

    June 27, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Donny

    Taxing energy sounds like a great idea! All businesses use energy, so their costs will go up. This will drive more companies to either raise prices or produce products elsewhere. Just one more step in the long line of decisions that is turning this country into one that will produce nothing. I also can't wait to find out the details of all the adders passed in the middle of the night. Also, the fact that people say that the debate is over about CO2 increasing Global Temperatures is completely false. Please tell me where this has been 100% proven? They tell you what temperature the Earth will be 20 years from now, but can't tell you what it will be tomorrow with any accuracy. Go figure.

    June 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. JOHN

    oK; Now we have heard the good things that this bill will or should do for us. It siunds good. But now we should continue discussing this and make sure there are no hidden pitfalls with this. I did notice that a big selling point for this was the jobs gained by this legislation. Did anyone ask how many jobs would be lost in other industries because of this. Bet you that the loss of jobs will be much bigger. Bottom line will be lost jobs and higher energy costs. I am not saying dont do it. Just discuss it further. We cannot solve all the problems that generations have caused in six months. Why the hurry?

    June 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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