June 26th, 2009
11:38 AM ET
13 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. Paul Williamson

    The US ( and the rest of the world) must take dramatic action now to prevent climate disasters (drought, sea level rising, increased hurricanes, loss of America's midwest breadbasket (it will move to Canada), as well as the high cost of imported oil- the cost of these impacts on our economy and standard of living is easily 10 times the cost of a potential increase in utility bills-our utility and gas bills will go DOWN, not up, in the next ten years if we make the necessary investments in wind, solar and nuclear and US natural gas. Do we really want to pay $400/barrel for oil to Iran , Iraq and Saudia Arabia in 2025 (our oil will be gone by then).But then, many people can only see ahead a few weeks at a time...

    June 26, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. JackT

    Here it comes. The first pain from the CNN/MSNBC elected administration.

    Get used to paying more for everything people.

    June 26, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. indyphil

    This is a huge money maker for wichever fossil fuel company can figure out how to make the same amount of power with less carbon. I'm guessing it will be one of the oil companies who have already bought up the pattents for the winning idea.

    As for a jobs bill, somebody has to set up and run the trading market for the carbon stocks. Let alone all the servers cisco will have to sell to them etc.

    America you can either be out in front with the technology and already existing manufacturing base thats looking for a new market to exploit, or you can be left in the dust and buy your solar pannels and wind turbines from China and Mexico just like your cars. Its your choice.

    June 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Dee

    What they are doing is repeating what Hannity and Rush tell them. They are like parrots when it comes to repeating Rush. The only one benefiting is Rush and his cronies. They do not have an idea what they are saying, the dittoheads turn on the radio like robots and listen to Rush as if he is an expert, and repeat everything he says, making him rich while they eat cake.

    June 26, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. LIZ

    This is only money for the DNC and especially Al Gore and his company GIM–Duh, God controls the climate

    June 26, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Dumbest bill ever proposed. This will cost us jobs, money, quality of living, etc., etc., etc....

    No one is for ruining the environment but the case that humans are destroying the environment or the planet is vastly overrated. We aren't doing close to the damage these people are claiming.

    Gore goes around constantly telling us how great of a calamity we are facing if we don't fix it with this cap and trade crap and yet he still lives in a monstrous mansion and still has a carbon footpring the size of a small city. If it was such a crisis, wouldn't he be doing his part, too?

    What a bunch of misguided hypocrites leading a bunch of misguided ignorant fools.

    June 26, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Scott of Utah

    JP, its called data analysis, TRENDS, and statistics using math. Sure sometimes predictions for next week are off, but it is actually much easier to predict the future climate in a broader more general scope of years from now than it is for next wednesday.

    Don't worry, we don't expect you to understand. The drill baby drill crowd are not able to think outside the box created by their GOP lawmakers who are owned by the oil companies who only care about $$$$.

    June 26, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. JoeCool

    Spain tried this and it resulted in 18% unemployment. So maybe we should give it a go. Green doesn't work. Thanks Obama.

    June 26, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
1 2 3