June 26th, 2009
07:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Polarized House narrowly approves energy overhaul bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A sharply divided House of Representatives narrowly passed a White House-backed climate change bill Friday after hours of cajoling and arm-twisting by Democratic leaders among members worried about the legislation's potential economic and political fallout.

The bill passed 219-212, with virtually no Republican support.

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 House vote came 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."

Several moderate and conservative Democrats indicated that they received heavy constituent pressure in the final hours to buck their party leadership and vote against the bill.

"I can't begin to tell you how many calls we've received," said Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas. "And it's disproportionately vote 'no.'"

The congressman, who voted "yes," believes special interest groups generated many of the calls on both sides, including the late surge of negative feedback.

However, Gonzalez also said, Obama tried to counter much of that pressure by personally reaching out to swing members since Thursday night.

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.

Having cleared the House, the bill now faces an unclear future in the Senate, where Democratic leaders have held off on introducing their own version of the legislation.

–CNN's Lisa Desjardins and Evan Glass contributed to this report

Filed under: House
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. annie s

    Well done House of Representatives! Today, you voted for the future instead of corporate profits. Now I hope the Senate will seal the deal.

    June 26, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. steve raymond

    "This is what the world has been waiting for."
    Obams '08

    and this country will get exactly what it voted for............

    by the way......has anyone seen anything about Iraq in the news as of late..........me either............I just dont know why that is

    June 26, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Sammy

    I dont comment on CNN ticker much anymore because of the hatred from posters all sides, but it is quite interesting to see the 180 from when the republicans controlled everything.

    June 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. q taxpayer

    Biggest tax increase in world history passed by Democrat House – not one story on CNN front page.

    Tax to hit poor and middle class the most.

    June 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. That One Guy

    Taxes are going to go sky high under this moron. He is worse then Bush.

    June 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. dan

    i wish congress would read their bills before voting on them.

    June 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Lesley

    As a voter I don't care about political fallout. Pass legislation because it's the right thing to do, or vote against it because you don't think it's good policy, but don't kowtow to political pressure from special lnterest groups. That's what eroded this country to the state it's in now.

    June 26, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown

    "With virtually no Republican support"... Yup, way to go GOP...Way to lose the next election you bums!

    June 26, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. lila

    Good for the democrats! They showed a spine. It's about time. It gives me great hope for real health care reform.

    June 26, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. dinah

    Thank you President Obama for pushing ahead on this and so many important and overlooked issues. How good it feels to be moving on and out of the stagnation of the past.

    June 26, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Tom

    8 Republicans voted YES for this bill

    June 26, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. Bill

    This will only serve to make the US even less competitive in the global economy while doing nothing to lessen the effects of global warming.

    June 26, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. RealityKing

    Remember the 10's of thousands of eldery that died in energy effecient state run healthcare units in Europe a few years back? Thats exactly what this bill will mean for America's future retiries. .

    June 26, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Jon in CA

    The SINGLE biggest tax increase in American history.... and House democrats refused to give all representatives time to actually READ the bill!!!


    A country founded by men wishing to be freed from overbearing taxation DIES from taxation.

    Goodbye Sweet America

    June 26, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Alan

    I cannot believe that this is what our country has come to. So much for a little thing called "liberty".


    Well one good thing is that Chavez is proud I'm sure!!!!

    June 26, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. marcus

    this nation has been flushing itself down the toilet for years.. things that needed to be fixed, stalled forever by lobbying interests in d.c... you're watching the roman empire in its last days.. mired in stupidity and preoccupation with the lowest elements of society.. a nation with amazing potential, dying a slow, embarassing death...

    June 26, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. Good Luck to Them

    Why are they stuffing this stupid bill down the throats of citizens? It is nothing more than a HUGE tax increase and a power-grab. Typical democrats.....tax, tax, tax. Let the 3rd generation pay for it.

    Thank you for even more spending than Bush accomplished Mr. President. You have an even greater deficit. But i guess your followers will still chant the line "It's Bush's fault you had to do it". Loser.

    June 26, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. Zack

    Correction to CNN: You said that "The bill passed 219-212, with virtually no Republican support." The is WRONG, 8 Republicans voted for it. YOu are not being fair and it is misleading. CHANGE IT.

    June 26, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Straightener

    Sweet... Our representatives voted yes for a bill that has no specifics and will raise our taxes. How is that going to save our environment? Guess we have to wait and see.

    June 26, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Bad move.......

    everyone will now pay more for power......at a time when consumers are strapped.......this is an "economy killer" which will ultimately lead to higher unemployment and Obama being ousted in 2012.

    June 26, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    Good job, even though the bill is too weak. But at least it's a start.
    It's hard to overcome the tons of money given by the special oil, gas, coal and nuclear interests. To those brave Congressmen who voted for our children and grandchildren's futures, you have displayed profiles in courage against the right wing echo chamber and their moneyed interests.

    June 26, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. I am Newt's ex wife

    ANDDDDDDDD!!!....once again the Party of NO! speaks out with no answer.

    Do you really think that the American people would swallow the GOP being "concerned about consequences"? I don't think so.

    They ought to put the House GOP on a plane to Argentina to come up with more GOP values.

    GOP hypocrites...why don't you get something done.

    My own local US rep is a GOP and her thoughts are always"Stop the Dems".....what kind of idiocy is that. She voted with Bush 98% of the time. God Help us!!

    I'm sorry all those bubba pickup and suvs need to be out of here. Of course if you don't want to buy a car that is good for the climate, you can always stay home with your guns

    June 26, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. Reinstate Darwinism

    Dear god no! FYI: WEATHER CHANGES. The European, American and Chinese industrial revolution did not CAUSE THE ICE AGES. The world and the weather on it CHANGES, drastically and often. You can't site the proof of that change as us being the cause , especially when you are going to tax me and my employer into oblivion for your "Redistribution" of funds to whomever you wish. No matter what justifcation you use for yourself. IT IS WRONG!

    June 26, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  24. Ennis, LA

    Eight Republicans voted for this bill that will kill many jobs and
    cause gasoline and home-heating prices to soar! They are in risk
    of losing their seats for defying their party's leaders. Mary Bono
    of California will be target No. 1.

    June 26, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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