June 27th, 2009
10:17 AM ET
11 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. Avid Reader

    A jobs bill!! A jobs-loss bill!

    June 27, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Tom

    Not a single poster on this story (neither people who have already posted, or who will post) has any idea at all what this bill will or will not do. *I* do not know. All we know is what the people in power have told us, with their own special spin on it. So stop saying what this bill is or is not, or either that go read it for yourselves in its entirety and then come back and tell us something based on actual fact.

    June 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Polly from L A

    " The question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? I want that answer to be the United States of America."
    No ,we can't.
    Did somebody forgot to tell the president that WE don't have any money left to create anything.
    WE will be paying TAXES on his IDEAS.
    Somebody forgot to tell him that
    FIRST- you PLAN
    SECOND – you budget
    And THIRD -you DO IT,
    not another way around,like HE tries to do.

    June 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. jmg

    Environmental legislation means nothing if the Chinese and Indians are not on board. All this bill does is make it more costly to manufacture products in the US, and American companies will flock to countires with lower environmental standards. Hopefully Ben Nelson, Specter or some other moderate will allow the Republicans to kill this in the Senate. Obama is an enlightended idiot.And I thought he would govern from the middle. Never voting Democrat again.

    June 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. ck

    In a very sad way, I am glad this passed. It means the majority of people will feel the devastating effects of Obama and Democrats mindless leadership.

    This should ensure BO is a one term president, at most.

    Thanks Dems!

    June 27, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Just Say No to Socialism

    A jobs bill just like we had to pass the spending bill or unemployment would go over 8%? Well its over 9% and screaming towards 10%. This is just another tax bill and redistribution of income.

    June 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. AD

    Half of these comments are coming from corporate shills (which, in theory, most of us are since we are a nation of corporations). Note that this will hurt the corporation. Let them suffer a little! This will give us, the regular guy, a shot at starting our OWN businesses and setting it up right. Why can't I be the next Henry Ford? Why can't you be the next JP Morgan? Please, people, start thinking positively about these changes. Let these corporations move to third world countries, and make sure their CEO's go with them! This is what I want, because as they bail, we will rise up and fill the vacuum. THEN, we can truly start building the American Dream again.

    June 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. lil

    When will we learn that these republican care nothing about us the American people all the care about is saying no and trying to stop any program or progress that President Obama is trying to make in turning OUR country around. If this was a bad bill they would have voted for it just for the pleasure of saying I told you so if it failed.

    June 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. A real American

    I think I missed the picture of Michelle Obama hanging out her clothes! And I also misssed the picture of Osama driving a smart car! Isn't the President and first Lady supposed to lead the way? Shouldn't the white house and Capitol shut off the heat and air conditioning so we can save money there!

    I hope the government doesn't run out of money anytime soon because I can see a lot of people needing welfare!

    June 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. paul

    JOBS? Isn't this the same man who said 780 BILLION dollars would bring jobs as well but unemployment went up an additional 1-2%?

    I am tired of Barack Obama making these promises/assertions/proclamations as if her has a crystal ball and can see into the future. Because if he does have one he better return it because it clearly is looking at the wrong future.

    I am a proud democrat who voted not for Barack Obama but for John McCain. I will always hold true the values and beliefs of the democratic party. But this party has turned into something beyond what I imagined with all the spending and PARTISANship fighting. Look at NY, we can't even get our senate to do anything because the Democrats can't stand the fact that they lost, whether legally or whatever!

    June 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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