U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, an Appleton Democrat, helps House of Representatives pass clean energy bill
Kagen backs plan, citing new jobs for Wisconsin
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House passed legislation Friday that calls for the nation’s first limits on pollution linked to global warming and aims to usher in a new era of cleaner energy.
The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs.
Among those voting for the measure was Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton.
“This bill will encourage private sector investments in clean energy to create new jobs in northeast Wisconsin while supporting the industries that have been part of our way of life,” Kagen said in a release.
At the White House, President Barack Obama said the bill would create jobs, and added that with its vote, the House had put America on a path toward leading the way toward “creating a 21st century global economy.”
The measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “hopeful that the Senate will be able to debate and pass bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this fall.”
Obama lobbied recalcitrant Democrats by phone from the White House as the House debate unfolded across several hours.
On the House floor, Democrats hailed the legislation as historic, while Republicans said it would damage the economy without solving energy woes.
The legislation would require the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by about 80 percent by mid-century. That was slightly more aggressive than Obama wanted, 14 percent by 2020 and the same 80 percent by mid-century.