House Passes Climate Bill Despite Heated Debate

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A Republican alternative to an energy bill that could radically change how America is powered was narrowly defeated in the House, Friday.

Only seven votes separated lawmakers against the GOP's proposal, which countered President Barack Obama's plan for a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gases.

The climate bill is meant to free the country from dependence on foreign oil, but Republicans were bitterly opposed to the legislation.  Arriving at the 219-212 vote didn't come before a long, heated debate on Capitol Hill.

With this bill, Congress moves for the first time to cap greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to slow global warming.

Yet, in a furious three-hour floor debate, Friday, Democrats and Republicans couldn't even agree whether there is global warming.

"Scientists all over this world say the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community," said Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia.  "It is a hoax."

In response Rep. Mike Quiqley, D-Ill., defended his stance on global warming.

"Someone asked me 'How can you vote for this measure, because global warming is a hoax?' My answer was, 'It's very simple. I remove the blinders there,'" he said.

The Congressional Budget Office figures the bill will cost the average household $175 a year, but Republicans say it'll be much higher.

"A new national energy tax costing every American family d to three-thousand dollars a year," said Texa Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

Democrats disagree.

"Forty percent of American households will face almost no cost as a result of this bill," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas fired back.

Republicans and Democrats also make exactly opposite claims about what the bill will do to American jobs.

"There is no debate that this cap and trade legislation will cost millions of American jobs,"claimed Republican Mike Pence.

"We have to claim the one point seven million jobs that this bill will create," Jackson Lee answered.

Some claim it will create a prosperous, green, clean economy while others say that it will be a disaster.

"We're going to make good on the promise to future generations of Americans and break our dependence on foreign oil and create the clean energy jobs that will revitalize America's economy in the coming century," said Rep. Kathy Castor.

"It is the economic disaster bill for the United States of America if it were to pass," GOP Rep. Joe Barton charged.

This bill has been a top priority of President Obama's, who on Friday pronounced himself pleased with the House.

"I'm very proud of the progress that's being made," he said.

The bill faces a tougher battle in the Senate where virtually all Republicans and many Democrats have serious doubts about it.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.