- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 28, 2009

President Obama, handed a crucial victory Friday night with the House of Representatives’ approval of a sweeping climate-change bill, urged the Senate on Saturday to disregard “misinformation” and pass the legislation.

“Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth,” the president said in his weekly Saturday address. “It’s just not true.

“We cannot be afraid of the future,” he said. “And we must not be prisoners of the past.”

The bill, which passed the House by a 219-212 vote, would take effect in 2012. It is intended to reduce carbon-dioxide pollution, require increased usage of renewable energy and require that consumer products be more energy efficient.

The climate-change debate now shifts to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wants to bring a bill to the floor by mid-September.

In the House, 44 Democrats voted against the legislation. The bill also faces opposition in the Senate on both sides of the aisle from lawmakers concerned about the economic impact of cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and the costs of renewable energy.

Mr. Obama on Saturday congratulated the House members who backed the bill and described the proposal as good for the economy.

“Make no mistake: This is a jobs bill. … In California, 3,000 people will be employed to build a new solar plant that will create 1,000 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 1,400 people,” the president said.

“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,” Mr. Obama said.

Throughout the debate last week, Republican lawmakers said the massive bill - about 1,200 pages - was rushed and slapped together, and that lawmakers had little time to read portions of the proposal. Taking hits at the House speaker, a California Democrat, they derided the proposal as “Nancy Pelosi’s national energy tax.”

On Saturday, Mr. Obama said the bill had 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. … 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,” the president said.

The Congressional Budget Office and Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the legislation would cost households $80 to $340 more a year on energy. That was far less than the $3,000 or more per year cited by opponents such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican.

“The jobs will go to China, and the economy will go to hell,” Mr. Rohrabacher said.

c Edward Felker contributed to this report.



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