The House passed the Markey-Waxman bill yesterday by a narrow margin, with the bill prevailing by a 219-212 vote, with eight Republicans voting to support the measure, and 44 Democrats voting against. It was a tough political slog to get this bill through the House, with plenty of dealmaking to achieve the victory. The Wall Street Journal gives a short bill description. I have attached the full bill below.
The draft bill, sponsored by Democrats Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, aims to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 83% compared to 2005 levels by 2050. That’s the same target President Obama has, but the House bill sets more aggressive short-term targets, such as a 20% reduction by 2020 and a 42% cut by 2030.
The cap-and-trade bill would cover about 85% of the U.S. economy, requiring businesses like power companies and steel mills to get permits to cover their emissions. After 2020, that net could get wider: The bill would allow the president to make even smaller industrial operations subject to the cap. But the bits of the economy left outside the cap—companies emitting fewer than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases—aren’t off the hook. The bill will require emissions reductions in other ways, such as through direct regulation by the EPA.
House Republicans blasted the bill, citing costs and potential job losses to countries without climate regulation. From the Washington Post:
House conservatives blasted the more than 1,300-page bill, saying it would add crushing costs to energy and ship millions of jobs to countries such as China that do not have climate regulations. They also said there was a lack of clarity in the bill’s provision to create carbon offsets, certificates in which companies in the United States and overseas could claim credit for avoiding emissions or taking them out of the air.
“In the midst of the worst recession in a generation, this administration and this majority in Congress are prepared to pass a national energy tax,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.).
President Obama used his weekly address to talk about the bill, which will face some difficult sledding in the Senate. And Al Gore issued a statement as well:
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Leadership of the House, and Chairmen Waxman and Markey have, through their leadership, secured an important bipartisan victory for the American people.
The American Clean Energy Security (ACES) Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress will ever pass. This comprehensive legislation will make meaningful reductions in global warming pollution, spur investment in clean energy technology, create jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
The next step is passage of this legislation by the Senate to help restore America’s leadership in the world and begin, at long last, to put in place a truly global solution to the climate crisis.
We are at an extraordinary moment, with an historic opportunity to confront one of the world’s most serious challenges. Our actions now will be remembered by this generation and all those to follow – in our own nation and others around the world.”