The American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Waxman-Markey bill) narrowly passed in the House late Friday thanks to eight bold Republicans who hopped the fence. And one of them is Washington state’s very own Dave Reichert of the 8th District (which includes Mercer Island, Bellevue, and surrounding areas).

Some 44 House Democrats, mostly from coal-producing and industrial states, broke party lines by voting “no” on the bill that promises renewable electricity standards, emissions caps, investments in energy technology, and more. That means those eight Republicans who gave a “yay” rather than a “nay” produced the simple majority vote (plus one bonus vote!) that catapulted ACES to the Senate floor.

Why did Reichert decide to break from the Republican pack and support the bill? He remained tight-lipped about the decision until the votes were counted, and then released this statement:

Energy independence and our national security are critical issues for America. These issues transcend politics. The future of this country is on the line and we can spare no effort when it comes to leading on these issues at a global level.

This bill is not perfect, but it is a vital step toward energy independence. America cannot maintain global leadership without innovation and new ideas, and we cannot lead if we increasingly depend on foreign nations to heat our homes and move people and goods. The price of inaction is too great; America cannot stand on the sidelines while our competitors embrace new energy efficient technologies. It’s also important that we engage in a bipartisan discussion as we move forward – this bill has many other hoops to jump through before it becomes law and I will continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle and in the Senate to gain more tax relief for middle-income families.

Teddy Roosevelt was the true example of a Republican engaged in conserving resources for our children and grandchildren, but he also had the foresight to seek a brighter future for them. Republicans must be at the table as we look for solutions in energy independence and preserving our environment, while also looking at the bigger picture and working with all of our colleagues for a stronger nation.

How did your representative vote? Here’s the breakdown for Washington state:

Yay

  • Brian Baird (D)
  • Norma D. Dicks (D)
  • Jay Inslee (D)
  • Rick Larsen (D)
  • Jim McDermott (D)
  • David Reichert (R)
  • Adam Smith (D)

Nay

  • Doc Hastings (R)
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)