House passes landmark energy bill; Senate up next
Today, by a 235-181 vote mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an energy bill that represents a decisive break with decades of energy policy focused on fossil fuels. The bill, shepherded through the House via the tenacious arm-twisting and ass-kicking of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), would: raise auto fuel-economy standards for the first time in over 30 years, to 35 miles per gallon by 2020; establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandating that utilities produce 15 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020; establish a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that would call for 36 billion gallons of biofuels in the fuel supply by 2022, 15 billion of it from corn ethanol by 2015; and provide some $13 billion in renewable and efficiency investments, paid for by cutting tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Republicans have threatened to filibuster; Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he will hold a vote to end the filibuster on Saturday. President Bush has said he will veto the bill if it includes the tax provisions or the RPS.