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‘Cap-and-Trade’ Emissions Bill Faces Test in Congress

As early as Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives may vote on landmark climate legislation that would establish a "cap-and-trade" system for carbon emissions. Judy Woodruff talks to analysts about the measure's pros and cons.

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  • U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    The nation that leads in the creation of a clean-energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president chose the Rose Garden on a scorching Washington summer afternoon to press for passage of landmark climate legislation.

  • BARACK OBAMA:

    There's no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy. It's happening. And there's no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable industry. The only question is, which country will create these jobs and these industries? And I want that answer to be the United States of America.

  • CONGRESSMAN:

    Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Democrats have spent weeks cajoling skeptical moderates and conservatives within their own ranks to support the bill. There has been much horse-trading as a measure was fashioned that could garner support.

    The president acknowledged the political sensitivity of the bill in his remarks.

  • BARACK OBAMA:

    I know this is going to be a close vote, in part because the misinformation that's out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and our economic growth.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The 1,201-page measure may come to a vote tomorrow. It has as its centerpiece a so-called cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that are the root cause of global warming. It would establish a market for the buying and selling of permits to pollute.

    The bill calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent over the next decade and by 83 percent by 2050. It would mandate power companies produce at least 12 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020. And the bill would limit emissions from industrial polluters, but exempt agriculture from caps.

    The senior Republican in the House, John Boehner, said Democrats don't have the votes for passage, and he blasted the bill in remarks this morning on Capitol Hill.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-Ohio, House minority leader: When it comes to energy, the Washington Democrats, I think, are poised to make matters worse by imposing a job-killing energy tax, courtesy of Speaker Pelosi.

    This is going to force small businesses and their workers and families to pay more for electricity, gasoline, and other products that are made in America that have a high energy content. This bill will also cost 2.3 million to 2.7 million Americans their jobs.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The speaker of the House said the bill would create, not eliminate, jobs, and she pointed to a Congressional Budget Office analysis that cited additional benefits.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-Calif., speaker of the House: What you should see is what the CBO put out about how lower-income people will benefit from this bill. They will not have any increase in their costs. So I am very proud of the bill; I think it takes us in the direction we want to go.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    House Democrats are aiming to pass the bill tomorrow before they adjourn for the Fourth of July recess.