House passes energy bill including 35 mpg average
By Washington Post
Published December 7, 2007
WASHINGTON - The House brushed aside a new White House veto threat and handily approved a comprehensive energy bill Thursday that would raise automobile fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and require increased use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity.
The 235-181 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where Republicans hope to strip it of tax increases on the oil industry and the renewable source requirement before a final version goes to President Bush.
The White House objects to the bill on multiple fronts, including tax increases on the oil industry, and says Bush would veto it.
But with energy prices soaring, lawmakers from both parties expressed strong support for fuel-efficiency standards, which Congress has not changed since the end of the muscle car era in the mid 1970s. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the package "nothing less than our nation's declaration of independence from foreign sources of energy."
Even House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio - who assails the measure as a "no-energy" bill and as a tax increase that would raise, not lower, energy costs - lauded the corporate average fuel-efficiency standards as a good compromise.
"There is a real appetite to increase CAFE standards. The only question has been how much and how fast," said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. "Everybody understands we need to give Detroit a nudge. We just don't want to push them off a cliff."
Fourteen Republicans voted for the bill. Seven Democrats opposed it.
Under the measure, auto manufacturers' vehicle fleets would have to average 35 mpg by 2020, a 40 percent increase over the current requirement. By that same deadline, 15 percent of the electricity generated by the nation's utilities would have to come from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, as well as biomass.
The measure would provide tax incentives to bring about a sevenfold increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel by 2022, when a required 36-billion gallons of it would be on the market each year.
The bill also includes appliance and light bulb standards that would effectively phase out, by the middle of the next decade, the incandescent light bulb invented by Thomas Edison.
To finance tax incentives for hybrid cars, ethanol production and renewable-energy development, the bill includes $21-billion in revenue increases, including a rollback of $13.5-billion in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies.
How they voted
The House passed the energy bill by a 235-181 vote.
Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor No Ginny Brown-Waite,
R-BrooksvilleNo Adam Putnam,
R-BartowNo C.W. Bill Young,
R-Indian Shores No Vern Buchanan,
R-SarasotaNo Kathy Castor,
[Last modified December 7, 2007, 02:31:24]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]