Climate bill passes House, Iowans split on party lines (updated)

The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) barely passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 219-212 vote today. As you can see from the roll call, Iowa Democrats Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) voted for the bill, while Republicans Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05) voted against.

King claimed ACES “could be the most colossal mistake ever made in the history of the United State Congress.”

Latham brought a big box to the House chamber, with the label “TO: CHINA. FROM: The U.S. CONGRESS.” Inside the box was a hardhat labeled “American jobs.”

What a joke. The ACES bill should create jobs, although it would have created a lot more if it contained better renewable energy targets.

According to Populista, only three House Democrats voted against ACES because it was too weak, while 41 voted against it because it was supposedly too strong, even with all the compromises made to placate regional and corporate interests. I have to agree with Ezra Klein: “our political process has gone into total system failure and the overriding priority is building the long-term case for structural reform of America’s lawmaking process”.

UPDATE: Congressman Braley issued the following statement after the Waxman-Markey bill passed:

“This landmark energy bill will create thousands of clean energy jobs in Iowa, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and take a big step forward toward tackling climate change.  This represents a huge new investment in renewable energy in the United States.  While this bill is far from perfect, it does include provisions that help consumers and exempt agriculture.  The bottom line is that we need to act now to address our nation’s energy problems and create jobs.”

Congressman Loebsack issued a longer statement, which I’ve posted after the jump. The key point relates to an amendment Loebsack was able to get in the ACES bill:

Congressman Loebsack’s amendment to the bill will amend the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program so that building owners receiving disaster assistance can use the disaster assistance funds to leverage additional or matching funds to make energy efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. The REEP program provides funding to improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings. Congressman Loebsack’s amendment will maximize the benefits of the REEP program for disaster victims by helping Iowa homes become more energy efficient. It would also require that FEMA make information available to disaster victims that the REEP program is available for them to make energy efficiency improvements post-disaster.

SECOND UPDATE: Radio Iowa has more on the theatrics from Latham and King. Republican demagoguery has reached new lows on this bill.

Congressman Loebsack Adds Critical Flood Recovery Provisions to American Clean Energy and Security Act

Votes to Create New, Clean Energy Jobs and Decrease American Dependence on Foreign Oil

WASHINGTON DC – Congressman Loebsack today voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The final bill included provisions that were added by the Congressman to make the rebuilding process easier for disaster stricken families and businesses. The provisions in the amendment make sure Iowans are able to take full advantage of funding to rebuild in an energy efficient and cost saving manner.

“My amendment to the bill will make the rebuilding process easier for disaster stricken families and businesses by making sure that as we repair homes and businesses, Iowans are able to take full advantage of funds to rebuild in an energy efficient and cost saving manner,” said Congressman Loebsack. “As we rebuild our communities, it is critical that Iowans are able to utilize energy efficient measures so that we can create long-term energy cost savings for our middle class families.”

Congressman Loebsack’s amendment to the bill will amend the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program so that building owners receiving disaster assistance can use the disaster assistance funds to leverage additional or matching funds to make energy efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. The REEP program provides funding to improve energy efficiency in homes and buildings. Congressman Loebsack’s amendment will maximize the benefits of the REEP program for disaster victims by helping Iowa homes become more energy efficient. It would also require that FEMA make information available to disaster victims that the REEP program is available for them to make energy efficiency improvements post-disaster.

“This bill takes steps to create good paying jobs for clean energy economy with less dependence on foreign oil,” said Congressman Loebsack. “I look forward to working further to improve the bill and ensure Iowa increases its role as a global leader in clean energy and ensure further savings for Iowans through clean energy.”

The bill also included measures that will create millions of new clean energy jobs, increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and protect our environment.

“I am pleased that after several rounds of negotiations, this legislation will ensure  Iowa ‘s farmers will have a larger and more prominent seat at the table,” added Congressman Loebsack. “As we move forward, I will work to protect Iowa families, and make sure that  Iowa is a global leader in a new, clean energy economy.”

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