Obama Advisers Support Democratic Energy Bill

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". . .when the public finds out the true cost it will be 'a smackdown the World Wrestling Federation would be proud of.'"

The Obama administration on Wednesday called a Democratic House proposal to tackle climate change a "jobs bill" and an investment in clean energy technology, rejecting Republican criticism that the increase in energy costs will undermine the economy.

Top environmental advisers to President Barack Obama broadly endorsed the draft bill that would cap greenhouse gases and reduce the nation's reliance on fossil fuels. However, administration officials cautioned that the White House will work with House Democrats to fine tune the legislation in coming weeks.

GOP lawmakers called the draft climate bill, which reflects the views of House Democratic leaders, a massive energy tax because it will put a price on carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

"The proposal for cap and tax will raise the energy rates for producing everything in the United States of America," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. "If we dramatically raise the rates of electricity we will not be competitive when it comes to building anything."

Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., said that when the public finds out the true cost it will be "a smackdown the World Wrestling Federation would be proud of."

Just how much the draft bill would increase energy costs remains unclear, even as the cost issue loomed prominently over the daylong hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A preliminary analysis released by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the average American household would pay an extra $98 to $140 a year to achieve the emissions reductions mandated by the bill. That estimate assumed broad increases in energy efficiency, a shift away from fossil fuels and the distribution of 40 percent of money collected from auctioning off emission credits to American households to help pay energy bills.

But the administration officials rejected that dealing with global warming will undermine the nation's economy, as some GOP lawmakers proclaimed.

The draft bill is silent on how permits will be distributed to companies that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases. That's critical in determining how much the legislation - which will put a price on global warming gases - would increase energy costs.

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