Late Night: House Passes Sweeping Energy Bill

On Thursday, the House passed an energy bill with “the biggest increase in vehicle fuel-economy standards since gasoline cost less than a dollar a gallon.”

The L.A. Times reports the bill is headed for a “showdown in the Senate and a possible veto from President Bush.”

The measure would require a 40% increase in fuel efficiency for new cars and light trucks by 2020, for a fleetwide average of 35 miles per gallon, and would be the first congressional raising of the standards since they were established in 1975.

The bill is the Democrats’ first major effort to attack global warming and U.S. dependence on foreign oil since they won control of Congress a year ago.

The 235-181 vote came a day after a Senate panel advanced a separate measure that would cap greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, manufacturing facilities and other sources.

“Today marks the dawn of a future with less dependence on foreign oil, more renewable energy and a safer climate,” Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, said during debate on the House bill.

“This bill marks a turning point away from America’s untenable path of reliance on dirty fossil fuels that pollute our planet and link us to dangerous foreign regimes.”

The Bush administration, spoiling for a fight and determined that the “Decider” would get his way, “chastised Democratic leaders for pushing a “partisan bill” they knew had “no chance of being signed into law.””  I am so ready for Bush to go… If Bush and the Republicans in the Senate want a fight on this, the Dems damn well better give them one.

CNN is reporting that Harry Reid is scheduling a vote on the Energy Bill in the Senate for Saturday and this could put “some of the Democratic presidential candidates in awkward spot this weekend.” Reid will need to “muster at least 60 votes to block” a threatened filibuster from the Republicans. 

To that end, Reid said he has asked the four Senate Democrats running for president – Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois and Chris Dodd of Connecticut – to head back to Capitol Hill Saturday.

But with less than a month to go until the Iowa caucuses – and no clear frontrunner – Reid may have hard time getting the candidates back inside the Beltway.

Obama especially will have a difficult time making the trip to Washington. He and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey are set to make a highly anticipated tour through the Hawkeye State Saturday before heading to South Carolina together on Sunday.

The Senate offices of two of the presidential candidates say they have been told a Saturday vote is only a possibility. So far, none have said they plan to return to Washington that day.

Oprah can go on with out Obama. They had all better get their as*ses back to Washington for this vote.

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