U.S. President Barack Obama says a so-called "clean energy" bill passed by the House of Representatives Friday will help ease America's dependence on foreign oil. Mr. Obama, in his weekly Saturday address, is calling on the Senate to pass the legislation as well.
President Obama says the energy bill will open the door to a clean-energy economy and a better future for America. "The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. Now is the time for the United States of America to realize this too. Now is the time for us to lead," he said.
One of the bill's main provisions calls for reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions. Major polluters could buy allowances from the government, and companies that pollute less than their allowances could sell them to those that pollute more.
After narrowly passing the House Friday, the bill goes to the Senate, where its fate is not certain. Mr. Obama is asking senators for their support. "And I want to thank every member of Congress who put politics aside to support this bill on Friday. Now my call to every Senator, as well as to every American, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past," he said.
Only eight Republicans in the House voted for the bill. House Minority Leader John Boehner, in the weekly Republican message, says the president's energy bill would cost too much and hurt the economy. "By imposing a tax on every American who drives a car or flips on a light switch, this plan will drive up the prices for food, gasoline and electricity," he said.
Boehner also says Mr. Obama's energy proposal would especially hurt Americans living in rural areas, and would drive jobs to other countries.