A bill moving quickly towards a vote on Capitol Hill could set the stage for a new clean energy economy -- one the White House says will finally wean the United States from its dependency on fossil fuels. President Obama made his pitch to lawmakers Thursday and urged swift passage of the climate change bill, which he says will create incentives to reduce green house gases and create thousands of new jobs.
In the future clean energy will be the norm - and polluters will pay for the new industries and jobs of the 21st century, according to the president.
Speaking from the Rose Garden on June 25, Mr. Obama outlined his vision for a green revolution. "This legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy that will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries, and that will lead to American jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced," he said.
The proposed legislation creates incentives and penalties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power.
But with House Democratic leaders struggling to ensure enough votes to enact the bill, the president knows passage is not a sure thing.
"I know this is going to be a close vote in part because of the misinformation that's out there that suggests there's somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and our economic growth," Mr. Obama said. "But my call to those members of Congress who are still on the fence as well as to the American people is this: We cannot be afraid of the future."
Republicans are staunchly opposed to the bill, saying it will drive energy prices higher and send American jobs overseas. The president counters the argument saying the bill will create millions of new jobs at home.
"There's no longer a question about whether the jobs and industries of the 21st century will be centered around clean renewable energy, the only question is which country will create these jobs and these industries. And I want that answer to be the United States of America," Mr. Obama states.
Republican leaders say the legislation amounts to a tax on energy intensive industries.
The House is scheduled to vote on the bill as early as today.