Though President Obama said earlier this week that the House took an extraordinary first step by passing a climate bill on Friday he's hopeful Congress will remove a clause that would impose a tariff in 2020 on imports from countries without systems for pricing or limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Obama says the nation has to be very careful about sending protectionist signals right now when the economy is still deep in recession. He believes there are other ways of making sure there's a level playing field internationally.
The bill passed in the House with a vote of 219 to 212 but could face a more difficult challenge in the Senate where concerns about its effect on the economic recovery are strong. Without Republican support the votes of all 58 Democrats and two independents are needed to bring the bill to a vote. President Obama has asked Senators to disregard what he calls misinformation offered by critics of the bill. Obama said the misinformation suggests there's a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth.
Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she hopes leaders can fix cap and trade so it doesn't unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri. Obama said he has broad criteria the House bill meets. He knows there will be provisions in the House and Senate bills that he questions as to their effectiveness so he will take a look at the final product and embrace the bill if it meets those broad criteria.