Climate bill passes House

Republicans employed some unusual delaying tactics, but Democrats scored a narrow victory anyway


Alex Koppelman
June 27, 2009 3:40AM (UTC)

It was close, and it happened a few hours later than it was supposed to, but on Friday night, the House passed a hotly debated energy and climate bill, the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act.

The final vote went 219-212; 44 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted against the bill, but more important were the eight Republicans who voted for it and provided the margin of victory.

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Before the bill passed, though, there was a circus on the floor, with Republicans doing their utmost to delay a vote. At one point, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., one of the body's top Republicans, actually asked the House to observe a moment of silence in honor of the millions of Americans he said will lose their jobs because of the bill. His proposal was shot down, but his staff sent out video of Price's big moment anyway. (You can watch it below.)

The GOP's primary complaint was a 300 page amendment that had been tacked on to the bill at 3 a.m. Friday morning, leaving members without time to read the new section. So, in what appeared to be an unprecedented move, Minority Leader John Boehner launched what may have been the House's first filibuster, reading -- and mocking -- much of the amendment's text, and thereby delaying the vote for just more than an hour.

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Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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