They also said blocking this regulation would prevent indirect taxes on companies at a time when energy prices are soaring. "It's a jobs protection bill," Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said on Wednesday, when the bill was debated.
Democrats said Republicans are trying to reverse years of progress on environmental protection. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the bill is "nothing less … than a full assault on four decades of progress in protecting Americans from environmental dangers."
Democrats also rejected Republican arguments that the EPA is planning to tax cattle based on their methane emissions. Polis said this issue has been debunked. "It is a false accusation with regard to livestock," he said.
But Sessions said the EPA's website discusses this issue, a sign it is thinking of regulating cattle. "This EPA is trying to talk about methane produced by livestock," he said. "They're going to blame it on cattle."
Only three Democrats spoke in favor of the bill during Wednesday's debate. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) argued against letting one federal agency regulate the emissions, as the EPA would not consider the impact of regulations on jobs.
"These are not matters that the EPA is required to consider, or equipped to address," he said. "To simply allow the EPA to move ahead on its own in crafting a national strategy on climate change is a recipe for disaster."
Reps. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) also spoke in favor of the bill, citing jobs and agricultural interests, respectively.
House Republicans accepted one amendment to the bill from Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) that says voluntary programs to address climate change are not prohibited by the bill. But they rejected all other Democratic amendments, including those that would require studies of the impact of the bill.
One of the more controversial amendments was offered by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who proposed language saying Congress accepts the EPA's findings that climate change is happening and is caused by human activities. Democrats argued that Republicans are trying to deny the existence of climate change, while Republicans countered that this issue is irrelevant to the bill, and rejected it along with all the others.
The White House has said it would veto the bill because it contains language that it says would roll back the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate pollutants.