Obama lauds passage of climate bill

President Obama Friday applauded the House for passing of a signature climate change bill, after personally helping secure the votes needed for passage.

"Today, the House of Representatives took historic action," Obama said, speaking from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room after a close vote.

Republicans and some Democrats railed against a bill they saw as an onerous tax increase on middle class families. The bill's fate is unclear in the Senate.

Obama and senior administration officials worked the phones feverishly to avoid a painful and detrimental push back from the House.

Obama, who was joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier Friday to push for the legislation, called the bill a "bold and necessary step that holds the promise of creating new industries and millions of new jobs, decreasing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and strictly limiting the release of pollutants that threaten the health of families and communities and the planet itself.."

"Now it's up to the Senate to take the next step and I'm confident that in the coming weeks and months, the Senate will demonstrate the same commitment in addressing what is a tremendous challenge and an extraordinary oppty," Obama said.

House Republicans staged an intense effort to try and delay a vote on the bill even after Obama blasted them Thursday, in a Rose Garden event, for spreading "misinformation."

A smiling White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel slapped the president on the back with a rolled up magazine as they left the Diplomatic Room, perhaps a sign of relief after the close vote.