House passes sweeping clean energy bill

The House on Thursday passed a broad bill that aims to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy sources as part of an attempt to combat climate change. 

The chamber approved the 900-page Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act in a 220-185 vote. 

The legislation would create research and development programs for solar, wind, advanced geothermal energy and hydroelectric power as well as lessening pollution from fossil fuel production. 


It would also establish more rigorous building codes and bolster energy efficiency requirements and weatherization programs. 

The bill moved rapidly through the House. It was first introduced last week and did not go through any legislative hearings.

A similar energy innovation package that was introduced in the Senate earlier this year has recently been reenergized after legislators came to an agreement on an amendment seeking to phase down the use of a type of greenhouse gas. 

A senior House Democratic aide told The Hill that if the Senate passes its own bill, the chambers can go to conference to resolve their disagreements. The aide said that House Democrats urge Republicans to take some action on clean energy, either moving by their own bill or taking up the House bill.  

Speaking in favor of the House legislation, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBrown says Biden's first moves as president should be COVID relief, voting rights Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to positive tests among Pence aides Pelosi dismisses talk of White House compromise on stimulus: They 'keep moving the goal post' MORE (D-Calif.) praised it as one step in the fight to tackle climate change. 


“It takes actions that scientists, researchers and experts tell us is needed by launching the research and development needed to unleash a clean energy revolution and reduce pollution in our communities, making a bold down payment for future climate action by modernizing America’s energy innovation infrastructure,” she said. 

The top Republicans on the Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees released a joint statement criticizing the legislation this week. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker Pelosi wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopHillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver MORE (R-Utah), Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenRace heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' MORE (R-Ore.), and Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasTrump administration signs AI research and development agreement with the UK OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver House passes sweeping clean energy bill MORE (R-Okla.). “This bill is chock-full of government mandates that would raise what Americans pay for everything from the vehicles they drive to what they pay to heat, cool, and power their homes.” 

It comes as House Democrats have already proposed other major energy and climate change bills that have yet to receive a vote.  

The passage also occurs as the country is facing several natural disasters like an active hurricane season and wildfires, putting an extra spotlight on climate change. 


The legislation has received mixed reviews from environmentalists, who have supported its renewables and efficiency provisions but criticized others. One area that they’ve criticized is the promotion of carbon capture, in which carbon is removed from the air, particularly from the fossil fuel industry. 

Other provisions included in the legislation aim to expand the use of electric vehicles and add protections for communities that are disproportionately harmed by environmental issues like pollution. 

Dozens of amendments ahead of its passage, including one increasing funding for renewable energy related activities in the bill, making it so that the funding for these activities is greater than funding for reducing pollution from fossil fuels.