This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Shortly after President Obama was sworn into office in 2009, the EPA defined greenhouse gases as a pollutant that endangered public health, thus laying the groundwork to regulate those gases under existing clean air laws. The underlying bill would have prohibited the EPA from carrying out such regulation.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) urged support for the resolution and the underlying bill: “…The EPA is on a mission to destroy American industry. Their damaging plan to regulate the so-called carbon emissions will cost every household in America at least $1,600 per year. These unnecessary regulations will strangle the economy by driving up the cost of energy. Gasoline is $4 a gallon, will soon be $5 a gallon. It will put more Americans out of work, especially in the energy industry…. in my opinion, when regulators, especially those at the EPA, go to work every day, they go down the street here to one of these marble palaces, they get in a big room with a big oak table, they drink their lattes, and they sit around and say, `Who can we regulate today?' because that's what regulators do. Regulators regulate. And they figure out new ways to regulate the entire United States, all on the so-called premise of protecting us from ourselves.”
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) opposed the resolution and the underlying bill: “Repealing the EPA's authority to limit pollution would have devastating consequences. It would increase the number of children and adults who suffer from asthma. It would increase the number of individuals with emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, and many other respiratory diseases driving up health care costs for all Americans significantly…America's science and environmental policy should be driven by science and science alone. The EPA should be allowed to move forward. And I urge my colleagues to reject the rule and the underlying bill.”
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 250-172. All 238 Republicans present and 12 Democrats voted “yea.” 172 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.