House Passes Milestone Climate Change Bill

"There are huge costs and consequences of this bill," echoed Rep. Eric Cantor, R- Va. "There will be millions of jobs lost due to the imposition of a national energy tax on small businesses and working families."

Today Lynn Jenkins, who grew up on a dairy farm near Holton, Kan., joined the Republican news conference to say rural communities will be hit hardest.

"In addition to driving more, many of us in the heartland rely on farmers and ranchers to be the economic backbone of the local economies," Jenkins said. "From the John Deere dealership, the local grain co-op, mom-and-pop diners, and even the livestock exchange, this national energy tax will be extremely harmful to farmers, ranchers, and associated small businesses throughout the Midwest."

Obama and Gore Support Energy Bill

On Thursday, Obama called on Congress to get moving on the legislation as the White House tasked its energy and congressional teams with working the phones to convince lawmakers the plan is a good idea.

"We've seen our reliance on fossil fuels jeopardize our national security," Obama said. "We've seen it pollute the air we breathe and endanger our planet. And most of all, we've seen that others countries realize a critical truth: The nation that leads in the creation of a clear energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy."

But widely divergent opinions of the bill became clear this week.

"It's important for us to invest in new technologies to keep America No. 1 in innovation and new green technologies, to create millions of new jobs in this new green economy," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., voicing her support for the measure. "It's a jobs bill."

Pelosi said the measure would lessen dependence on foreign oil, reduce air pollution and keep the U.S. on the technological edge.

But Boehner, squaring off at a separate news conference, said the bill Democrats wrote would force small-business owners, their workers and families to pay more for electricity, gasoline and other high-energy products.

Boehner predicted the bill could cause as many as 2.7 million Americans to lose their jobs if U.S. industries decide to ship jobs overseas to countries like India and China, where environmental standards are less rigorous.

"When it comes to energy, Washington Democrats, I think, are poised to make matters worse by imposing a job-killing energy tax, courtesy of Speaker Pelosi," he said.

The bill would require the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

On Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore, who has championed efforts to curb global warming, was expected on Capitol Hill to rally for the bill. That appearance was canceled.

Instead, Gore called two dozen or so undecided Democrats from Tennessee on the phone to convince them to vote for the measure.

Thursday a top House Democrat told ABC News, "We don't have the votes yet" but added, "We think we'll get there."

If the bill passes the House, it is expected to have a tough time passing the Senate.

ABC News' Ned Potter, Jake Tapper, Sunlen Miller and Kate Barrett contributed to this report.

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