Here's what he had to say. He said, "This decision is nothing more than a back-door attempt to enact a national energy tax that will have a crushing impact on consumers, jobs and our economy. The administration is abusing the regulatory process to establish this tax because it knows there are not enough votes in Congress to force Americans to pay it."
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, let's take a step back. That decision was an outgrowth by the EPA -- went through scientific review, but it was an outgrowth of a Supreme Court decision in 2007.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it doesn't have much choice?
EMANUEL: Well, the -- what EPA just announced, the EPA had to go where it was. Let me also note -- and I think it's important -- both on that decision, George, as well as on the stem cell rules and regs that were just put out, once again, science is where it should be, giving us all the data we need. Now we have to decide how we're going to handle that information.
And I think, on this case, this EPA has said, here's what we have -- here's what the data says; here's what we think about it.
Now, we have to make the decision, which is what the president's always said, it is better, on an issue of this size and magnitude, and in an effect on the economy, that Congress and the White House come up with a set of policies that deal with greenhouse gas emissions and our energy policy.
We have a bill that's working, right now, dealing with our energy independence.
What would be helpful is if your next speaker, John Boehner, who's a friend, has his ideas put forth on how he wants to deal with greenhouse gases -- emissions, and how he wants to deal with our energy independence...
EMANUEL: And we're going to have -- the Congress is beginning to work...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I will ask him about that, but meanwhile, the president's plans to cap-and-trade carbon emissions is getting a lot of resistance, not only from Republicans but Democrats as well, who do believe -- who are fearful that this will be a broad-based tax increase.
EMANUEL: I would -- well, I -- of course, when you have something of this magnitude, there's going to be people that raise objections, because it's a big change.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe it's a broad-based tax increase?
EMANUEL: No, what I believe is we're going to -- we're going to alter how we deal with our energy policy. And what I think is going to happen is that Congress will deal with this part of the energy policy; they'll deal with the resource investments into alternative energy.
They'll also deal with the way we bring more efficiency into the system. And they're going to look at that.
I do know this. At the end of this first year of Congress, there will be an energy bill on the president's desk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That includes cap-and-trade?
EMANUEL: Our goal is to get that done. We will see. You're asking me right before the legislative process starts to make that prediction.
I do think this, that even those who object to particulars know that we have to deal with this part of our energy policy and that -- the challenge now is, rather than to criticize and rather than say no, rather than to say never, is to provide ideas. And that has yet to happen from the other side.