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BREAKING: House Passes Energy and Climate Bill

After a full day of heated debate, the House of Representatives has just passed the landmark Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill, by a vote of 219-212.

The vote was largely along party lines, with 44 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against it and 8 Republicans supporting passage.

The bill, officially known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), was first introduced by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) as a discussion draft on March 31, and it passed out of Waxman’s committee on May 25. In the past few days, the Democratic leadership scrambled to whip up the necessary votes for passage by the full House, and even today, the bill’s prospects remained murky, with a large number of moderate Democrats still uncommitted.

A vote was expected around 5 p.m., but Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) conducted his version of a filibuster by giving an hour-plus-long closing speech, reading excerpts from practically every page of the 309-page manager’s amendment to the bill. When Waxman objected, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), who presided over the hearing, said that House tradition allowed each party’s leadership to deliver closing arguments without time constraints. “The gentleman’s had his thirty years to put this bill together,” Boehner said, addressing Waxman.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is not expected to receive a vote until after the resolution of the health care debate.

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