U. S. House Set To Pass Energy Bill Today

The U.S. House is poised to pass an energy bill today, as President Bush presses lawmakers for action before the summer driving season starts.

However, the GOP-crafted measure is similar to one that died two years ago in the Senate, and its prospects remain uncertain. The bill contains some $8-billion worth of tax breaks, most of which are aimed at encouraging more domestic production of coal, oil, natural gas and other traditional energy sources.

Democrats complain that renewable energy and efficiency programs are getting short shrift. House leader Nanci Pelosi calls the bill "anti-consumer, anti-taxpayer and anti-environment."

Yesterday, speaking to a business group, the president said sky-high gas prices show why passage is needed, though he acknowledged the energy bill is no "magic wand" for quickly cutting the price at the pump.