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House GOP Leadership Warns Climate Change Bill Will Hurt Economy, Calls Legislation 'Bureaucratic Nightmare'

As President Obama urges senators to follow the House on a controversial climate change bill, Republican leadership warns that the legislation will hurt the U.S. economy -- from big business down to the individual taxpayer -- with House Minority leader John Boehner calling the bill "a bureaucratic nightmare."

The House narrowly passed the sweeping climate change bill during a late-night session Friday by a vote of 219-212. Forty-four Democrats broke rank to oppose the bill.

The legislation mandates reductions in greenhouse gases, puts emission limits on industry, and puts tighter restrictions on coal. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost $175 a year per household.

"By imposing a tax on every American who drives a car or flips on a light switch, this plan will drive up the prices for food, gasoline and electricity," said Boehner, R-Ohio, in the Republicans' weekly radio and Internet address.

Boehner calls the bill "a bureaucratic nightmare. It will cost jobs, depress real estate prices, put the government in the part of the economy, where it has no role."

The sharply debated bill's fate is unclear in the Senate, and Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to ratchet up pressure on the 100-seat chamber.

"My call to every senator, as well as to every American, is this," he said. "We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past. Don't believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth."

"It will spur the development of low-carbon sources of energy -- everything from wind, solar and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal," he said.

The vote marked the first time either house of Congress has passed legislation to curb global warming gases. The legislation, totaling about 1,200 pages, would require the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by mid-century.

Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants to take up the legislation by the fall. Sixty votes will be needed to overcome any Republican filibuster.

The "razor-thin vote in the House spells doom in the Senate," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the top Republican on the Senate's environment panel.

Reid, D-Nev., was more optimistic.

"The bill is not perfect, but it is a good product for the Senate," Reid said. "Working with the president and his team, I am hopeful that the Senate will be able to debate and pass bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this fall."

Supporters and opponents agreed that the legislation would lead to higher energy costs. But they disagreed on the impact on consumers.

Democrats pointed to two reports -- one from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the other from the Environmental Protection Agency -- that suggested average increases would be limited after tax credits and rebates were taken into account. The CBO estimated the bill would cost an average household $175 a year, the EPA $80 to $110 a year. But Republicans and industry groups say the real figure would much higher.

The White House and congressional Democrats argued the bill would create millions of green jobs as the nation shifts to greater reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles -- and away from use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal.

It will "make our nation the world leader on clean energy jobs and technology," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who negotiated deals with dozens of lawmakers in recent weeks to broaden the bill's support.

Republicans saw it differently, with Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., declaring it "amounts to the largest tax increase in American history under the guise of climate change."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.