WASHINGTON – The House approved a far-reaching energy bill Tuesday that would provide billions of dollars in tax incentives for energy producers and also give a boost to corn farmers by requiring a doubling of ethanol (search) use in gasoline.
Republicans called the bill farsighted and a key to improving America's energy security by expanding energy choices. But Democrats said the tax breaks amounted to giveaways to oil, gas and coal industries that don't need the help. They also complained that the legislation fails to focus on ways to conserve energy and develop renewable fuels.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 246-180, sending it to the Senate for final approval, probably later this week.
Despite the wide margin of victory in the House, the bill could run into snags in the Senate over a provision that would shield the makers of a gasoline additive from liability lawsuits.
The massive bill, covering some 1,400 pages, was crafted during weeks of largely closed-door negotiations between House and Senate Republicans and completed in a late-night conference just before midnight Monday despite Democratic protests.