Butterfield, CBC Meet Obama at White House

Washington, D.C. —- During today’s Congressional Black Caucus meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama, Congressman G. K. Butterfield sought assurances that working families would be protected as part of any greenhouse gas reduction policy.

“What the American people may not realize is that climate change legislation will place an enormous financial burden on business and industry, and for the most part, the only way they can offset these costs is by passing them along to consumers,” Butterfield told Obama. “When climate change legislation is enacted, poor people could be forced to bear a disproportionate share of the pain. We have an obligation to avoid this.”

The 42 members of Congressional Black Caucus were invited to meet with Obama in the White House State Room for about an hour to talk about a wide variety of issues. Butterfield, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, focused his comments on how to best to mitigate the costs of the proposed climate change initiative on working families.

Butterfield said that Obama assured him that families’ potential hardships will be taken into account.

The White House also released its fiscal year 2010 budget that included a plan to dramatically reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The initiative is built around a market-based cap-and-trade program that would produce $150 billion over 10 years beginning in 2012 to finance renewable energy projects, and another $65 billion a year to pay for middle-class tax credits.

According to the plan, any additional revenue from the sale of emissions permits would be returned to families, communities and businesses to help mitigate the costs of higher energy prices.

Under the budget plan, 100 percent of pollution permits would be auctioned. Consistent with Obama’s campaign promise, no sector of the economy would be exempt from paying for the right to emit the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

The budget proposal calls for a 14 percent reduction in carbon dioxide from 2005 levels by 2020 and an 83 percent reduction by 2050.