(AP) -- Former Vice President Al Gore called a House bill that would curb the gases blamed for global warming the most important legislation ever in Congress.
Gore, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on global warming, is scheduled to testify before a House panel Friday morning. In testimony prepared for delivery, Gore says the legislation will simultaneously solve the problems of the climate, economy and national security.
The former vice president and one-time Tennessee senator described the bill as "one of the most important pieces of legislation ever introduced in the Congress." He predicted passing it would "restore America's leadership in the world and begin, at long last, to solve the climate crisis."
Gore's backing comes after three days of hearings where experts, Republicans and moderate Democrats expressed concern that the bill will drive up energy costs.
Gore will urge the House panel to make sure the bill includes provisions to protect those people who will unfairly face hardship, such as workers in energy-intensive industries who could lose their jobs.
Gore's celebrity on the issue of climate change could generate much needed public support for the legislation.
After three days of panels and testimony and more than 50 witnesses espousing on the nitty-gritty details of the 648-page draft, the grand finale on Friday will feature Gore, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and former Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
All have played leading roles in the issue of climate change - even though at times they have been on opposite sides of the debate.
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