The House Energy and Commerce Committee rejected an amendment proposed by Florida Republican Cliff Stearns to count existing U.S. nuclear power plants toward the renewable energy standards of the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

If the amendment had passed, it would mean about 21 states would already meet the renewable energy target with nuclear power alone.

The climate bill calls for utilities to get 20 percent of their power from alternative energy sources such as wind or solar by 2020.

The amendment was voted off 30-26 on Wednesday. Congress is expected to pass climate bill this week.