In House climate vote, hints of problems in Senate

Backers of climate change legislation celebrated a historic victory in the House, but the breakout of the vote may reinforce the notion that the Senate will pose a bigger hurdle for the landmark bill.

Republican lobbyist and pollster Michael McKenna noted in a memo to his clients that House Democrats from several critical states voted against the measure, which he suggests puts pressure on Democratic senators from those states to do the same.

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In all, 44 House Democrats resisted the entreaties from their leadership and voted no on the climate bill, which would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent over the next four decades. The legislation squeaked by 219-212 anyway. But with Senate Republicans pledging to filibuster, Democratic unity in the Senate is even more critical for climate backers, although some Republicans are likely to cross party lines to support a bill.

The Democratic delegations from West Virginia, Louisiana, South Dakota and North Dakota voted against the climate bill. (Only West Virginia has sent more than one Democrat to the House. Each of the Dakotas only has a one representative.) House Democrats from six other states – Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina – also voted against the measure, although others in the delegation supported the climate bill.

According to McKenna, the House vote indicates that “the Senate’s climb has gotten steeper rather than gentler since last year.”

Many of the states listed by in the memo were already known problem areas for climate bill supporters.

In June 2008, backers of a climate change bill came 12 votes short of invoking cloture and ending a Republican filibuster to the bill. Four Democrats voted against cloture: Sens. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuYou want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' CNN's Van Jones: O'Keefe Russia 'nothingburger' video 'a hoax' MORE of Louisiana, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE of South Dakota, and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump tells Senate Dems that 'rich people get hurt' in GOP tax plan Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions Trump names Powell as chairman of Federal Reserve MORE of Ohio.

Ten Democrats later wrote Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTop Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor GOP in uncharted territory rolling back rules through resolutions MORE (D-Nev.) saying they had concerns with the bill even though they supported stopping debate on the bill, including Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE of West Virginia and Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

Those Democrats also included Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. McKenna doesn’t mention this in his memo, but one of the important yea vote in the House came from Rick Boucher, whose support helped ease the concern of some coal-state Democrats. One lobbyist said Boucher has been encouraging fellow Virginia Democrats Webb and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program The Hill interview — DNC chief: I came here to win elections Virginia's governor race: What to watch for MORE to support the climate bill. And Republican Sen. John Warner, now retired, was an original author of the climate bill.

The bill also picked up the support of key members from industrial states, namely Rep. John Dingell of Michigan.

Still, McKenna notes that regional differences that complicated talks in the House will likely come up again in the Senate.

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“Representatives from the Northeast and Pacific provided 110 of 219 yea votes for the legislation. Those states have 28 senators. The remainder of the nation voted against the legislation, 109-181. These states have 72 senators. While there are multiple complicating factors, the regional nature of the vote may be and may remain important.”

The authors of the House bill sought to reassure senators from coal and industrial states by directing billions of dollars to research ways to reduce the carbon footprint of coal-plants and to protect energy intensive industries from large increases in their energy bills.

Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation, strong backers of the bill, acknowledged the Senate poses difficulties to the bill, but said he was encouraged by the fact that 8 Republicans crossed over in the House.

In the Senate, he said other Republicans would as well.

Republican Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program A bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine voted for cloture. Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE of Arizona was an original author of a similar climate bill although he was absent during the vote in June.

Climate bill backers are also targeting Republicans Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMoore digs in amid mounting GOP criticism Republicans float pushing back Alabama special election Moore defends himself as pressure mounts MORE of Alaska, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill Trump wrestles with handling American enemy combatants Flake: Trump's call for DOJ to probe Democrats 'not normal' MORE of South Carolina, and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderObamaCare becomes political weapon for Democrats Senate passes resolution requiring mandatory sexual harassment training Sen. Warren sold out the DNC MORE and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTax Foundation: Senate reform bill would cost 6B GOP senators raise concerns over tax plan Dem House candidate apologizes for saying it 'shouldn't take brain cancer' for McCain to show courage MORE of Tennessee in hopes of winning their support.

“All the ingredients called for in the recipe for passing a bill in the Senate are assembled, and I think we have the iron chefs who can put it all together,” Symons said.