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 LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race 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 BrownHouse bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe Overnight Regulation: Trump signs repeal of oil industry transparency rule MORE of Ohio.

Ten Democrats later wrote Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.) saying they had concerns with the bill even though they supported stopping debate on the bill, including Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE of West Virginia and Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood 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 WarnerComey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Schumer warns of possible cover-up by Trump administration 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 CollinsPruitt sworn in as EPA chief Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties EPA breaks Twitter silence to congratulate new head MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine voted for cloture. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainDem: Trump’s claim that media is the enemy is what ‘tin-pot dictators say’ McCain on shutting down press: That's how dictators get started Trump budget could ax arts, public broadcasting, anti-drug office: 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 MurkowskiPublic lands dispute costs Utah a major trade show Oprah's network provides Senate with tape of abuse allegations by Puzder's ex-wife: report More than 100 groups back Puzder for Labor secretary MORE of Alaska, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' GOP senators unnerved by Trump-Russia relationship MORE of South Carolina, and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP's ObamaCare talking points leave many questions unanswered Overnight Regulation: Trump's new Labor pick | Trump undoes Obama coal mining rule Trump unveils new pick to head Labor Department MORE and Bob CorkerBob CorkerGOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Trump makes nuclear mistake on arms control treaty with Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.