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 Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE of Louisiana, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonHousing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads Regulators fret over FOIA reform bill MORE of South Dakota, and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders: Clinton with a moderate VP would be a 'disaster' The Hill's 12:30 Report Clinton urged to go liberal with vice presidential pick MORE of Ohio.

Ten Democrats later wrote Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate MORE (D-Nev.) saying they had concerns with the bill even though they supported stopping debate on the bill, including Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerLobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: Senate panel to vote on Dem FCC commissioner MORE of West Virginia and Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and 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 WarnerNo time to relax: A digital security commission for the next generation Army posthumously awards female veteran who served as WWII spy The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine voted for cloture. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTrump should apologize to heroic POWs McCain urges sports leagues to return 'paid patriotism' money Senators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels 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 MurkowskiSenators float bipartisan wildfire bill Overnight Energy: Lawmakers closing in on chemical safety deal GOP chair pushes Obama official on Arctic drilling plan MORE of Alaska, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE of South Carolina, and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate backs equal pay for female soccer players Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules MORE and Bob CorkerBob CorkerRubio: 'Maybe' would run for Senate seat if 'good friend' wasn't McConnell-allied group: We'll back Rubio if he runs for reelection The Trail 2016: Interleague play 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.