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 LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist 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 BrownPath to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Finance: Trump stock slump | GOP looks to tax bill for lifeline | Trump repeals 'blacklisting rule' | Dem wants ethics probe into Treasury secretary Dems question potential Kushner real estate deal with Chinese firm MORE of Ohio.

Ten Democrats later wrote Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTop GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch After healthcare fail, 4 ways to revise conservative playbook Dem senator 'not inclined to filibuster' Gorsuch 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 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 WarnerTop Senate Intel Dem: Nunes's meeting on WH grounds 'more than suspicious' Sunday shows preview: Aftermath of failed healthcare bill Devin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress 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 senator on going nuclear: 'I really hope that it doesn't come to that' Senators offer tax bill aimed at helping small businesses Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE and Olympia Snowe of Maine voted for cloture. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGraham: Nunes should reveal surveillance source Intel Dem on Nunes: ‘This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like’ McCain: Nunes has 'a lot of explaining to do' 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 MurkowskiElle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE of Alaska, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Nunes should reveal surveillance source Can Trump rebound after failure on healthcare bill? Senate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro MORE of South Carolina, and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Hill's 12:30 Report Price faces unwanted task of administering ObamaCare Overnight Regulation: Trump's Labor nominee hints at updating overtime rule MORE and Bob CorkerBob CorkerSenate takes up NATO membership for Montenegro GOP lawmaker: Time to work with Dems on healthcare GOP senator: I'm ready to work with Trump, Dems on healthcare 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.