Friday, June 26, 2009

House in floor debate on climate bill; Democrats say they have the votes to send it to the Senate

UPDATE: The bill passed 219-212, getting one vote more than a constitutional majority, with 44 Democrats voting no and eight Republicans voting yes.

"The House neared a decisive vote on sweeping climate-change legislation Friday afternoon — with Democratic leaders still working to corral votes as Republican opponents accused them of promoting economic disaster," especially in rural areas, Politico reports. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., called the bill “economic colonization of the heartland” by New York and California, while Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said that without the bill, the U.S. would have to keep getting its energy from those who want to “fly planes into our buildings.”

"A vote is expected by late afternoon," Lisa Lerer and Patrick O'Connor report. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Politico this morning that the bill has the votes to get to the Senate. Just barely; 30 Democrats voted against the rule allowing consideration of the bill. Some liberals think it is too weak, more conservative and many rural members think it is too strong, and some first-term members are scared of being defeated next year iof they vote for it. Some of the latter "voted with Democratic Party leaders on the procedural roll call — not a guarantee that they will back the measure when it comes to the floor, but a clear signal that they are open to working with their leadership," Politico reports, in a detailed story with lots of individual House members' names. It's worth a look, as Politico usually is.

Al Tompkins of The Poynter Institute has a good snapshot of the bill in his "Al's Morning Meeting" column today, with plenty to links to resources. Also this morning, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, whose members get almost all their power from coal, issued a statement calling for the bill's defeat, saying the measure "would dramatically increase electricity costs for Kentucky homes, farms, and businesses."

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