Representing a diverse group of States and regions, we believe the United States should consider bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this year with a renewed focus on jobs and reduced dependence on foreign oil.
So opens a letter sent yesterday from Tom Udall (D-NM) and 21 other moderate and progressive Democrats to Majority Leader Reid yesterday (full text reprinted at the end). The votes of these Dems are considered essential for passage of climate and clean energy legislation through the Senate this year:
Mark Begich of Alaska, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Roland Burris of Illinois, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Tom Carper of Delaware, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Al Franken of Minnesota, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Ted Kaufman of Delaware, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Patty Murray of Washington, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Udall of Colorado, Mark Warner of Virginia, Ron Wyden of Oregon.
The signatories include six Senators on E&E Daily’s (subs. req’d — see also here) list of 30 crucial fence sitters. Assuming that signatories of the letter have a good chance of voting for cloture on a final clean energy and climate package, we can move them from ‘fence sitters ‘ to ‘probably yes.’ That leaves Kerry, Lieberman, Graham, and possibly the future of a livable climate on planet earth in the hands of these 23 senators, of which at least 13 will have to vote yes:
|Remaining Dem Fence Sitters
Max Baucus (Mont.)
Evan Bayh (Ind.)
Robert Byrd (W.Va.)
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Carl Levin (Mich.)
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.)
Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.)
Jim Webb (Va.)
|Possibly Gettable Republicans
Scott Brown (Mass.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Bob Corker (Tenn.)
Judd Gregg (N.H.)
George LeMieux (Fla.)
Richard Lugar (Ind.)
John McCain (Ariz.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
George Voinovich (Ohio)
(We’ve stricken out the few R’s that seem like pretty far-fetched gets despite E&E listing them as fence sitters)
There is still reluctance among some Democrats on this list to move forward on a comprehensive bill. But the letter, along with Lindsay Graham’s indication (subs. req’d) that he will not abandon his spot as the sole GOP co-sponsor of the bipartisan clean energy agenda, indicates that there is still hope for bipartisan action in the senate this year. And we have the positive momentum from the successful passage of a comprehensive health security bill.
The letter from Sen. Tom Udall and 21 moderate democrats is reprinted in its entirety here:
Representing a diverse group of States and regions, we believe the United States should consider bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this year with a renewed focus on jobs and reduced dependance on foreign oil.
Our lack of a comprehensive clean energy policy hurts job creation and increases regulatory uncertainty throughout our economy. Businesses are waiting on clear signals from Congress before investing billions in energy, transportation, manufacturing, buildings, and other sectors. America’s competitiveness and export strength are also at stake. Asia and Europe are moving aggressively to take the lead in efficiency, renewables, clean coal, batteries, nuclear energy and other technologies. We need to take action in order to lead the emerging sectors that will drive our economic recovery.
While uncertainty hurts job creation, clean energy legislation can create jobs. Over the past decade, clean energy sectors have been creating jobs at over twice the rate of overall job growth. For established energy and manufacturing sectors, clean energy incentives will deploy the next generation of technologies that preserve and grow jobs in those sectors as well.
We recognize that achieving agreement in the senate will be a challenge, but across the country, Americans are coming together behind this effort. Recently, over 80 leading manufacturers, businesses, national security experts, veterans” groups, labor unions and faith-based groups called for “bi-partisan, national energy and climate legislation that increases our security and limits emissions, as it preserves and creates jobs.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has stats that “climate change is an important issue for this Congress to address.” By working together, we can meet the challenge.
We are also deeply concerned with spending hundreds of billions of dollars each year on imported oil from unstable regions. These billions spent overseas burden families’ budgets and threaten our national security. Gridlock will only continue more of the same, but a comprehensive energy strategy can break our addiction to foreign oil.
Thank you for your work to build consensus and facilitate bipartisan cooperation on these important economic and national security issues.
Sean Pool is Special Assistant for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.