The Challenge Ahead: More than a Third of Senate Now "Swing" Vote on Climate

March 19, 2009 | Jesse Jenkins,

There's been a spate of recent public announcements from moderate Democrats and Republicans alike, voicing caution about a proposed cap and trade program to place a price on carbon dioxide and cut global warming pollution. More than one third of the U.S. Senate now joins the fifteen moderate Democratic Senators we've dubbed the "Technology Fifteen" as vocal swing votes in the upcoming debate on climate policy.

Below the fold is an updated tally of where the Senate stands on climate policy by my assessment, based on recent public announcements and past voting histories. With using budget reconciliation to bypass the 60-vote filibuster hurdle off the table, to secure passage of any climate policy in the U.S. Senate, all but seven of the 37 Senators I identify as swing votes must be convinced to support the proposal (joining the 30 Senators I classify as "Assumed Yes" votes).

I provide the vote count below without further comment, and will delve into the implications of this tally in further detail in an upcoming post...

The following codes after their names indicate factors considered in assembling this vote tally:

*- Voted "Yes" on Lieberman-Warner cloture vote; ^- newly-elected Senator; T- "Technology Fifteen" (aka "Gang of Fifteen"); M- new group of moderate Democrats announced by Senator Bayh; B- Publicly opposed to using Budget Reconciliation process to override filibuster; italic- Republican Senators

    Swing Votes: 37

Likely Leaning Yes: 9

Baucus (D-MT)*B
Tester (D-MT)*
Carper (D-DE)*M
Kohl (D-WI)*M
Nelson (D-FL)*M
Begich (D-AK)^M
Hagan (D-NC)^M
Shaheen (D-NH)^M
Lieberman (I-CT)*M

On-the-Fence: 20

Stabenow (D-MI)*T
Levin (D-MI)*TB
McCaskill (D-MO)*TM
Rockefeller (D-WV)*T
Lincoln (D-AR)*TMB
Pryor (D-AR)*TB
Webb (D-VA)*T
Bayh (D-IN)*TMB
Bingaman (D-NM)*T
Brown (D-OH)T
Dorgan (D-ND)T
Johnson (D-SD)T
Conrad (D-ND)T
Warner (D-VA)^M
Bennett (D-CO)^M
Udall (D-CO)^M
Casey (D-PA)*B
Specter (R-PA)
Collins (R-ME)*B
Snowe (R-ME)*

Likely Leaning No: 8

Byrd (D-WV)TB
Landrieu (D-LA)MB
Nelson (D-NE)*TMB
McCain (R-AZ)
Corker (R-TN)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Gregg (R-NH)
Martinez (R-FL)*

    Assumed Yes Votes: 30

Boxer (D-CA)*
Reid (D-NV)*
Cantwell (D-WA)*
Cardin (D-MD)*
Dodd (D-CT)*
Feingold (D-WI)*
Feinstein (D-CA)*
Inouye (D-HI)*
Kerry (D-MA)*
Klobachar (D-MN)*
Lautenberg (D-NJ)*
Leahy (D-VT)*
Menendez (D-NJ)*
Mikulski (D-MD)*
Murray (D-WA)*
Reed (D-RI)*
Akaka (D-HI)*
Durbin (D-IL)*
Harkin (D-IA)*
Sanders (I-VT)*
Schumer (D-NY)*
Merkley (D-OR)^
Whithouse (D-RI)*
Wyden (D-OR)*
Udall (D-NM)^
Kaufman (D-DE)^
Gillibrand (D-NY)^
Burris (D-IL)^

Kennedy (D-MA)
Franken (D-MN)^
(Depending on Kennedy's health and the results of the contested election in Minnesota, these two may or may not be able to cast votes in support of climate legislation; if they cannot, two more Swing votes must be convinced to support the policy)

    Assumed No: 33

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Crapo (R-ID)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Grassley (R-IA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchinson (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
McConnell (R-KY)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Wicker (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Risch (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Graham (R-SC)


The other issue is that Rust Belt money would be largely sent to states that need it much less. Finding a way not to hurt Rust Belt residents and industries by funneling money from the cap into green jobs, for example, would bring votes to this bill.

By Pat on 2009 04 30

Big Oil and Big Coal sure do have a lot of influence.

By libhomo on 2009 03 22