U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst denied coordinating with outside groups who are involved in the race, despite her participation in a secret summit organized by the Koch brothers in June. Speaking at a Des Moines, Iowa, event on October 23, Ernst claimed she doesn’t have any contact with outside groups that are running negative ads.
“I can’t control the outside groups, with the independent expenditures,” Ernst said. “You know, I don’t have contact with them.”
However, at June Koch summit in Dana Point, Calif., Ernst thanked the Koch network, which is now spending millions of dollars in attack ads and get-out-the-vote efforts on her behalf, for discovering her and powering her candidacy.
“A little-known state senator from a very rural part of Iowa, known through my National Guard service and some circles in Iowa. But the exposure to this group and to this network and the opportunity to meet so many of you, that really started my trajectory,” Ernst was recorded saying. “We are going to paint some very clear differences in this general election,” she said. “And this is the thing that we are going to take back—that it started right here with all of your folks, this wonderful network.”
As of October 27, the Koch super PAC Freedom Partners Fund has spent over $3,158,815 for Ernst, and the Koch 501c4 Americans for Prosperity has spent $250,954, according to FEC records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Ernst’s remarks in Des Moines were recorded by the Young Turks Undercurrent’s Lauren Windsor, who said Ernst was caught in a “big fat Koch lie.” Windsor had earlier released the audio recording of Ernst and other GOP Senate candidates speaking at the Koch retreat.
(Windsor is not associated with The Undercurrent, a right-wing libertarian campus magazine that promotes the Koch network.)
The U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky’s Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, has been marked by competing acts of fealty to the coal industry.
“Mr. President, Kentucky has lost one-third of our coal jobs in just the last three years,” one Grimes radio spot runs. “Now, your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie in the sky regulations that are impossible to achieve.”
“We know what Obama needs to wage his war on coal,” McConnell retorted. “Obama needs Grimes.”
However, there is now a point of contention between the two candidates: Grimes, unlike McConnell, recognizes, at least in rhetoric, the reality of climate change.
In an interview on September 25 with Matt Jones on Louisville talk radio station WKJK, Grimes said she believes in the science of climate change.
JONES: “Do you believe in climate change?”
GRIMES: “I do. You know, Mitch McConnell and I differ on this. He still wants to argue with the scientists. I do believe that it exists, but I think that we have to address, especially leaving this world in a better place, in a balanced manner. We’ve got to keep the jobs that we have here in the state, especially our good coal jobs.”
This question came in the context of a longer discussion about Grimes’ disagreement with President Barack Obama on the coal industry. “I think we have to rein in the EPA,” Grimes said. “I think the regulations as they exist now are overburdensome.”
The McConnell campaign extracted a clip of the conversation, ending Grimes’ remarks at “it exists.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
On March 10, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and many other senators of the Climate Action Task Force will be pulling an all-nighter to urge Congress to wake up to climate change. The speeches begin immediately following votes.
The 31 participants representing 21 states include:
- Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
- Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
- Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
- Patty Murray, (D-Wash.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
- Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
- Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
- Chris Coons (D-Del.)
- Barbara Boxer, (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
- Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
- Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
- Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)
- Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
- Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.)
- Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
- Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
- Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
- Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
- Angus King (I-Maine)
- Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
- Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
- Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
Active holds are bolded.White House
- Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman – John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
- Cass Sunstein, OIRA director – Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
- John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), anonymous
- Richard Newell, administrator of the Energy Information Administration – John McCain (R-Ariz.)
- Ines Triay, assistant secretary of environmental management – Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)
- Kristina Johnson, undersecretary for energy – Kyl
- Steven Koonin, undersecretary for science – Kyl
- Scott Blake Harris, general counsel – Kyl
- Lisa Jackson, administrator – Barrasso
- Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for air and radiation – Barrasso
- Robert Perciasepe, deputy administrator – George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
- David Hayes, deputy secretary – Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
- Hilary Tompkins, solicitor – Bennett, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and other anonymous Rs
- Jon Jarvis, National Park Service director – Coburn
- Wilma Lewis, assistant secretary for land and mineral management – McCain
- Robert Abbey, Bureau of Land Management administrator – McCain
- Joseph Pizarchik, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement – anonymous D
- Harold Koh, legal adviser to the State Department – Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
- Susan Burk, Special Representative for Non-Proliferation – DeMint
- Thomas Shannon Jr., ambassador to Brazil – DeMint, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
- Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security – Kyl, released June 25
- Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs – DeMint
- Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor – anonymous R
- Craig Becker, National Labor Relations Board – McCain
- Jane Lubchenco, director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Menendez, anonymous
- Craig Fugate, director – David Vitter (R-La.), released May 12
- Gary Gensler, chairman – Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), released May 14
Senate Watch, Responses to Kerry-Graham: Brownback, Carper, Durbin, Gregg, Inhofe, Kerry, Levin, Murkowski, Sessions, Voinovich
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Washington Post Because while we’re projecting these things, people are having to deal with their basic lives on it, and this is going to be very expensive.
E&E News We need to make sure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has the human resources that they need to enable them to do the job.
I will be working with Joe Lieberman and others to create a more robust nuclear title when the bill comes to the floor, and among the things that we will be working on is, we want to make sure we invest the right amount of money in nuclear recycling, nuclear reprocessing, to try to determine what is the best path to try and follow there.
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
To the extent that people have ideas for further streamlining, should we look at those? Sure. But keep in mind a lot has been done, there is an incredibly heavy workload for the NRC already, and we have got make sure they have the resources they need.
E&E News It’s not a bad starting point to try and engage as many people as you can to find out if there is some common ground here. And I’m open to these things. I think both of them carry with them environmental concerns, serious environmental concerns. But if they’re going to deal with those honestly and directly, then maybe there’s room for conversation.
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
We also have a majority leader who’s interested in the nuclear power issue, too. So we have to be sensitive to that. But I think it’s perfectly all right to start with an agenda that is inclusive and try to build on that.
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
E&E News If nuclear comes under that and has proper incentives, that could be a major step forward.
John Kerry (D-MA)
E&E News When I first saw it, I was disappointed that they’d have a joint communiqué of any kind. It doesn’t matter what happens, for Kerry, if he were inclined to move in that direction. It’s not going to stay, anyway. I think we all understand that. It wouldn’t survive. You always have the House to deal with. Pelosi. And I can’t see that it would.
E&E News We really haven’t gotten specific about a Kerry-Graham bill. What we’re really trying to do is get a coalition together to make this pass. What shape that takes at this point, I think, is down the road. I suppose it can develop into a bill, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be ours. It could part of a leadership effort, or some other effort.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
E&E News (on Kerry-Graham) It’s a reasonable position to take, provided they are both comfortable with going after the OCS and after nuclear power.
E&E News I think what Senator Graham and Senator Kerry have put out there is an indicator that, hey, things are possible if we’re willing to perhaps look at how you might meld some of the different ideas that are out there.
Instead of cutting emissions at any cost, we should be working on a policy that incorporates the best ideas of both parties—a policy that accounts for our near-term energy needs, limits costs, and is flexible enough to work under different economic circumstances.
E&E News Now, to be sure, they wrote a column, not a bill. Their outline could be improved, and there’s no guarantee legislation along those lines would pass the Senate. But in my opinion, the framework they laid out in 1,000 words is already better than the policies it took the House 1,400 pages to impose.
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
E&E News Neither accounts for the cumulative impact of every provision. Limitations and caveats are routinely noted.
George Voinovich (R-OH)
Mobile Press-Register Our conceit is such that we think we can manage the climate, we think we can manage a huge portion of the most dynamic economy the world’s ever known, and I’m wary of it.
E&E News “No, it’s not a game changer,” Voinovich said about Kerry and Graham. “It just sounds really good on paper.”
Senate Watch: Barrasso, Bingaman, Boxer, Brown, Carper, Dorgan, Durbin, Johanns, Kerry, McCain, McCaskill, Merkley, Nelson, Reid, Roberts, Voinovich
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
E&E News “Last year, the committee produced a bill, got to the floor, never got anywhere,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of the EPW Committee. “I’m expecting the same thing this year.”
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
E&E News Earlier this year, Bingaman said he would rather see the Senate tackle energy on its own and then come back to climate. Bingaman last week was not as specific, saying that that “there are a lot of complex questions that obviously are raised by cap-and-trade proposals.” “We’re still in a learning process in most committees,” he added. . . “I assume [Reid]’s waiting to see what the various committees come up with before he makes any judgment,” Bingaman said. “He’s got a difficult job packaging it all up and figuring what the procedure ought to be that gets us to a positive conclusion.”
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
E&E News “To me, the more committees that are involved, the happier I am, because you get more and more colleagues that get to understand it, that get to be part of it,” Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters last week. “The more colleagues that play a role, the better.” . . . “I am going to have to walk away from some things I believe should be in the bill,” she said.
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Roll Call Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has been pressing to make sure the measure won’t create an incentive for manufacturing companies to move jobs overseas to China or India. Brown said he hasn’t gotten much traction in his push for trade protections, but he predicted that top negotiators could not afford to ignore him. “They don’t likely get a bill if they don’t deal with manufacturing,” he said.
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
E&E News Yet other Democrats on the committee, including Baucus and Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), will push Boxer toward the middle. “My hope is the legislation when it leaves our committee will be centrist,” Carper said.
E&E News Moments after hosting a DPC luncheon with three corporate executives who support cap-and-trade legislation last week, Dorgan took to the floor for about 10 minutes to question efforts in the Senate to move on climate via the House-passed bill. “I know a lot of work has gone into that legislation, but my preference would be that we start to explore other directions,” Dorgan said, citing concerns about speculative trading in the carbon markets.
Roll Call “I am for a low-carbon future,” Dorgan said. “But, in my judgment, those that would bring to the floor of the Senate a replication of what has been done in the House, with over 400 pages describing the cap-and-trade piece, will find very little favor from me, and I expect from some others as well. There are better, other and more direct ways to do this to protect our planet.”
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
E&E News There is no guarantee that the committee work will actually lead to the 60 votes needed to defeat an expected Republican filibuster. For instance, things have not gone as smoothly as Democrats hoped on health care, another of President Obama’s top agenda items. “I hope it’ll make them more open to a solution,” said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “It hasn’t worked that way on health care. Not yet.”
John Kerry (D-MA)
McCook Gazette Sen. Mike Johanns spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the impact cap-and-trade legislation would have on American agriculture. In advance of a hearing to be held on Wednesday in the Senate Agriculture Committee, Johanns outlined how agriculture will be hammered with increased production costs as a result of cap-and-trade. He reiterated that state- and commodity-specific analyses of cap-and-trade are essential for a successful evaluation of the true costs and Administration-promised benefits.
John McCain (R-AZ)
E&E News “I’m finding there’s a desire by the people we’re talking to to want to find a solution,” Kerry told reporters last week, citing meetings he has held with Brown, Lincoln, Pryor and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Roll Call Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who promised to enact global warming legislation during his 2008 presidential campaign, said none of the principal Democratic negotiators on climate change has reached out to him. He noted he is working, as he did last year, with Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on a climate change bill. “I have not lost my zeal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “But I don’t think [Democratic leaders] have any Republicans.”
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Roll Call “Right now we’re focused on health care, and no one wants to think about the next big hard thing until we finish this big hard thing,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said. She joked that the success of a climate bill could “depend on if we’re still speaking to each other after health care.”
Ben Nelson (D-NE)
E&E News “There is a tremendous amount of sequestering potential, but we have to have it work,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “It has to have a high level of integrity, if there is too much of a loophole it will be irrelevant and ineffective.”
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Roll Call Still, Democrats said the bare majority that House leaders eked out for their bill last month has many worried about the ability of Senate Democrats to cobble together the 60 votes needed to beat back a filibuster. “If they had a close vote in the House, it makes it more difficult in the Senate to get us to 60 votes,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), whose vote Democratic leaders will have to court.
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
E&E News Back across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be in position by late September to work through all of the different climate bills that clear the committees. At that point, he plans to open up his door to lawmakers who still have concerns and demands, following a pattern many remember in 1990 when then Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) helped construct the last major set of Clean Air Act amendments. “That’s what my responsibility is, so that’s what I have to do.” Reid told E&E last week. . . Asked about the path to 60 votes, Reid acknowledged he will have plenty of work to do at every stage of the process. “I’ve got six chairmen to deal with for beginners,” he said.
George Voinovich (R-OH)
E&E News Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a member of the Agriculture Committee, urged Harkin and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to play an even greater role in slowing down the climate bill compared with the House, where Peterson raised objections but ultimately went along for the ride. “I hope that both he [Harkin] and Saxby take the climate change bill by the horns and corral it,” Roberts said.
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
E&E News “If you just go through the members of the committee, and you figure it out, all of them are going to have some major problems,” said Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). “So they’re going to have to try and satisfy them. And in the process of trying to satisfy them, they’re going to lose support from the environmental groups that want us to throw the gauntlet down and take a leadership role.”
E&E News On the surface, Boxer’s EPW Committee would appear to be a cake walk for moving a climate bill. “We have a pretty distinct majority, so if we can’t, shame on us,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), referring to his party’s 12-7 edge in the committee. On her left, Boxer is hearing demands from Whitehouse and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to tighten up the emission limits beyond the House-passed bill’s 17 percent target for 2020. “Anything we can’t do goes off the table,” Whitehouse said last week. “The move on the Senate floor will be rightward. And therefore, we’ve got to do our job to keep as many possibilities open for the floor as possible.”
Senate Watch: Alexander, Bond, Boxer, Carper, Chambliss, Corker, Inhofe, Kerry, Kyl, Landrieu, Lincoln, McCain, Murkowski, Reid, Voinovich, Whitehouse
U.S. Senators making the news on climate change and clean energy.
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
E&E News Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) challenged Democrats for pushing a climate bill that he said would pick winners and losers in the energy industry. “I wonder why we have a national windmill policy instead of a national clean energy policy,” said Alexander, himself an outspoken advocate for nuclear power.
Kit Bond (R-MO)
WSJ So much talk about wind turbines exhausted the patience of Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, who again called for a nuclear solution to America’s energy woes. “Is nuclear power renewable energy?” he asked Mr. Doerr.
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Reuters “My fear is that what the recession and faulty management decisions did to the auto industry, the U.S. Congress will do intentionally to the rest of Midwest manufacturing—kill U.S. jobs and drive many of them overseas to China,” said Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri.
Politico Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who faces an uphill fight in shepherding the bill through the Senate, says she appreciates all the attention from up the street. “It’s really been a pleasure for me, because last time I did this, I had an administration that was fighting me at every turn,” she said. “Here, I have a very supportive administration, so it’s a very nice change for us.”
E&E News “I think it’s very important we understand that the approach we’re taking, we don’t pick winners or losers. We put a cap on carbon and let the marketplace do it,” Boxer said. She highlighted the U.S. EPA analysis of the House bill that estimates it could lead to 260 new 1,000 megawatt nuclear plants by 2050. After Alexander called on President Obama to support his proposal for more nuclear plants, Boxer replied: “It is very clear he doesn’t have to support your proposal. His [support of the House bill] results in more nuclear power plants being built.” Boxer added after a hearing yesterday, “I think if you look at Waxman-Markey, the prediction is there being well over 100 nuke plants. I don’t know that we’ll need to have more than that. But we’ll certainly look at all of these issues.”
IB Times “When we unleash the American innovative spirit, we will drive economic growth and create jobs and create whole new industries here at home. American entrepreneurs will create jobs,” Chairman Barbara Boxer said. Boxer also said the Senate will do “more than protect consumers.” “You are going to hear some widely different views on how much is going to cost consumers,” Boxer told the panel. “But we have the modeling and we know what it is, we know what the Waxman-Markey bill shows,” Boxer added.
Talk Radio News “At the end of the day, our competitiveness in the world economy will depend on how we face the challenge of global warming,” said Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.)
E&E News “I expect there will be a modest nuclear title in the bill coming out of committee and we will add to that on the floor,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, told reporters earlier this week. This conclusion comes after discussions with Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), he said.
E&E News Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), for example, took issue with EPW ranking member James Inhofe after the Oklahoma Republican interrupted him during questioning. “Damn it,” Carper said. “I want to be given the respect that I gave you.”
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Reuters Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, a Democrat, said the extra time will give lawmakers more time to craft a better bill. “We have this extra two months, it’s been almost a gift. We need to put it to good use,” Carper said. He said Democrats could possibly attract more support from moderate Republicans by doing more to promote nuclear power in the legislation. “I think it’s important for us to remember that nuclear energy is carbon free and that there is an expanded role for nuclear,” Carper said.
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
E&E News Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), another possible supporter, said the money or free allocations flowing to special interests is “offensive.” “Certainly our energy bill has nuclear in it and hopefully it sees the light of day, but it is not going to make up for the tremendous defects that occur in the House bill,” Corker said.
IB Times A major new energy bill won’t spur economic development and create new jobs, Republican Senators said Thursday during a public hearing. . . “If the bill actually creates jobs then there will be no need for any of these, a section on unemployment benefits, job relocation and all the rest of that,” Oklahoma Senator Inhofe said during his opening comments at the hearings today.
John Kerry (D-MA)
Talk Radio News “Waxman-Markey is a tax increase on the American people, that’s the whole point of cap-and-trade, which is to make energy more expensive so we use it less,” said Ranking Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Politico In March, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) hosted a dinner at his Georgetown home to discuss how to move climate change legislation through the Senate. Attendees included Chu, Stern, Jackson, energy and climate czar Carol Browner, science and technology adviser John Holdren and Stern’s deputy, Jonathan Pershing. Economic adviser Lawrence Summers was to be there, too, but canceled after Obama called him away for a last-minute meeting. “Everyone is involved,” said Kerry. “People are all doing a lot of different meetings and coming together each week to share the information and strategy.”
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers “At a time when the economy remains shaky and unemployment has reached a 25-year high, Congress should not be considering new taxes. They would be bad for families and would slow the economic recovery as well. The Senate could take up the House legislation, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, though it may not do so until September. That would give all Americans time to register their opinions on the bill. . . This year won’t be the first time that the Senate has considered cap-and-trade. In 2008, similar legislation went down to defeat, and this year’s version will once again face opposition from Senate Republicans and some moderate Democrats. If Americans communicate their opinions about this bill to their representatives in Congress, I am convinced it can be defeated again.”
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
E&E News “Adding a nuclear title to the climate change bill would be just one of many improvements needed to secure Senator Landrieu’s vote,” said Aaron Saunders, a spokesman for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
John McCain (R-AZ)
E&E News Fellow fence-sitter Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) also wants to see incentives for nuclear energy in any climate bill she would support but also more for biomass, natural gas and other fuels as part of an “all of the above” approach, Lincoln spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum said.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
E&E News Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a key potential Republican supporter, told reporters this week including a nuclear title is “vital” to his support for a climate bill. But McCain has also roundly criticized many other parts of the House climate bill, which Boxer has stated is the starting point for her committee draft. McCain said the “1,400-page monstrosity” House bill contains too many giveaways to special interests and trade protection measures.
Harry Reid (D-NV)
E&E News Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would welcome a stronger nuclear title in the climate bill but there are several other problems, such as the cost of the bill, said spokesman Robert Dillon. “At this point she is not supporting a cap-and-trade bill,” Dillon said. “No one can give us a clear estimate about the cost. ... There are more questions than answers that people need to have before they are going to say they are going to start supporting this bill.”
George Voinovich (R-OH)
E&E News Reid this week said he would be open to a nuclear component but, “we just have to do it the right way.”
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
E&E News Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said authors of the House bill knew this when they wrote provisions that set up Labor Department-led worker retraining programs. “There’s no credible analysis that suggests this bill will be a net job creator,” Voinovich said.
Politico Administration officials have also been frequent visitors to a regular Tuesday meeting of as many as 20 senators focused on climate and energy legislation. Jackson, Stern, Browner, senior political strategist David Axelrod and legislative liaison Jay Heimbach have all attended the meeting. “When they are invited, they come,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a frequent attendee. “We’ve been very pleased by the responsiveness of the administration.”
From the Wonk Room.
Pennsylvania’s Sen. Arlen Specter, who announced his switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party today, will remain a key swing vote in a Senate locked by GOP filibusters on green economy legislation like cap and trade, renewable energy standards, and green jobs programs. Specter will be joining a bloc of conservative Democratic senators who are publicly skeptical of President Obama’s clean energy agenda, and who have repeatedly voted against Obama’s proposal to place limits on global warming pollution:
- Supporting a filibuster for green economy legislation
- Roll call votes #125, 126, and 164.
- Requiring that green economy legislation not affect the cost of energy production or use
- Roll call votes #116, 117, and 169.
Ideologically, Specter is in line with Democrats like Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), who worries that Obama’s clean economy proposal may “suck money” from his state, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who is “against forcing petrochemical companies” to “bear the brunt of new costs,” and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who worries cap and trade “could have a negative impact on our economy.”
Specter, whose top donors include the electric utilities Exelon Corporation and PPL Corporation, has told Pennsylvania students that “his main platform in running for re-election is global warming.”