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House Dems Are Working to Persuade Senate Dems on Climate Bill

PITTSBURGH – Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), a strong progressive voice on climate change, made a surprise appearance at an environmental panel here at Netroots Nation. He urged the liberal bloggers present to apply their energy to get a climate bill passed in the Senate.

I asked him what he and his fellow House members who passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act are doing to try to persuade their Senate counterparts to pass a bill. And it appears they’ve done more than has been widely reported.

Shortly after the passage of the House bill, Inslee said, he and a group of Democratic congressmen met with 14 moderate Democratic senators to discuss the legislation. He was surprised at their reception.

“I’ve never seen this happen before in my entire time in public life: there were members of the United States Senate actually listening to members of the House of Representatives,” he said. “There wasn’t one of them that looked like a closed mind to me.”

“Our job is to help them find a way to get to yes,” he continued. “But the attitude that we have is not threatening or intimidating, it’s, ‘How can we help you get to yes? What issue can we help you with?’”

Inslee’s two home-state senators are solid “yes” votes on climate legislation, but his colleagues, particularly those from Midwestern states, could have a real impact if, as Inslee said, they continue to pressure their Senate colleagues.

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