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Swing Senators Urge Climate Action

The Senate is expected to pass the House’s health care reconciliation fix this week — and after the upper chamber’s members return from spring recess, they can finally turn their attention to other major legislation. But environmental advocates have feared that with a jobs bills, financial regulation and possibly immigration reform on the table, comprehensive climate legislation could get pushed back until it’s too late.

Today, 22 Democratic senators signed a letter urging action on a climate bill this year. And while the support of less than half the Democratic caucus wouldn’t ordinarily be noteworthy, what’s interesting here is the makeup of the letter’s signatories: They’re almost all moderates or representatives of states with significant industrial or fossil fuel interests. Take a look at the list (via Dave Roberts):

  • Tom Udall (NM)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
  • Michael Bennet (CO)
  • Kay Hagan (NC)
  • Ron Wyden (OR)
  • Mark Begich (AK)
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)
  • Tom Harkin (IA)
  • Tom Carper (DE)
  • Mark Udall (CO)
  • Al Franken (MN)
  • Debbie Stabenow (MI)
  • Jeff Merkley (OR)
  • Patty Murray (WA)
  • Ted Kaufman (DE)
  • [Roland] Burris (IL)
  • Bob Casey Jr. (PA)
  • Mark Warner (VA)
  • Maria Cantwell (WA)
  • Arlen Specter (PA)
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Not exactly jam-packed with coastal liberals. As Roberts points out, Casey, Begich, Tester, Stabenow and Cantwell are all arguably fence-sitters on the issue — and a number of others have expressed reservations about carbon-capping legislation.

The full letter is available here (PDF).

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