A Closer Look at the Climate Change Vote

Late last week, the U.S. House voted 219-212 to pass climate change legislation. It is one of what will be a long series of contentious debates and votes during the current session. Although Democrats have a strong majority in the House, this was not a party-line vote. A few of the facts:

  • Forty-four Democrats voted against the measure, with 211 voting for it. Thus, it took some of the eight Republican "yes" votes for the bill to pass
  • Those numbers may be slightly misleading, however, as some of the Dems switched their votes when the total reached 220. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says some of those 44 would have been with her party’s majority to ensure the bill’s passage
  • This topic has often been referred to as geographical rather than political. According to analysis from the National Journal, 30 of the 121 Democrats from states that generate at least 40% of their power from coal (think Indiana and its 95% coal use) voted against the bill. Only 14 of the 134 Democrats from states that are less reliant on coal joined in the opposition
  • On the political side, Sen. John McCain carried 49 districts last year in which Democrats were elected to the House. Twenty-nine of those reps voted against the measure. In the 207 districts that voted for both Democratic reps and President Obama, only 15 voted against the bill

Political dynamics will continue to be at play — they always are. But each issue, each vote, will prove interesting with different legislators and regions coming to the forefront. Stay tuned for plenty more to come.