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Obama White House Pushing Senate On Climate Change Bill

July 17, 2009

Every White House needs to find its way forward in the battles with Congress.  Watching the Obama White House over the past month it has become clear that there is a ratcheting up of pressure and intent by this administration to get action on measures that were high on the wish list of the American public in the last election.  This article today in Politico makes the point very clear.  The Obama White House, six months into the job,  has found their footing.   

Stung by complaints that it did too little, too late in the House, the Obama administration has launched an intense, senator-by-senator effort to push climate change legislation through the Senate.

 Call it climatedate.com.

 The White House is working closely with Senate Democratic aides to match each skeptical senator with the Cabinet member or other key administration official most likely to be persuasive.

 So Midwestern Democrats like Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who worry that the bill could send manufacturing jobs abroad, can expect a sit-down with Todd Stern, the State Department’s special envoy for climate change. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who wants the bill to include more domestic energy production and greater emphasis on nuclear power, can expect to hear directly from Energy SecretarySteven Chu.

 Skeptical senators could also get high-profile White House meetings with the president himself.

 Over the past two weeks, five Cabinetsecretaries — Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — have testified in support of the legislation before the Environment and Public Works Committee.

 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.”

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