June 25, 2009
Summer snow would sink the bill
Al Gore not coming to D.C.
Former Vice President Al Gore canceled plans to fly to Washington for a news conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, and instead was working the phones from Tennessee to help push a landmark climate bill to passage.
Friday's vote on the measure is expected to be close, but multiple sources on both sides of the aisle say they're confident that the bill will pass — with some Republican votes — following a deal between House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson,
"It's a question of what was energy efficient for the vice president," Pelosi said of the decision to keep Gore in Tennessee. "We were narrowing the list of the undecideds. We had a great narrowing of the undecideds."
The speaker, President Barack Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel were all telephoning undecided or wavering House members in both parties.
As part of their efforts, Obama added a last-minute Rose Garden event in which he was to make "brief remarks on the importance of passing a historic energy bill that will create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
The American Clean Energy and Security Act, better known as the Waxman-Markey bill, would cut greenhouse-gas while promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The measure, which is likely to have a tough go in the Senate, is a linchpin of Obama's first-year agenda. A victory would give the White House momentum going into a vote on health care later this summer.
Pelosi asked Gore to cancel last night saying she would prefer to have him on the ground making calls "not in the air for five and a half hours," according to an aide.
Gore, who has continued to make the climate crisis his signature issue, was to hold a press availability with House leaders and committee chairs at 2 p.m. in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol.
The speaker's office sent this notification to reporters Thursday morning:
"As the list of undecided Members narrowed, the Speaker thought it was unnecessary to impose on the Vice President's schedule to travel to Washington, and instead to continue coordinating efforts from Tennessee," spokesman Drew Hammill said in an e-mail.
Gore, who was coming at the invitation of the speaker, was going to make the case for strong action one of the President's top priorities — energy and global warming — without delay. He supports the House bill as the way to cut pollution, make dramatic increases in using energy efficiently, and increase use of renewable energy, which will boost jobs and improve our national security.
Earlier this week, Gore held a conference call to mobilize more than 10,000 of his Repower America grassroots activists