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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may not have the votes she had last summer to secure passage of climate change legislation — support she previously had from eight Republicans.

Roll Call reports that at least four of the eight Republican members who voted for the climate change bill on June 26 (the bill barely passed 219-212) have since taken back their support, noting that Democrats would have to look elsewhere for additional votes. Reps. Mike Castle (R-DE) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), who are both running for the Senate, say they now oppose the House-passed bill

“What I know now is not what I knew then,” Castle told the news source, noting that he does not support provisions contained in the bill — “most significantly about the potential adverse effects that a cap-and-trade system to curb emissions would have on businesses and the economy.”

Waning Republican support could force Pelosi to find moderate Democrats who are willing to switch their position. Meanwhile, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) “predicted unified GOP opposition should a climate change bill come before the House this year.”

“I don’t think there’s any question that the support that the Republicans gave to that bill in the House has certainly eroded,” Cantor told the news source. “My sense would be that they’d be hard-pressed to get any Republican support at this point.”

Meanwhile, a Democratic leadership aide told Roll Call that there is still hope for passage by November because the Senate bill climate change bill is still in play.

“We have been waiting on the Senate to act for some months now,” the aide commented, adding that if the Senate passed a bill, “the prospects of us being able to send something to the president would be extremely high.” Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) could introduce a climate change bill as early as next week.

However, to get Republican support, the Senate bill would have to “replace an economy-wide cap-and-trade system with a sector-by-sector approach,” notes the news source.

Nacs News, 16 April 2010