Lieberman Optimistic About Climate Talks

Posted April 26, 2010 at 12:37pm

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) expressed optimism Monday that talks on climate change legislation will get back on track this year despite recent comments by a key Republican negotiator on the bill.

Appearing on MSNBC, Lieberman, one of the three Senators leading the climate talks, predicted negotiations would resume once there was a “clear understanding” about the procedural relationship between climate change and immigration reform legislation.

Plans for a Monday rollout of a climate bill collapsed over the weekend after Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the key Republican negotiator on the issue, dropped out following public statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicating that immigration legislation could move to the floor before a climate bill.

Lieberman predicted that the pushback from Graham would effectively put the climate bill on the front burner, where Lieberman thought it should be.

“I think that means we’re not going to get immigration reform done this year,” Lieberman said. “But we can still do energy and climate.”

A Lieberman spokesman said he was “optimistic that everything can be worked out and move forward” and characterized the delay as “a procedural hiccup.”

Lieberman was expected to meet with Graham and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Monday evening to discuss the status of their legislation, Democratic aides said.