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Reid Promises to Move Climate Bill Before Immigration

Updated: 4:52 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) maintained Tuesday he will bring up climate legislation ahead of an immigration bill, noting the former “is much farther down the road in terms of a product.”

“Immigration and energy are equally vital to our economic and national security and we’ve ignored both of them for far too long,” Reid told reporters after the weekly caucus lunch. “I’m committed to doing both this session of Congress.”

Reid’s comments were in response to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) recent criticism that the Majority Leader was favoring a push on immigration, an issue that might play well in Nevada and boost Reid’s embattled re-election efforts. Graham announced over the weekend he was abandoning talks on climate change because Democrats were prematurely pushing immigration. As the lone Republican negotiator on both issues, Graham’s recent move has largely stalled progress on both issues.

“It’s my understanding that they had a bill that they were going to give to us this Monday until Graham backed out on the deal,” Reid told reporters. “So common sense dictates that if you have a bill that’s ready to go, that’s the one I’m going to go to, because immigration we don’t have a bill yet.”

Even while a deal has yet to emerge on immigration, Reid maintained: “Others may have given up on immigration but I haven’t.”

Reid issued blanketed criticism of Republicans for holding up progress on other key issues, specifically financial regulatory reform. Senate Democrats failed Monday night to clear a key procedural hurdle to begin debate on a sweeping financial reform bill, falling two votes shy of the 60 they needed to bring the measure to the floor.

“They want all the disagreements to end before discussions begin. That’s unprecedented,” Reid said of Republican demands to resolve a handful of sticking points before proceeding on the floor.

Reid noted Monday night’s vote was only to begin debate and amend on the bill, which has prompted heated partisan squabbling in recent weeks. The chamber is set to vote on another procedural motion Tuesday afternoon.

“The bill that’s before the Senate is not a finished product, but it’s certainly ready for prime time,” Reid noted. “Republicans say they want to offer amendments but we can’t do that until we go to a bill.”

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