Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that work on a climate change bill should halt until Congress deals with the “uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the [Gulf of Mexico] oil spill.”
In a statement released by his office, Graham said he supports addressing climate change in a “reasoned, thoughtful manner,” but that Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) refusal to take immigration reform off the table for the year, combined with the Gulf oil spill, makes that impossible.
“Regrettably, in my view, this has become impossible in the current environment. I believe there could be more than 60 votes for this bipartisan concept in the future,” Graham said. “But there are not nearly 60 votes today and I do not see them materializing until we deal with the uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the oil spill.”
Graham had been working with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on climate change legislation until he pulled out abruptly late last month due to Reid’s ongoing work on immigration.
Although Graham’s decision appeared to doom climate legislation for the year, Kerry and Lieberman soldiered on in their efforts, and on Thursday Kerry vowed to introduce the bill next week — and said Graham would vote for the legislation.
“We’re not going to try, we’re going to do what we’re going to do,” Kerry said, adding that Graham is “going to vote for the bill whether he’s with us” at the unveiling or not.