Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on Friday brushed off calls from erstwhile partner Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to halt work on climate change legislation, announcing they will roll out their bill on Wednesday.
“We look forward to rolling-out the legislation next Wednesday and passing the legislation with the support of Senator Graham and other Republicans, Democrats and Independents this year,” the two Senators said in a statement.
But that stands in stark contrast to a statement from Graham earlier in the day in which he called for the entire climate change effort to be shelved until Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) takes comprehensive immigration reform off the table and Congress addresses the oil crisis off the Gulf Coast.
“I believe there could be more than 60 votes for this bipartisan concept in the future. 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 said.
Kerry and Lieberman did not directly address the oil disaster in their statement, nor did they try to counter arguments by many that the oil spill could doom climate change legislation because it includes provisions to expand offshore oil drilling.
However, Kerry and Lieberman do make what appears to be an oblique reference to the disaster, arguing that, “We are more encouraged today that we can secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year in part because the last weeks have given everyone with a stake in this issue a heightened understanding that as a nation, we can no longer wait to solve this problem which threatens our economy, our security and our environment.”