THE VINE APRIL 26, 2010
As Jon Chait noted over the weekend, the fate of the Senate climate bill has suddenly been thrown in doubt. Lindsey Graham is pissed off that Harry Reid wants to do immigration next instead of energy, and he's threatened to pull out of negotiations. Without Graham's support, the climate bill isn't going anywhere.
So everything's up in the air right now. The Hill reports that John Kerry and Joe Lieberman—the other two main authors—are trying to salvage the bill, and it even sounds like Reid's softening a bit:
“We need [Graham] to come back. Our hope is something can be worked out where he's comfortable about the separation of these two issues and the primacy of energy and climate legislation in Sen. Reid's scheduling,” Lieberman told the Journal.
Lieberman, according to the Journal, also said Reid told him Sunday that the majority leader is “ready to do energy and climate legislation as soon as it's ready and that he assumes it will be ready sooner than immigration reform.”
Reid has not commented specifically on sequencing of the measures, but hinted in a statement Saturday that a climate and energy package is further along than an immigration bill.
“I am committed to trying to enact comprehensive clean energy legislation this session of Congress. Doing so will require strong bipartisan support and energy could be next if it's ready,” Reid said. “I have also said we will try to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This too will require bipartisan support and significant committee work that has not yet begun.”
Update: Lieberman's sounding more optimistic:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Monday that he'd been told that an energy bill would be brought to the Senate floor this year, even possibly before immigration. ...
Lieberman said he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about the upcoming legislative calendar, and that the leader said he would be willing to bring up whichever bill is ready first, which an energy and climate bill appears to be.
"He said to me as explicitly as anyone could: he's going to give the energy bill floor time this year," Lieberman said during an appearance on MSNBC. "Harry Reid said to me yesterday that he will take up whichever of these two bills is ready first am he knows our bill is ready and the immigration reform bill is not.”