Climate Bill | Lindsey Graham pulls support, introduction delayed

Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham has pulled his support of a climate bill - over an immigration dispute. Image from Flickr.

This morning, a coalition of Democratic senators, Republican Lindsey Graham, business leaders, religious leaders and military officials were scheduled to debut their “grand compromise” climate bill. However, this weekend dueling press releases and political positioning led Lindsey Graham to pull his support for the climate bill. The climate bill has been in Senate negotiations for months, and was set to ask government and companies to take payday cash advances to improve their environmental impact and promote green technology. The bill is not entirely dead, and Lindsey Graham may still return to the list of sponsors.

Lindsey Graham pulls climate bill support

When Senate leaders began drafting a compromise climate bill, Lindsey Graham was one of the very few Republican senators that showed a willingness to negotiate. John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham were crafting the legislation to address climate change and energy policy within the United States. A comprehensive climate bill is one of the stated Obama administration priories. Without Lindsey Graham’s support, the climate bill is in question, though the White House has said it will still “work to secure bipartisan agreement.”

Immigration reform at issue for climate bill

Lindsey Graham did not pull support for the climate bill because of any particular provision of that legislation. Instead, in his statement removing his support of the climate Bill, Graham calls out the White House and Democratic leaders for their insistence on an immigration reform bill. An immigration reform bill has been on the docket to be discussed for a long while, though the White House and Democrats have pushed for forward motion on the issue much sooner. Lindsey Graham has stated that this “bait-and-switch” of issues is akin to instant payday loans no faxing – taking one issue now at the possible cost of another later. Graham believes that highly-charged Senate debate on illegal immigration would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to discuss and pass a climate bill.

Lindsey Graham’s work on climate and immigration

Lindsey Graham has been under significant pressure from Republican leaders to not work with Democratic senators on crafting a climate bill. Graham has been the bridge in the heavily divided Senate, providing much-needed bipartisan support for contentious legislation. However, Graham has stated that by including immigration and climate in the same Senate session, leaders will not be able to make progress on both issues. In his statement removing support, Graham explained his actions by saying:

“But I will not allow him to play one issue off of another, and neither will the American people. They expect us to do both, and they will not accept the notion that trying to act on one is an excuse for not acting on the other.”

So what do you think? Can the heavily divided Senate address immigration reform and a climate bill in the same session?

New York Times