Because of disagreements about offshore drilling and immigration reform, a key Republican senator negotiating with Democrats on a climate change bill that it is “become impossible” to get the legislation passed right now.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the one doing the complaining:
“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. 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.”
Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to overcome such filibusters:
In April, Graham threatened to withhold personal support for the climate and energy legislation because he was peeved that Democrats said that they would take up a rewrite of immigration policy; which forced his Democrat partners, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman to postpone unveiling the legislation, which aimed to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020.
Kerry and Lieberman have since decided to unveil the bill on May 12th.
About the oil spill in the Gulf, Senator Graham said:
“Some believe the oil spill has enhanced the chances energy legislation will succeed. I do not share their view…When it comes to getting 60 votes for legislation that includes additional oil and gas drilling with revenue sharing, the climb has gotten steeper because of the oil spill.”
Senators Kerry and Lieberman released the following joint statement which comes as news to the relief of Graham:
“We appreciate Senator Graham’s statement of his continued commitment to passing comprehensive energy independence legislation. Over the past several months we have worked with Senator Graham and he has made a significant contribution to construct balanced legislation that will make our country energy independent, create jobs and curb pollution. Senator Graham has been our partner in building a broad-based coalition of support for legislation that can pass the Senate this year…”
“…Over the last three weeks, we all understand Lindsey has been busy with the immigration issue and we understand his feelings on that issue, but during this period we’ve continued working, moving forward, and talking in great detail with our Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and with the environmental and business communities. We’ve continued to work with the Senate leadership and the White House, and we believe we’ve made new progress on the path to 60 votes…”
“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. Our optimism is bolstered because there is a growing and unprecedented bi-partisan coalition from the business, national security, faith and environmental communities that supports our legislation and is energized to work hard and get it passed. 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.”