Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., officially backed away from climate change legislation Friday, citing the current political environment will make it “impossible” to pass the bill.
The senator had recently threatened to withhold support when talks of an immigration bill loomed, but he made it official in a statement.
“We should move forward in a reasoned, thoughtful manner and in a political climate which gives us the best chance at success. Regrettably, in my view, this has become impossible in the current environment,” Graham said.
And he points to “cynical politics of comprehensive immigration reform hanging over the Senate” as part of the problem, which he says has “significantly compromised” a “serious debate on energy legislation.”
In addition, there’s the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, which has also buoyed opposition among Democrats to new drilling -- something Graham says was in the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham climate bill, with revenue-sharing.
Graham is concerned -- as many are, like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, that new safety measures would be developed and put in place as an outgrowth of the spill investigation -- BEFORE more drilling occurs.
“As a Senator from a coastal state, and in light of the historic oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, I think it makes sense to find out what happened, enact safety measures to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future, and then build consensus for the expanded offshore drilling our nation needs,” said Graham.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has said he intends to introduce the bill next week, with just he and Sen. Lieberman, I-Conn.
Lieberman said, "Lindsey [Graham] will not be standing at the podium."
Sens. Kerry and Lieberman issued a joint statement and vowed to move foward.
"We are more encouraged today that we can secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year in part because the last (few) 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," Kerry and Lieberman said.