The Unraveling of a Climate Bill

Who's to blame?

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The prospects for a Senate climate bill look dimmer than ever. The first bad sign came with reports that the White House and Harry Reid planned to prioritize immigration before climate change. That move triggered an unexpected display of brinkmanship by Senator Lindsey Graham, a key Republican supporting a climate bill. Graham issued a letter Saturday saying he could no longer support a climate bill if Democrats were going to put immigration first. “Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,” Graham said. Should Graham be applauded for trying to prioritize a climate bill or is he bowing to pressures from his own party? Does the Democratic leadership deserve blame? Here's what buzzing around the web:

  • What Is Harry Reid Thinking? asks Jonathan Chait at The New Republic: "The cost of shelving climate for immigration is probably to kill both... If this is Reid's decision, the White House needs to come down hard on him. It's outrageous to sacrifice a chance to make progress on the biggest single policy challenge merely to increase the reelection chances of one Senator. This episode also shows, again, why it's a bad idea to have your Senate leader hail from a state that leans toward the opposing party."
  • Graham's Decision Is Stupid But Understandable, reasons Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly: "I'm not entirely unsympathetic to Graham's concerns -- all things considered, it makes more sense to me to tackle climate before immigration -- but his tactical demands are a little over the top. In effect, Graham is saying, 'Do things in the order I prefer or I'll kill both major legislative initiatives.'"
  • You Can Do Both, Graham! scolds Charles Lemos at Direct Democracy: "Apparently, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina can't walk and chew gum at the same time legislatively speaking... While I share Senator Graham's view that this bill is priority one that shouldn't preclude the Senate from moving forward on multiple legislative priorities. If we can only tackle one issue at a time, our government is indeed dysfunctional."
  • Kudos to Lindsey Graham: Defer, Deflect and Delay Energy Tax, cheers Doug Ross at Director Blue: "I've given Lindsey Graham plenty of grief over the years, but he deserves our praise today."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.