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Apr. 25 2010 - 4:28 pm | 271 views | 0 recommendations | 14 comments

Lindsey Graham withdraws support for climate bill, take three

WASHINGTON - JULY 20: In this photo provided b...

Lindsey Graham and John Kerry. Image by Getty Images via Daylife

With startling consistency, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) withdrew his support for the climate bill that will bear his name for a third time this weekend, and then reportedly, for a third time, reconsidered.

In mid-December Graham announced he would join Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman in crafting a tri-partisan energy bill that would begin to shift the United States away from fossil fuels. He seemed to withdraw that support before the month was over, saying the way the Democrats passed health-care reform in the House had “made it very hard for Republicans to sit down at the table with these guys.”

Graham soon clarified, promising he would continue to work on the bill. But then in March, when the Democrats advanced health-care reform in the Senate, Graham said on ABC’s This Week: “If they do this, it is going to poison the well for anything else they would like to achieve this year or thereafter.”

A week later, Graham recanted, promising the well was not so poisoned that he wouldn’t continue to work with Kerry and Lieberman on the energy bill.

With the energy bill expected to be announced Monday, Graham withdrew support for a third time on Saturday, now because of immigration reform, which Graham characterized as a cynical political ploy by Democrats to win Latino votes in the upcoming election. Kerry and Lieberman canceled the press conference they had scheduled on Monday.

But only a day later Lieberman was expressing confidence that Graham would withdraw his threat yet again:

Lieberman said Reid pledged to bring the energy bill to the full Senate as soon as possible this year. In a separate conversation, according to Lieberman, Graham reiterated his support for the energy bill once it’s no longer tangled up with immigration legislation.

“Now I’m encouraged,” Lieberman said. Asked when the energy bill might advance, he said, “Sometime soon, as soon as we can get Lindsey on board.”

via Lieberman encouraged energy bill will be on track, Associated Press.

The Energy Bill is expected to be loaded with concessions to coal, oil, and agriculture to make it more palatable to Republicans and conservative Democrats. Even if Graham were the sole Republican vote, his support would give the Democrats the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster.


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  1. collapse expand

    Dems should get rid of the filibuster (an easy procedure) and then proceed to get rid of the Republicans.

    Bring back the Whigs.

  2. collapse expand

    I’m not sure how you’re estimating my estimation, boyfromthebuck, but I will say that I have seen in my lifetime a couple of significant third party efforts in presidential elections, and both have served to enable the election of the party most distant from the agenda they claimed to hold dear: Perot-Bush-Clinton in 92, Nader-Gore-Bush II in 00. That’s not to say there couldn’t be a different outcome or that a sincere third party effort couldn’t arise. But third parties are like boycotts: they don’t work half-assed.

    • collapse expand

      That is assuming that all 3rd parties are all deserters of the same party. I think that there are a lot of non-partisan issues that our government is messing up. I am currently doing research on lobbying ethics (specifically in Congress). Surely level headed people from both parties can realize both sides partake in dirty deals. This is one of a hundred different issues. However that is the true reality: 3rd parties definitely do not work half assed the first time. They may attract enough attention though to prove that it is possible. It may take 10 or 15 years, but don’t count it out.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        bftb… Thank you for a view into our future that is best offered form the perspective of a college student. It’s gonna be your world to straighten out after these lying buffoons in make-up occupying Washington make a humongous mess of things and leave your generation the bill. In the mean time, most older voters can’t find time to take a break from casting aspersions at the other side to see the rot within their own parties. See Carl Christensen giving them no-good idiot republicans the “raspberries” above. Blue liars, red liars. There all the same!

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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    About Me

    Environmental reporting recruited me 25 years ago—on my first day as a reporter for my college newspaper, when I discovered my college was discarding radioactive waste in the regular city trash. Since then I've written hard news for dailies, including the Arizona Republic, and slanty news for alternative weeklies, including Newcity. I've written a column for New Times, stories on the Web for Forecast Earth, essays for PEN International and other magazines. I lived in an idyllic California village nestled among volcanoes and vineyards until my batteries were full of sunshine, and then I returned to my origins on the South Side of Chicago, where hope persists with no illusions about the struggle ahead. I cross the asphalt jungle by bicycle and el, mostly to get to the University of Chicago, where I teach journalism. But what matters more than any of this is a lifelong love for the natural world. We are all born with it, I believe, but some turn away.

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