Will climate change legislation go the way of immigration reform – pushed off the congressional agenda by more pressing matters?
Not if U.S Senate Democrats can help it, according to Politico.
The Democrats are reportedly urging President Barack Obama to intervene on the struggling legislation.
The latest blow to the bill was the withdrawal of support from Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C), who threatened to vote against the measure if Congress moved forward with immigration reform, even though he co-authored the legislation with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass) and Joe Liberman (I-Conn).
“I care equally about immigration and climate change,” Graham said in a subsequent interview with the Washington Post. “But if you stack them together this year you’ll compromise climate and energy. You’ll compromise my ability to get votes on climate change. When I told everyone I would do climate, in fact, I was assured we also wouldn’t be doing immigration.”
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats believe Obama should speak personally with Graham, a senator who has been willing to work across the aisle in the past.
Still, Graham may not be the only roadblock.
Now there’s discussion about if the recent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could hinder the measure by providing yet another congressional distraction and dividing partisan support for offshore drilling, which is a key component of the bill.
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report released this week noted that climate change can cause deaths from heat waves, property damage from floods and rising seas from melting glaciers.
Environmentalists said the report showed the need for a new energy and climate law.
It remains to be seen whether legislators can piece shattered support for the bill together in time to get such a law passed this year.