A lame-duck climate bill solution?
The latest idea making the rounds in Washington to break the stare-down between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which has jeopardized energy and immigration proposals this year: Push energy now, save immigration for after the November midterms.
Recapping the drama that got us here: Graham is working with Democrats on both bills. He's mad that Reid shifted course and suggested last week that immigration might go first. (Graham says that bill isn't ready, and the vote, sure to fail, would only serve to demonize Republicans among Latino voters.) So on Saturday Graham threatened to withhold support for the energy bill unless Reid promised energy would go first.
A few meetings and angry press statements later, we've hit Day 4 of the saga, with opinions beginning to vary widely on when -- or whether -- the trio of senators who have been drafting the climate bill will recombine forces and unveil it to the world.
Now comes the lame-duck idea, which would, in theory, allow Democrats to shore up Latino support before midterms by promising an immigration vote without forcing a vote that many Senate Dems and Republicans don't want to take. Energy would proceed, but still face a steep hill to passage.
A lot of climate activists seem to like that compromise. But Reid spokesman Jim Manley says "it is not going anywhere."
In other words: Stay tuned.
-- Jim Tankersley in Washington