Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Friday that a “cynical” push for immigration reform by President Obama and Democrats have “significantly compromised” his bipartisan work on energy legislation.
Graham, in a statement, called for Congress to “pause the process and reassess where we stand.”
Work on energy legislation is “impossible” in the current political environment “until we deal with the uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the oil spill.”
The full statement is below:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these statements on cap-and-trade, offshore drilling, and future prospects of energy reform legislation.
On the Death of Cap-and-Trade
“The House-passed cap and trade bill is dead. It has been replaced by a new model that focuses on energy independence, job creation and cleaner air.
“I appreciate the work of Senators Kerry and Lieberman who have been good allies in trying to move this debate in a new, more productive direction. I am particularly proud of the efforts we have made in creating a renaissance in nuclear power which leads to energy security and fosters job creation.
“As I have previously indicated, a serious debate on energy legislation is significantly compromised with the cynical politics of comprehensive immigration reform hanging over the Senate. In addition to immigration, we now have to deal with a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which creates new policy and political challenges not envisioned in our original discussions. In light of this, I believe it would be wise to pause the process and reassess where we stand.”
On Offshore Drilling and Gulf Coast Disaster
“Some believe the oil spill has enhanced the chances energy legislation will succeed. I do not share their view. Our original legislation included an expansion of off shore drilling with revenue sharing. It doesn’t take long for one to conclude that opposition to expanded offshore drilling with revenue sharing has grown among certain Senate Democrats. Some have even declared energy legislation “dead on arrival” if it contains an expansion of offshore drilling. I respect their position and I know they are sincere in their beliefs. However, I have come to a different conclusion on the issue and strongly believe that in order to become energy independent we must include these options.
“When it comes to getting 60 votes for legislation that includes additional oil and gas drilling with revenue sharing, the climb has gotten steeper because of the oil spill.
“I remain committed to safely expanding offshore drilling because I know oil will be part of our nation’s energy plan for years to come. Every barrel we can find in the United States is one less we have to import from OPEC. And today, some of the dollars we spend on imported oil find their way into the hands of terrorists who wish to harm our nation.
“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.”
Future Prospects for Energy Legislation
“When it comes to our nation’s policy on energy independence and pollution control, I don’t believe any American finds the status quo acceptable. Many senators from both parties have stated that Congress should set energy and carbon pollution policy, not the EPA. I could not agree more. Therefore, 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.
“I believe there could be more than 60 votes for this bipartisan concept in the future. But there are not nearly 60 votes today and I do not see them materializing until we deal with the uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the oil spill.”