Comity on Climate? Eh, Not So Much

| Tue Mar. 23, 2010 1:20 PM EDT

Is Lindsey Graham cooling down after getting hot under the collar over the weekend about health care reform? The day after the passage of the legislation, he warned that the "sleazy" process might derail future bipartisan efforts. His remarks caused some to wonder whether he was looking for an out on climate legislation. But now Graham says while he may not be happy about how health care reform passed, he's still intent on working on a climate and energy bill. His Republican colleagues, however, might not be so enthusiastic.

Graham told reporters yesterday (via Greenwire) that he's "still committed to trying to roll out a vision of how you can price carbon and make it business-friendly." But he stopped short of predicting that their vision could be come law anytime soon. ”We're still going to do that ... But the truth of the matter is, I think you're going to find most of our colleagues around here risk adverse [sic],” said Graham. The health care vote, he warned, is "going to make it very difficult to do anything complicated and controversial."

Case in point: John McCain. "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," the Arizona senator—and Graham's mentor—declared in a radio interview on Monday."They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

I can't say I’m shocked that McCain is taking his ball and going home for the next nine months. Most folks had already written him off as a "no" vote on a climate and energy bill, despite his longtime commitment to the issue. Let's hope other Republicans who have been active on climate and energy issues will take the same approach. Still, Graham aside, I'm not expecting much comity from Republicans on climate legislation.

John Kerry, however, thinks that the health care fight might help his effort to pass a climate bill. "In the wake of health care’s passage, we have a strong case to make that this can be the next break-through legislative fight," he said.

"Fight" may be the operative word.

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