A Climate Bill, With or Without Graham?

| Fri May 7, 2010 9:14 AM EDT

John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) may unveil their delayed climate and energy package next week. At least one senator is saying next week; Kerry would only tell reporters, "Soon, I hope soon," when asked this week.

But will Lindsey Graham, their lone Republican ally, stand with them? That still seems unlikely, after partisan bickering over the legislative calendar prompted him to pull formal support for the package he'd been working on for nearly six months. Kerry told reporters that Graham "is standing by the work product and he is standing by the bill, no matter what." But that's not necessarily the same thing as cosponsoring it. But as Greenwire reports, Graham is still sending signals that he wants to be involved:

Standing in the Senate's historic Kennedy Caucus Room, the site of hearings on the sinking of the Titanic and Watergate, the South Carolina Republican told a room full of environmentalists and Obama administration officials Tuesday night that he is still in the fight to enact legislation that caps greenhouse gases and expands domestic energy production.
"I'm not playing the game to win 43 [votes]," he said, referring to the high-water mark of past Senate climate bill roll calls. "I'm not in this to make a statement. I'm in this to win."

Aides to Lieberman and Kerry are discussing the bill with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce today. The authors have been lobbying hard for the powerful business group's endorsement, as the Chamber spent big last year trying to defeat the House climate and energy package. Getting the Chamber on board might speed its release. So, might we see a bill next week, at last?

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