Lieberman: Reid will bring energy bill to floor, maybe before immigration

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Monday that he'd been told that an energy bill would be brought to the Senate floor this year, even possibly before immigration.

Lieberman suggested Monday that energy legislation may be on track to move before immigration in the Senate after all following a conversation with Reid on Sunday, reviving hopes of a bipartisan deal on an energy and climate bill.

Lieberman said he had spoken with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about the upcoming legislative calendar, and that the leader said he would be willing to bring up whichever bill is ready first, which an energy and climate bill appears to be.

"He said to me as explicitly as anyone could: he's going to give the energy bill floor time this year," Lieberman said during an appearance on MSNBC. "Harry Reid said to me yesterday that he will take up whichever of these two bills is ready first and he knows our bill is ready and the immigration reform bill is not.”

The energy bill was thrown into upheaval over the weekend after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to abandon talks with Lieberman and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on a compromise bill after signals emerged that Democrats would move first on immigration.

Graham was furious over the prospect of immigration coming up before energy, and threatened to withdraw his support over the weekend for the energy and climate bill, dealing a blow to both the energy and immigration bills, the latter of which Graham had also been negotiating throughout the year.

Lieberman said that the public plan to move on energy put Graham in a "defensive position" within his own caucus, but that a "clear understanding" on the legislative priorities for this year could bring the South Carolina senator back to the table.

"So we're working really hard to get this back together," Lieberman said.

Cross-posted to E2 Wire.

Ben Geman contributed to this report.