Kerry expects support from Graham on new energy and climate bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will come out in support of the work product and effort behind a new energy and climate bill set for introduction today, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Wednesday.

Kerry, the author of a compromise energy bill with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), said he expects words of encouragement today from Graham, the Republican senator who'd worked with them on the legislation until withdrawing support over concerns about immigration.

"Lindsey Graham will issue a statement today," Kerry said on MSNBC. "He stands by the work product of this bill. He supports this effort."

Graham had been part of talks with Kerry and Lieberman, but withdrew amid signals by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Democrats might also pursue immigration reform this year. For a time, it seemed as thought that push might have come before the energy bill.

The politics of immigration, Graham said last Friday, made passing the legislation set for introduction today "impossible" in the immediate future.

"We have a different opinion about what's possible," Kerry said during an appearance on "Fox and Friends," adding that support by Reid and President Barack Obama could ease the new bill's chances for passage. "I think he believes that with the right ingredients, if President Obama gets involved, if Harry Reid and all of us pull together, I think this could pass."

"But unfortunately with the immigration bill entering the landscape, it complicates the situation for Lindsey," Kerry said on MSNBC.

Reid has said that he'll huddle with key chairmen on energy legislation after the Memorial Day recess in Congress at the end of this month, and has opened the door for a scaled-back proposal.

As for immigration, another top Democrat, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), said Wednesday that it's "unlikely" an immigration bill will move this year.

Cross-posted to E2 Wire.