Summers: Administration can pursue both climate bill, immigration reform

The Obama administration wants to pursue both climate change and immigration legislation, according to a senior advisor to the president.

There is “no either/or” between the two issues, which are “both important,” said Larry Summers, the chief economic adviser to President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Right way and wrong way Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle despite recent leak MORE.

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Summers also said it would be up to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.) to determine the chamber’s schedule.

The comments Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” were triggered by Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE’s (R-S.C.) threat to pull out of negotiations on a climate bill because of the administration’s pursuit of immigration reform.

Separately Sunday, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE (R-Ky.) offered support for Graham’s position and signaled the GOP does not want to take up immigration.

“I just don’t think this is the right time to take up this issue [immigration],” McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Graham’s departure would leave the administration without its most dependable GOP partner on both issues.

Graham accused the administration and Senate Democratic leaders on Saturday of playing politics by ditching climate and energy legislation for immigration reform, which could boost turnout by Hispanic voters in this fall’s elections.

Reid quickly disputed the suggestion and said he would not let Graham play one issue off the other.


Summers suggested that Graham is under pressure from business groups that do not want to see a climate change bill move forward.

“I think that even though immigration reform and energy reform are both crucial issues for the business community I think there has been enormous back pressure against the kind of bipartisan cooperation that Graham has engaged in, and that perhaps has made this a more complex situation for him than it otherwise would be,” Summers said.

Summers added that the administration is ready to work “vigorously” with Republican partners on both issues.

He also said it is “overwhelmingly important” to the administration that financial reform pass as soon as possible.