By Ben Geman - 03/25/10 08:04 PM EDT
Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters Thursday that Democrats from conservative states will now be less likely to embrace the climate effort now that they've cast a tough vote on healthcare.
"I think it creates risk aversion," he told reporters after the Senate passed a package of changes to the health care law.
Graham singled out Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln, Jon Tester and Ben Nelson as being less likely to vote for climate change.
"Go talk to Blanche Lincoln. 'Hey, you want to do energy and climate? You want to do immigration?' Go talk to [Jon] Tester, to Ben Nelson, give them a shout-out," he said. "I just think the idea of doing hard things has been tainted because the blowback they are getting on health care has made them risk averse."
Lincoln, who is from Arkansas, faces a tough reelection fight this year. Tester is from Montana and Nelson is from Nebraska.
Graham vowed to continue working on the climate and energy bill he's crafting with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
"Quite frankly our guys are upset, but I am going to continue to work with Kerry and Lieberman to put together a bill on energy and climate that looks at an old problem in a new way," Graham said.
The trio hope to unveil the measure after the spring recess. They are continuing meetings today with business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.