Graham: Immigration would 'destroy ability to do climate change'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said the Senate is not ready to tackle immigration reform and that bringing a bill forward would be "CYA politics."

CYA is slang for "cover your a**."

Graham also said moving ahead with immigration would scuttle the Senate’s capacity to deal with climate legislation. “It destroys the ability to do something like energy and climate,” he told reporters in the Capitol.

Graham has been working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on an immigration plan, but reacted critically to reports that Democratic leaders may try to move on the issue.

“If immigration comes up then that's the ultimate CYA politics,” Graham said. He warned against bringing up a bill in a “haphazard way.”

“This comes out of left field,” he said. “We haven't done anything to prepare the body or the country for immigration.” Graham said the measure he has discussed with Schumer is not ready, and wondered aloud what could be brought to the floor.

“It would be news to me if we've got one done [an immigration bill],” he said. “I have been working with Chuck, we have been making progress, but business and labor are not together on a temporary worker bill.”

Graham noted that the climate change and energy bill that he’s crafting with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is supposed to be unveiled Monday.

“What am I supposed to do, write an immigration bill between now and Monday with Chuck?” Graham said.