By Ben Geman - 04/24/10 04:05 PM EDT
Sen. John KerryJohn KerryUS climate chief's goal: ‘Set in motion’ climate work over next five years Trump's VP: Top 10 contenders Peace equality and stability for religious minorities MORE (D-Mass.) is continuing to dispute suggestions that a new push by Democratic leaders to advance immigration reform legislation will prevent the climate bill he’s crafting from reaching the Senate floor this year.
Kerry, and Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamStoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? Dem senator: Trump would leak classified information Never Trump voices face tough decision MORE (R-S.C.) plan to unveil a sweeping climate and energy bill Monday.
“There are always people who think it’s impossible to tackle big challenges in an election year, but Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman have been working overtime to produce an approach that can succeed,” said Whitney Smith, a spokeswoman for Kerry.
“The Majority Leader reiterated this past Thursday to them that he is committed to make this the year bipartisan, comprehensive climate and energy reform passes the Senate and Senator Kerry knows the Leader is tough and determined enough to make it happen,” she said in a statement.
A controversial new immigration law in Arizona that President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaWhite House on Obama drinking Flint water: 'The man was just thirsty' Report: New Trump finance chairman donated heavily to Dems West Virginia is no longer Clinton country MORE criticized Friday is helping to propel the issue to the forefront of Democrats’ Capitol Hill agenda.
This is prompting speculation that immigration legislation will come to the Senate floor before the climate and energy bill, and perhaps keep the climate measure from the election-year floor agenda altogether.
Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Trail 2016: GOP stages of grief Dems slam Trump over taco bowl tweet Reid: GOP is the party of Trump MORE (D-Nev.) has not commented on the sequencing of the measures, and last week called both issues priorities. Both immigration and climate legislation are controversial and face uncertain floor prospects.
On Friday Reid called the new Arizona law “another important example of why we need to fix our broken system.” The law has prompted criticism from Latino groups and other activists who call it an assault on civil liberties.
The state law gives police new powers to stop and demand documentation from people the believe may be in the country illegally, among other provisions.
“While the first step in immigration reform must include border security, we cannot approach this important issue in a piecemeal fashion. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to pass comprehensive reform that is tough on people who break the law, fair to taxpayers, respectful of civil liberties and practical to implement,” Reid said.