Reid caves to Graham, will introduce cap-and-trade before immigration

Remember, Graham walked away from the cap-and-trade “coalition” or whatever a few days ago when it looked like Reid was going to fast-track immigration instead. Major Garrett gets the scoop:

Also, Sen ML Reid says energy/climate bill to go before immigration; this keeps Sen. Lindsey Graham at table, preserves some momentum

The word from Politico as recently as this morning was that Reid was still planning to push immigration first, possibly bringing a bill directly to the floor and calling a vote by the recess on May 28. What’s suddenly changed? Well, my hunch is that Arizona’s new law has succeeded spectacularly in doing what it was aimed to do all along — namely, drive up pressure on the feds to enforce the border by showing how desperate the states are for some action. The latest polls suggest it’s working like a charm. Which means if they do take up a bill now, even the Democrats will have to focus on border security first, which is the last thing The One and Reid were hoping for in their shameless bid to use this issue as an electoral wedge. Graham, being no dummy, surely knows it too, which is why you’ll find him below (via Breitbart) warning Napolitano at today’s hearings that you can forget doing anything about this until 2012. “But AP,” you say, “won’t Congress be much more Republican then than it is now?” Answer: Yep, but waiting two years gives this issue time to cool off, and Graham’s no doubt hoping that electoral pressures in the campaign that year will force congressional Republicans towards the center. Direct quote from today’s hearing: “If immigration comes up this year, it’s absolutely devastating to the future of this issue.” Well, to his position on it, yeah.

The only mystery now is whether Reid will abandon immigration altogether or whether he’ll half-heartedly force a vote later this term. I think he has to try something — he all but promised Latino voters in Nevada that they’d act — but everyone knows for sure the bill will fail now, especially coming after a contentious cap-and-trade battle. Better to secure Graham’s vote on that in a possibly winning effort than lose him on both.

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