The great debate over the scheduling of comprehensive immigration reform versus clean energy and climate legislation has engulfed Washington. Lost in that frenzy is the need for Congress to do both.
The Senate now has a clear schedule for consideration: the energy and climate bill followed by immigration reform. The consternation and anxiety—and even the threats—surrounding the schedule must now come to an end so we can solve these critical problems.
It is obvious that energy and climate legislation is further along in the legislative process than immigration reform. The Environmental Protection Agency is doing its assessment of the bill and it should be ready for Senate consideration within weeks. This gives leadership, sponsors, and supporters time to secure 60 votes.
Comprehensive immigration reform is no less worthy of consideration but needs more time to develop legislatively. The passage of draconian legislation in Arizona amplifies the demand for a prompt federal solution. Constructing immigration reform that can garner bipartisan support can’t be done in a matter of days but it’s critical that the process be accelerated and we move to it this year.
Given this path forward it is time for senators and interest groups alike to put an end to the histrionics and get to work.
John D. Podesta is President and CEO of American Progress.