Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is finding inspiration from an unexpected source lately: the Democratic Texas lawmakers who escaped their state rather than allow a legislative quorum to be formed that could lead to the passage of the draconian voting restriction bill that the state’s GOP has been trying to railroad through.
Senator Graham may be angry at the Texas Democrats’ clever strategy to prevent the passage of damaging legislation that they vehemently oppose, but he’s not above proposing using the exact same tactic to prevent Democrats in the U.S. Congress from passing their proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill over the objections of the Republican minority through the reconciliation process that would only require a simple majority of votes.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures, Graham told host Maria Bartiromo that “I would leave before I would let that happen,” referring to the reconciliation package.
“So, to my Republican colleagues, we may learn something from our Democratic friends in Texas when it comes to avoiding a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend package: Leave town,” he exhorted.
“Hell yeah I would leave,” Graham said, even as Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott threatens those elusive Democrats with arrest. “I’m not — I will use everything lawfully in my toolbox to prevent rampant inflation.”
Lindsey Graham says Republicans should leave DC to prevent Senate Democrats from passing an infrastructure bill via reconciliation pic.twitter.com/Uyjhw5ntny
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 18, 2021
Graham seems to forget that he had no problem whatsoever with the Republicans’ own use of the identical reconciliation method to pass their billionaire tax cut program in the first year of the Trump administration.
While Graham’s threat to deny a quorum in the Senate to the majority party may sound super macho to Fox News viewers, it is in reality somewhat of an empty threat.
While Democrats will almost certainly try to pass their $3.5 trillion plan as a budget resolution, which can then be turned into a reconciliation package that could be approved without the threat of a filibuster — if every Democrat remains on board with the bill, that is — the GOP could do little to stop them from simply reacting to a lack of a quorum by modifying Senate rules and allowing the bill to be passed with a majority of the remaining members.
Lindsey Graham has been in the Senate long enough to know this wouldn't work. The Texas legislature has a 2/3rds quorum requirement. In the U.S. Senate, a quorum only needs a simple majority.
The GOP leaving DC would not shut down the Senate the way the Texas walkout is doing. https://t.co/sNqbXFVPHN
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) July 18, 2021
Senator Graham’s threat loses its power when one is armed with the knowledge of actual Senate rules and procedures.
It does, however, make for fruitful fodder for placating the restive GOP base and generating campaign fundraising opportunities.
Graham seems to forget that he had no problem whatsoever with Republican’s
By all means, boycott the Senate floor, Senator Graham.
You won’t be missed.
Original reporting by Caroline Vakil at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.