Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday he would “leave town” to deny a voting quorum on a Democrat-led $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that would greenlight a “tax and spend dream of the socialist left.”
In a fiery renunciation of President Joe Biden’s social spending plan on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Graham said he would do what Texas Democrats did to avoid a vote on a controversial new voting law — skip out.
“If for some reason they pass reconciliation, budget resolution to bring that bill to the floor of the United States Senate, the $3.5 trillion bill, you've got have a quorum to pass a bill in the Senate, I would leave before I would let that happen,” Graham vowed. “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.”
More than 50 Texas lawmakers arrived in Washington last Monday after leaving their home state on a private charter flight. The numbers meant the House would not have enough lawmakers in attendance to conduct business and could not, at least for now, vote on an overhaul of election laws.
The cross-country exodus was the second time that Democratic lawmakers have staged a walkout on the voting overhaul, a measure of their fierce opposition to proposals they say will make it harder for young people, people of color and people with disabilities to vote.
“Hell yeah, I would leave,” Graham said of how he’d handle the reconciliation vote in the Senate. “I would use everything in my toolbox. It's got nothing to do with infrastructure. It's a tax and spend dream of the socialist left.”
“If it takes me not showing up to stop that, I will do it because if we pass that bill, you're going to have inflation through the roof and if they put legalizing illegal immigrants in that bill, you're going to have a complete run on the border,” he asserted. “It will be throwing jet fuel on a fire, called illegal immigration. It would lead to an invasion of illegal immigrants if we put amnesty in the $3.5 trillion bill so I would do anything I could to stop that.”
According to Graham, Senate Democrats “don’t want to work with us,” and President Joe Biden’s tenure so far has been “disappointing.”
“I was part of a bipartisan group that passed a comprehensive immigration bill and we spent $40 billion to secure the border,” he recounted, “[Sen. Charles] Schumer [D.N.Y.} and [Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick] Durbin voted for a $40 billion border security bill that built walls, did away with catch and release.”
“To my Democratic colleagues, if you want to provide legal status for the DACA population, I will work with you. I want you to finish the wall which needs to be finished, and end catch and release for the asylum seekers which will shut off a wave of illegal immigration and I will vote for DACA legalization,” he vowed.
But, Graham said, securing the border is “dead and buried and replaced by the party of open borders.”
“If you voted for Joe Biden, thinking he would be a moderate voice and would have led us to a centrist agenda, you've got to be sorely disappointed because there's nothing moderate about the Biden administration,” Graham asserted.
Graham also derided Biden’s criticism of new voting laws in some states.
“He's trying to change the subject because he can't talk about his policies,” Graham charged. “His policies are failing at the border, rampant inflation, you can't walk out in the streets without worrying about getting shot or your child kidnapped, radical Islam is on the rise.
“He can't talk about policy because he's failed on the policy front so he's trying to make all of us racist as Republicans. … Demagoguery. It's offensive to me. What he's saying is a lie. He's trying to change the subject to try to talk about anything but his failed presidency. We're coming back in 2022 and I hope to God [former] President [Donald] Trump runs in 2024.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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