Tags: lindsey graham | support | government shutdown | funding bill

Lindsey Graham Switches; Will Back Shutdown Funding Bill

Image: Lindsey Graham Switches; Will Back Shutdown Funding Bill
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 19 January 2018 10:00 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position late Friday and agreed to support continuing resolution to finance the federal government — but only through Feb. 8 — "to work toward our shared goals, while providing sufficient urgency in these discussions."

"My underlying goal in this debate has been to find solution and to provide sufficient time to reach agreement on our shared goals of increasing defense spending," the South Carolina Republican said in a statement, "resolving the status of the Dreamers and increasing border security; guaranteeing funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and other healthcare programs, and providing disaster relief.

"Given the congressional calendar and logistics of passing legislation, I believe that we will need a CR that runs past the week of the 'State of the Union.'

"In consultation with the leaders and the White House, I believe that a CR through Feb. 8 is necessary in order to work toward our shared goals, while providing sufficient urgency in these discussions."

Graham's switch leaves only one Republican, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, opposing a stop-gap measure approved by the House late Thursday that would fund the government through Feb. 16.

The House continuing resolution plan also funds CHIP for six years.

President Donald Trump will address Congress in his "State of the Union" address on Jan. 30.

Without any funding plan, the federal government will shut down on Friday at midnight. The Senate was expected to begin voting late Friday on the House plan.

A 16-day partial federal shutdown in October 2013 cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion. Other closures occurred in 1995 and 1996.

Democrats and Republicans also remain bitterly divided over protections for as many as 700,000 young people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by former President Barack Obama.

The program is set to expire on March 5 — and a DACA plan Graham and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin proposed last week has been rejected by President Trump.

"After lengthy consultations with senators from both parties, I believe no one wants the government to shut down," Graham said. "I also believe that we are inside the 10-yard line on finding solutions on all issues previously described, including immigration."

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also cited a statement from Defense Secretary James Mattis that a shutdown would furlough more than half of the agency's workforce — and "a lot of intelligence work around the world … obviously would stop."

"General Mattis' statement today about the damage defense cuts and CRs are having on our military was very sobering," Graham said. "I have full confidence that we will be able to respond in a bipartisan manner to the General's call to action to help our military.

"There is also a lot of bipartisan support for a permanent and fair solution for the Dreamers, as well as a realization that we need a more secure border.

"Feb. 8 provides us the time only if we have the will," the senator said. "I believe the will exists; so I intend to give the time."

Minutes earlier, an exasperated Graham told reporters at the Capitol: "This is the first time I've felt like, OK, enough is enough from everybody.

"The idea of letting this continue to fester is unacceptable to most Americans, and I think now to the Congress as a whole."

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Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position late Friday and agreed to support continuing resolution to finance the federal government — but only through Feb. 8 — "to work toward our shared goals, while providing sufficient urgency in these discussions."
lindsey graham, support, government shutdown, funding bill
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2018-00-19
Friday, 19 January 2018 10:00 PM
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