The Texas state legislators who recently fled the Texas statehouse by flying to Washington, D.C., may have inspired Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in his efforts to stop Senate Democrats from ramming through President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion dollar “infrastructure” bill.
Graham appeared on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures” on July 18 and told host Maria Bartiromo that the fight against “liberal wish list” calls for drastic measures. “Hell yeah, I would leave. I would use everything lawfully in my toolbox to prevent rampant inflation,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced earlier in the week that the Senate Budget Committee had approved a $3.5 trillion spending package as part of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan. Another aspect of the project has been announced as a separate bipartisan proposal, including spending less than $1 trillion on traditional infrastructure programs such as roads and bridges.
The $3.5 trillion bills has no Republican support and would have to be passed as a budget reconciliation bill to bypass the ordinary Senate filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to move forward. The larger bill includes many projects not generally thought of as infrastructure, including Medicare expansion, free community college tuition, childcare, climate change, and other “human infrastructure” packages.
Democratic Texas state lawmakers left their state before a critical vote on a new state election security law there, flying to Washington by private jet and planning on remaining away as long as needed to defeat a vote.
Graham said on Sunday, “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 added, “you’ve got to have a quorum to pass a bill in the Senate,” and said he would “do anything” to stop the bill.
In addition to telling Bartiromo that the bill had nothing to do with existing infrastructure, Sen. Graham pointed to the Democratic attempt to include amnesty for innumerable millions of illegal immigrants inside the U.S. as part of a budget reconciliation bill.
He said that by putting “legalizing illegal immigrants in that bill, you’re going to have a complete run on the border. It would lead to an invasion of illegal immigrants if we put amnesty in the $3.5 trillion bill, so I’d do anything I could to stop that.”
The rules of the U.S. Senate provide that “Article I, section 5 of the Constitution requires that a quorum (51 senators) be present for the Senate to conduct business. Often, fewer than 51 senators are present on the floor, but the Senate presumes a quorum unless a roll call vote or quorum call suggests otherwise.”