Graham Threatens to Block Defense Bill Over Iran Sanctions Vote

One of the bill’s biggest supporters is threatening to pull his support, jeopardizing a bipartisan plan to pass the measure before year’s end.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) listens during a press conference on Capitol Hill March 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
See more stories about...
Stacy Kaper
Dec. 11, 2013, 9:03 a.m.

Lind­sey Gra­ham is typ­ic­ally one of the Sen­ate’s strongest sup­port­ers of the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act, but he threatened Wed­nes­day to vote against the bill un­less he is as­sured a vote on Ir­an sanc­tions.

“My de­cision about the de­fense bill will be linked to wheth­er or not we get a guar­an­tee to vote on the Ir­a­ni­an sanc­tions, if we can in­tro­duce them,” the South Car­o­lina Re­pub­lic­an told re­port­ers Wed­nes­day. “If you can con­vince me that there will be an­oth­er path for­ward oth­er than the de­fense bill, that will go a long way to shape my think­ing.”

Un­der an agree­ment reached between Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee lead­ers, Con­gress would fast-track the an­nu­al de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill, hav­ing both cham­bers vote on identic­al bills and re­fus­ing amend­ments in both cham­bers.

That’s a dif­fi­cult pro­pos­i­tion in the Sen­ate, be­cause many mem­bers would hop­ing to use the bill as a vehicle for their de­fense-re­lated agenda.

Gra­ham, who is a strong ad­voc­ate for sanc­tions and for the au­thor­iz­a­tion bill, prom­ised he’d vote against the lat­ter un­less guar­an­teed a vote on the former. “I need a guar­an­teed vehicle to get this done. I think it’s that im­port­ant to our na­tion­al se­cur­ity,” he said Wed­nes­day.

Gra­ham’s hes­it­a­tion adds an­oth­er com­plic­a­tion for the fast-track pas­sage plan, an ef­fort to get the le­gis­la­tion fin­ished be­fore the House’s sched­uled de­par­ture Fri­day.

Oth­er sen­at­ors — in­clud­ing Re­pub­lic­ans Tom Coburn and Rand Paul — are ob­ject­ing to the bar­ring of amend­ments, and Sen. Mitch Mc­Con­nell has yet to say wheth­er he’ll back the plan, in part over con­cerns about bring­ing for­ward Ir­an sanc­tions le­gis­la­tion.

What We're Following See More »
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE TO FILL IN
Wasserman Schultz Won’t Gavel Open the Convention
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Debbie Wasserman Schultz has given up her last remaining duty at this week's convention. Now, she's told her hometown newspaper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that she will not gavel in the convention today. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will do the honors instead. "I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz said.

Source:
SUPPORTERS’ RALLY
Sanders Supporters Boo When He Mentions Clinton-Kaine
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps this talk of unity has been overstated. Addressing a room full of his supporters today, Bernie Sanders heard "sustained boos" when he said he said it was essential that we elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

Source:
ALL EYES ON RUSSIANS
FBI Investigating DNC Hack
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

The FBI this morning issued a statement saying it is "investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC," adding that "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously." Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign is suggesting that the hack "was committed by Russia to benefit Donald Trump."

Source:
NEED 300 DELEGATE SIGNATURES
Sanders Delegates Threaten to Challenge Kaine Pick
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

A group of delegates loyal to Bernie Sanders is actively exploring how to challenge Tim Kaine's nomination for the vice presidency. A lead of the group "said he hoped the Democratic National Committee releases information within hours on how to submit a challenger to Kaine, which he said would require the signatures of 300 delegates. He said they have until Wednesday morning to file a challenge to Kaine and stressed that while his group would take any requests from the Sanders campaign under consideration, the delegate group is an independent organization."

Source:
JOHNSON PULLING 26%
A Three-Way Race in Utah?
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Here are some more numbers out of Utah that should frighten Donald Trump—and give hope to Gary Johnson. "An internal poll conducted for Rep. Mia Love two weeks ago found Trump at 29 percent, Clinton at 27 percent" and Libertarian candidate Johnson at 26 percent. "That was, however, before Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence." Utah party chairman James Evans said that move ought to clinch the state for Trump. "Utahns are going to come through because the level of distaste for Hillary is so deep," he said.

Source:
×