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 »
"The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. ... About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990."
"A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked President Donald Trump's executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities. U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration's argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress. The judge had previously made the same arguments in a ruling that put a temporary hold on the executive order."