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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
1 days ago

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."