WASHINGTON – Taking inspiration from the Texas Democrats’ bid to prevent a new round of election laws, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C. said he would leave the nation’s capital to prevent Democrats from passing President Joe Biden’s key priority. Agenda
Graham said the move may be necessary to prevent Senate Democrats from passing a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package that includes several long-standing Democratic priorities regarding social services, the environment and infrastructure. .
learn more:What is ‘reconciliation’ and why is it blocking the infrastructure package?
Noting that the Senate requires a quorum—the minimum number of senators present to conduct business—Graham said he would “leave before that happens.”
According to the US Constitution, at least 51 senators must be present on the floor for the upper house to conduct business. A quorum is generally considered until a roll call vote or other motion finds that not enough senators are present.
“So, to my Republican colleagues, we can learn something from our Democratic friends in Texas when it comes to a $3.5 trillion tax avoidance and spending package: Leave the city,” he told LBL’ Maria Bartiromo.
Deal:Senate Democrats seal $3.5 trillion deal for Biden’s ‘human infrastructure’ agenda, Medicare expansion
Graham’s departure from Washington alone would not be enough to suspend business in an equally divided Senate. All GOP lawmakers will have to join Graham to block a vote on the bill over a lack of quorum.
A similar move by the Texas Democrats has proved far more successful, based on the state legislature’s own quorum rules.
Texas Democrats rush to block vote
To prevent the state from passing a slate of new election laws, Democratic lawmakers in Texas fled the state on July 12 to deny the GOP-controlled state legislature the ability to pass the bill. He argues that the policies in the law would lead to voter suppression of Democratic constituencies, including people of color, urban voters and young people.
The Texas legislature requires 100 of the 150 delegates in the state House of Representatives and 21 of the 31 senators in the state Senate to be present to conduct business. While the Democrats don’t have enough votes to prevent the bill from passing, if it comes to a vote, they do have enough to deny the legislature a quorum during the current emergency session.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has said he will continue to convene an emergency session of the state legislature until Democrats return to the state and vote on the legislation. The stakes of the conflict have prompted Texas Democrats to call on their national counterparts for federal action on voting rights.
related:3 Texas Democrats test positive for coronavirus in Washington, DC
Harris Applauds Texas Democrats
Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been tasked with leading the Biden administration’s efforts to expand voting access, met with lawmakers and praised their work as heroic.
Graham said that should he and other GOP senators adopt similar tactics in blocking Democrats’ reconciliation package, he expects similar praise.
Graham said, “Hey, Vice President Harris, if you think these guys are heroes, I expect you to show up and give us a pat on the back.”
Follow Matthew Brown Online @mrbrownsir.