Lindsey Graham calls Biden’s bipartisan deal a ‘suicide mission’ and says he made GOP look like idiots

‘You look like a f*****g idiot now’, says North Carolina senator and Trump ally

Gino Spocchia
Friday 25 June 2021 19:05 BST
Republican senator Lindsey Graham
Republican senator Lindsey Graham (REUTERS)

Lindsey Graham has called a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure a “suicide” mission for Republicans, after it was announced by a group of senators and Joe Biden.

The $1.2tn (£860bn) agreement, announced on Thursday by five senate Republicans and five Democrats, was a win for President Biden, who had called for investments in transport and technology.

Thursday’s agreement, which Mr Biden said was a compromise for both sides, is tied to a reconciliation bill passing through Congress, and itself requires the backing of five Republicans to pass a 60-vote filibuster.

In an interview on Thursday night, Mr Graham said the agreement with Democrats was a “suicide” mission for Republicans because of its relationship to reconciliation, a budget bill.

“I’m not doing that. That’s extortion! I’m not going to do that,” the North Carolina senator and Trump ally told Politico.

“The Dems are being told you can’t get your bipartisan work product passed unless you sign on to what the left wants, and I’m not playing that game.”

Mr Biden reassured Democrats calling for a bigger infrastructure bill that he would sign it in “tandem” with a budget including additional spending items, through a process of reconciliation.

“[It’s] way too small – paltry, pathetic,” said Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal, and a Democrat. “I need a clear, ironclad assurance that there will be a really adequate robust package” that will follow.

Mr Graham, who was among five Republicans that walked from initial negotiations with Democrats on the infrastructure bill, told Politico that it made his party look foolish.

“Most Republicans could not have known that,” he said of the “tandem” reconciliation bill. “There's no way. You look like a f*****g idiot now. I don’t mind bipartisanship, but I’m not going to do a suicide mission.”

A Republican aide added that Mr Biden’s plan could do “real damage” for bipartisanship in future, and that: “It is astonishing that he could endorse this bipartisan framework in one breath and then announce he will hold it hostage in the next.”

The agreement is due to come before the Senate, which is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, who hold the deciding vote. A total of 60 votes are required for it to pass.

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