Graham has successfully evolved from a Bush-era relic who desperately wants war with Iran to a Trump-loving Brett Kavanaugh defender who desperately wants war with Iran. On Thursday, in one of his final acts before the Senate officially closes for the August recess, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman decided he just didn’t really even need to let a debate happen before calling a vote on an immigration bill.
The bill in question, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019, would only allow asylum-seeking migrants from Central America admission into the United States if they’ve made claims for asylum in their home countries or those they pass through on their way to the U.S. border. It would also lengthen the amount of time that children can be detained in immigration jails from 20 days to 100 days. (You can probably hazard a guess as to why this proposal is cruel and stupid, but this Slate op-ed by asylum lawyer Bill Ong Hing is a good rundown of why.)
After negotiations with Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin broke down, Graham decided to just ram the bill through today, and called a vote in the committee while refusing to let Democratic members speak. This, predictably, led to an outcry from Senate Democrats.
Later, Graham went on an extended tirade about Democrats “not showing up” to his committee hearings so the bill could be marked-up, saying that the Democrats are “not going to take my job away from me.” He then singled out Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy as one of those who didn’t show up, to which Leahy angrily responded that he was at a funeral for one of his family members that day, and that five Republicans also weren’t at the bill markup.
The funny thing, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein pointed out, is that this bill has no chance of becoming law, given that the Democrats control the House. This means that just before sending them back to their states, Graham just gave the Democrats on his committee a big “fuck you” for absolutely no reason other than to show that he could.
Beyond all of this being generally dickish behavior, it’s more proof any attempt to reform the Senate to make it more bipartisan or civil is an absolute joke. This is not the same backpatting chamber it was in the 1970s; more than that, it should not be. Anyone cruel enough to want to extend the amount of time children are detained—let alone by five times the cap on how long they’re currently legally allowed to be detained, not that the Trump administration follows that anyway—is not deserving of basic respect, let alone senatorial courtesy.
Lindsey Graham is not your friend or your esteemed colleague; he’s an opportunistic prick whose only concern is how much power he has and whether or not he gets to keep it.