The Corner

Graham Threatens to ‘Object’ to Deal, Demands Vote on Vitter Amendment

Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) tells me he will “object” to any pending fiscal deal, unless the Senate concurrently votes on the Vitter amendment, which would end federal contributions to congresional health-care plans.

“We’re in a compromised situation, but I’m going on offense,” Graham explains, in an interview at Pete’s Diner on Capitol Hill. “Members of Congress and their staffs should not be exempted from Obamacare, and I’m going to insist that if the Senate wants to move forward on any deal, we have to overturn the [Office of Personnel Management’s] ruling on congressional employees,” or, at the least, force senators to vote on it in the coming days.

“Now, I hope the House rises to the occasion here,” Graham continues. “But we’re down to stopping bad things, and the only bad thing at this point that we can really push on is the OPM rule. At this point, I’m not sure if we’re going to get it, so I’m going to object on any deal until I get that up-or-down vote. That’s only fair, and I believe the American people will be with me.”

Graham’s pledge to “object” to any deal that doesn’t include a vote on the Vitter amendment could shake up the ongoing Senate negotiations. Senate Democrats aren’t interested in having that vote, and they’ve asked Graham to not make this eleventh-hour demand. “But the Democrats have moved the goal posts on a reasonable deal,” he says. ”I know we can’t complain too much about our self-inflicted wounds, but the Democrats have gone too far.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Elections

How Can Bernie Sanders Happen in America?

A number of pundits have recently argued that younger voters, especially those under 30, are less inclined to be bothered when they hear the word “socialism,” since they have no firsthand memory of the Cold War. To some extent, this must be true. Those who weren’t alive during socialism’s cruelest ... Read More
Elections

How Can Bernie Sanders Happen in America?

A number of pundits have recently argued that younger voters, especially those under 30, are less inclined to be bothered when they hear the word “socialism,” since they have no firsthand memory of the Cold War. To some extent, this must be true. Those who weren’t alive during socialism’s cruelest ... Read More
Elections

The Highest-Stakes Moment Brings the Worst Debate

Tonight’s debate would have been only marginally less incoherent, noisy, and grating to the ears if CBS had broadcast two hours of static. The last debate before the South Carolina primary featured so much shouting, you would think that the candidates had just been told their microphones weren’t working. ... Read More
Elections

The Highest-Stakes Moment Brings the Worst Debate

Tonight’s debate would have been only marginally less incoherent, noisy, and grating to the ears if CBS had broadcast two hours of static. The last debate before the South Carolina primary featured so much shouting, you would think that the candidates had just been told their microphones weren’t working. ... Read More