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The Guardians of Democracy

Dems Lash Out At Graham For ‘Blatantly’ Breaking Senate Rules To Push Trump Asylum Bill


Dems Lash Out At Graham For ‘Blatantly’ Breaking Senate Rules To Push Trump Asylum Bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday ignored Senate Judiciary Committee rules to push through a controversial bill to overhaul U.S. asylum laws on Thursday, waiving committee rules to force the legislation through over objections from Democrats.

The decision by committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to force his bill through the committee sparked outrage from Democrats on the panel, who accused him of ripping up the rules on how legislation gets taken up in order to push through a partisan bill.

The bill would increase the number of days a family can be held together from 20 days to 100 days and would also require asylum claims be filed in Mexico or a home country instead of the United States.

As Graham asked for a vote to formally schedule a time to pass his bill, Democrats accused Republicans of breaking the rules. Graham ignored their protests.

“You’re breaking the rules of the committee,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said as Graham directed committee staff to ignore Democratic attempts to speak ahead of the vote.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) interrupted the roll-call vote, demanding that Graham point to the rule he was using “that allows you to do this.”

When a committee staffer asked Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) how he was voting, he replied, “I decline to vote on the grounds that this is an illegitimate process.”

“I am sick at heart at what we have done,” Whitehouse said after the committee approved Graham’s bill in a 12-10 party line vote. “I hate what has just happened.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former chairman and current member of the panel, ripped up a copy of the committee’s rules as he blasted Republicans.

“If the majority is willing to break any rule in order to report this bill today, there are no rules. … This committee is nothing but a conveyor belt of ultra-partisan ideas. It’s under the thumb and control of Donald Trump,” Leahy said. “This is suppose to be the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not the Donald Trump committee.”

“What you’re telling me is that I should ignore what you did to me last week? I will not. … You’re not going to take my job away for me. I take this very personally,” Graham said. “You may not like what we do over here, you can vote ‘no.’ But this committee is not going to be the dead end committee.”

Feinstein said the bill “has no chance of becoming law” and that she had confirmed with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that it would not get a vote.

“The committee will be breaking and violating its own rules. Why even have rules?” Feinstein asked. “It should also be noted by moving forward today, the majority will be breaking the rules of the Senate.”

“We’re not the House,” she added. “This is not a body intended to run on power alone and majority will.”


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