Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday warned his colleagues that he will filibuster until he falls over to prevent the Equality Act from becoming law if the Senate’s legislative filibuster ends and the traditional floor talking procedure returns, as President Joe Biden says he wants if that would stop the House voting reform resolution.
“If you go to the talking filibuster, we will take the floor to stop H.R. (House Resolution) 1,” the South Carolina Republican said on Fox News’ “Hannity” Wednesday night.
“I would talk until I fell over to make sure that we don’t go to ballot harvesting and voting by mail without voter ID,” he continued. “I would talk until I fell over to make sure that the Equality Act doesn’t become law, destroying the difference between man and woman in our law.”
The Equality Act, which would expand existing federal civil rights protections to include LGBTQ people, passed the House last month and is now being considered by the Senate. Under current Senate rules, 60 votes are required to end a filibuster so that the chamber can vote on a bill. Democrats hold a slim majority – 50 senators plus a tie-breaking vote by the vice president.
Biden, during an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said he’s open to changing the filibuster rules to require that senators once again talk on the floor to hold up a bill.
The Senate filibuster allows for endless debate to stall legislation by keeping the chamber from voting on it. It was first codified in Senate rules in 1917. Before then, the Senate had no rules to end debate, and the chamber installed a 67-vote threshold to create one. That was reduced to 60 in 1975. Earlier in the 1970s, the Senate allowed for a filibuster debate to be set aside so that other legislation or business could be conducted.
Graham told Hannity that ending the legislative filibuster would be “transformational,” but in a “really bad way.”
“It would destroy the Senate as we know it,” said Graham. “Anything big like this, you should be able to get a few votes from the other side, right? If you want to federalize the elections and do away with redistricting by the states and turn it over to some commission that will fundamentally change how you vote. If you want to go to ballot harvesting nationally and take authority away from the states, shouldn’t that be at least somewhat bipartisan?”
He further warned that if Democrats pick up just one more Senate seat in the 2022 races, “they’re going to abolish the filibuster and transform America.”
He added that he spoke “a lot” with former President Donald Trump earlier on Wednesday, and promised that Trump is “focused like a laser on making sure Republicans regain the Senate and the House to stop the most radical agenda in American history.”