Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed doubt the Senate will vote on a hard-fought border deal before the upper chamber departs for a two-week recess later this month, arguing the bill has substance that is “too important.”
“Well, it’s a process that is the oldest game in town is to bring an important piece of legislation right before a holiday or right before break,” Graham said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday.” “So process-wise, we’re not going to deal with this next week, it’s too important.”
Negotiators in the Senate have gone back and forth for weeks to secure a deal on border security measures. However, lawmakers are racing against the clock as the Senate prepares to go on recess from Feb. 12 to 23.
“I’ve been involved in the negotiations, what they have achieved as far as I know, we don’t … We haven’t seen it yet. It’s a real change in asylum, it’s a real change in parole, it’s real change in expedited removal,” Graham said.
The South Carolina Republican argued there are Democrats “willing to change” asylum law, in contrast to the longtime opposition felt within the left toward border security reform.
“I’m going to wait and see what the final bill looks like,” Graham said. “But on process, there’s no way we’re going to be jammed. We’re not going to take up something this important. Pass it right before a two-week break … on the substance, how will people keep an open mind?”
“So bringing a bill that fails doesn’t solve a problem,” he argued. “You know how to solve a problem? You did what [Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)] is doing. You sit down with the other side and negotiate.”
Several congressional Republicans have advocated for passing the Secure the Border Act — or H.R. 2 — a sweeping bill that would significantly restrict the asylum process and establish a new surveillance system to curb regional migration and crack down on the existing undocumented population.
The bill passed in the GOP-controlled House last year with no Democratic support.
Graham poured cold water on those Republicans looking to pass H.R. 2, stating, “To those who push H.R. 2, it’s not gonna happen. So if it doesn’t happen, you go to do something else.”