Sen. Lindsey Graham proposes new plan to reopen government

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina Tuesday night is urging both sides of the border security debate and partial government shutdown stalemate to reach an agreement on reopening the federal government and allow Congress to “legislate a conclusion” to the battle over border security funding.

Graham announced details of his proposal from his downtown Greenville offices as the shutdown entered day 32.

The senior senator from South Carolina said the president and house speaker are not talking at a time when both sides of Congress are working on dueling proposals that likely won’t pass.

Graham said he spoke with his Senate colleague, democrat Dick Durbin, Tuesday about an idea that Graham called a “fair compromise.” 

“It’s hard to find a solution if you can’t talk to the other side,” said Graham. “Speaker Pelosi says no matter what even if you open up the government she’s not going to give a dollar for the wall. So how does this end?” 

In past days, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York has said, “we are aghast that {the president} wants this giant 30 foot wall to be the symbol of America.”

 Sen. Kamala Harris (D) of California has added, “He is now holding the American people hostage over a vanity project he calls a wall.” 

Democrats led by Pelosi are against President Trump’s $5.7 billion dollar proposal to build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Pelosi turned down his latest proposal that added temporary protections to some undocumented immigrants in exchange for the border money. 

Pelosi called it a “non-starter.”

Graham, one of the president’s allies, sees it as more of a start. 

“Give us about 3 weeks to see if we can work this out. If we don’t we haven’t lost anything,” Graham said.

Graham is proposing to reopen the government for three weeks to allow the Senate to work on a border security funding bill to send to the House but he said it would take some commitment from President Trump and Speaker Pelosi.

“If you could have the Speaker of the House indicate to President Trump and the rest of us that anything that passed the Senate in a bi-partisan fashion would be taken up by the House then that would guarantee us a pathway forward,” Graham explained.

Graham said if Pelosi agreed then he would urge the president to sign a resolution to reopen the government with the understanding the Senate would take up his border security proposal.

After meeting with local reporters, Graham headed back to Washington to start circulating his new pitch ahead of his meeting with President Trump Wednesday morning.

Graham said if both sides agreed to his proposal then he believed they could reopen the federal government as early as this week.

Part of Graham’s proposal includes a plan to end politician’s ability to use government shutdowns as negotiating tools in the future. 
    
He said if there is ever an impasse then he believes the government should be funded at leaset at the previous year’s levels.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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