Lindsey Graham is the first GOP senator to come out against the Republican bill to avoid a shutdown — throwing the fight into flux

Lindsey Graham

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Lindsey Graham
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  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters on Wednesday that he is “not going to vote for” the GOP’s current government funding strategy.
  • Graham said that the idea a funding bill is going pass without a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program “is pretty naive.”
  • The deadline to pass a funding bill is the end of January 19, if no bill is passed the federal government will enter a partial government shutdown.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Wednesday that he plans to vote against the GOP leadership’s short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.

The bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), was released by House Republicans on Tuesday and would extend the deadline for a partial government shutdown to Feb. 16 from the current Jan. 19 deadline.

The bill includes a slew of other provisions, such as the delay of three Obamacare taxes, but does not long-term funding guarantees for the military or a codification of the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Due to the lack of long-term funding for the military, Graham said he could not support the proposed funding legislation.

“I’m not going to vote for a CR, you’re destroying the military,” Graham said.

Defense hawks, including Graham and Sen. John McCain, have long been critical of using CRs to fund the government. These members believe it leaves the military with no stability and maintains lower levels of funding than what is needed to operate effectively.

The government has been operating under a series of short-term CRs since September.

Graham’s defection is concerning for Republicans, who not only need the support of all Republican senators but also 10 Democrats in the chamber to avoid a filibuster and pass the bill if McCain is not available due to his health.

Given strong opposition among Democrats to any funding bill without a DACA solution, getting enough members to come across the aisle was already going to be an uphill climb, increasing the number needed is even more daunting.

Even Graham recognized the challenge.

“To think you’re going to get a budget deal without dealing with DACA is pretty naive,” Graham said. “I think it’s always been naive.”

Graham crafted a bipartisan plan to deal with DACA along with other immigration issues along with Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and others, but President Donald Trump reversed course and came out against the bill leaving it dead in the water.