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Lindsey Graham vows to ‘talk until he falls over’ to stop the Equality Act from becoming law

Emma Powys Maurice March 18, 2021
Lindsay Graham

Republican senator Lindsay Graham (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Lindsey Graham has vowed to filibuster so hard he’d collapse if it would stop the Equality Act from becoming law.

The Republican senator will stop at nothing to block Joe Biden’s landmark anti-discrimination bill, even if he expends himself in the process.

“I would talk until I fell over to make sure that the Equality Act doesn’t become law, destroying the difference between men and women,” Graham said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show last night (17 March).

The filibuster is a controversial tactic that allows individual senators to obstruct or slow down a piece of legislation, even if it’s been approved by the majority.

For years Democrats have been calling for it to be scrapped, accusing Republicans of persistently abusing the strategy to gridlock the Senate – and that’s exactly what Lindsey Graham is planning.

He told Sean Hannity that with “a 50-50 Senate, you can’t do anything without unanimous consent that matters. To have a quorum, you’ve got to have 51 people present and the vice president doesn’t count.

“So if they did this, we could really shut down the entire Senate because we just won’t show up,” he said.

The Equality Act passed through the House of Representatives last month by a narrow majority of 224-206, an indication of the challenge that lies ahead in the equally-divided Senate.

Although Democrats hold the tie-breaking presidential vote, the bill must meet a 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster. This means that LGBT+ advocates have to find at least 10 Republicans to vote in favour of the Equality Act.

It’s not looking good, especially as it’s now easier than ever to employ the filibuster. Currently, a senator doesn’t have to talk endlessly to run out the clock on a bill – they can just have a staffer send an email saying they object, which counts as a filibuster.

“It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning,” Biden said in an interview with ABC News this week.

He said he wants to bring back the “talking filibuster”, a proposal that has the backing of many senators. But as with the Equality Act, Lindsay Graham and others like him will do all they can to block it.

When Hannity asked if Democrats could ever get rid of the filibuster, Graham frowned and shook his head.

“Not with a 50-50 Senate,” he said, although he was forced to admit that could change if Democrats can pick up more Senate seats in 2022. Here’s hoping.

More: Lindsey Graham

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