"This is unprecedented." Arguing breaks out after Lindsey Graham breaks Senate rules (VIDEO)
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham called for a vote on an asylum bill before allowing Committee Democrats to even speak. The move caused near pandemonium as seen via CSPAN on Thursday.
Graham: "The clerk will call the roll."
Senator Feinstein: "You're breaking the rules of the Committee ... Mr. Chairman, this is unprecedented."
This move allowed Senator Graham to ram through legislation overhauling U.S. asylum laws, including changing the number of days minors crossing the border can be held in custody.
The detention and separation of families at the border is one of the hottest political topics right now on Capitol Hill, and Graham's bill will do a number of other things:
- It will require people to seek asylum in Mexico or their home country.
- Allow unaccompanied minors from Central America to be sent back to their home countries.
- Provide funding for 500 new immigration judges.
Senator Dick Durbin spoke up about the incident with The Hill, and said Republicans are changing the Senate rules in order to benefit themselves politically:
“It’s a dramatic departure from the way the committee has been managed in the past. It has been a very bipartisan committee with few exceptions and to force through a controversial measure on immigration in this manner doesn’t help us on the agenda we face."
Durbin also said he thinks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is who people need to ultimately blame for this stunt by Senator Graham.
I think he’s receiving instructions and maybe even pressure from the leadership to move this bill,” Durbin said. “I think that Senator McConnell will want to be able to point to it on the calendar.”
Senator Feinstein tried to warn Graham that changing the Committee rules would set an "unfortunate precedent."
“If the Majority party can simply ignore Committee rules when they become inconvenient and proceed in any manner it so chooses, then the Committee cannot function,” she said.