Senators Fume as Lindsey Graham Opposes Crucial Defense and Foreign Aid Package

In a surprising turn of events on Capitol Hill, Republican and Democratic senators are expressing frustration and disappointment over Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) decision to oppose a $95 billion defense and foreign aid package. Graham’s unexpected stance has left his colleagues seething, particularly those who had worked alongside him for years, relying on his support to muster a majority for the critical bill.

The bipartisan architects of the legislation had considered Graham’s backing pivotal in garnering enough Republican votes to apply pressure on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for its passage in the House. However, with Graham voting against it, the bill fell short of expectations, even with 22 GOP votes in favor, leading to doubts about its chances in the House.

Senators who had counted on Graham as an ally feel blindsided by his reversal, especially considering his previous vocal support for similar initiatives. Last year, Graham passionately advocated for funding to aid Ukraine, lambasting a budget deal that excluded provisions for the war-torn nation.

Speculation abounds regarding Graham’s motives, with some suggesting he may be seeking to align himself more closely with former President Trump, who actively lobbied against the package. Trump’s influence on Graham, particularly regarding the issue of granting pardons to Jan. 6 protesters, has been a subject of scrutiny.

Graham’s shift in allegiance has left his colleagues perplexed, given his history of championing national defense and foreign affairs. His decision to oppose a bill that includes substantial funding for Ukraine and measures to counter Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region has raised eyebrows, especially considering his past advocacy for supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Despite Graham’s justifications citing concerns about border security, many senators find his reasoning unconvincing, particularly in light of the significant provisions for Ukraine and other crucial defense initiatives in the bill.

Moreover, Graham’s absence at a NATO gathering in Munich, where discussions on supporting Ukraine were paramount, drew criticism from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, highlighting growing tensions between Graham and advocates for bolstering Ukraine’s defense.

Graham’s detractors see his actions as emblematic of a larger issue of inconsistency and unpredictability, with some senators expressing frustration at his deviation from previously held positions on key issues.

As the debate rages on, Graham remains steadfast in his defense of his decision, emphasizing the need to prioritize border security while asserting his unwavering support for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel.

The fallout from Graham’s unexpected opposition to the defense package underscores the complexities and divisions within the Senate, raising questions about the future of bipartisan cooperation on critical issues of national security and foreign aid.

H/T The Hill

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