- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, is not changing his stance on Democrats’ voting bill over threats that Democrats would diminish the Senate filibuster if Republicans do not relent to liberals’ agenda. 

The filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to pass bills has obstructed liberals’ policy agenda in a Senate divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Mr. Graham if Republicans intent on rejecting the voting bill were risking Democrats responding by lowering the number of votes needed to overcome the filibuster’s barrier from 60 to 55. 

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, signaled an openness to lowering the filibuster’s threshold at a private meeting with donors, according to leaked audio obtained by the Intercept last week. Mr. Graham said he has worked on several issues with Mr. Manchin, who has sought to develop a compromise over the massive voting bill, but Mr. Graham signaled he would not change his stance on the filibuster. 

“I’m not going to be extorted here, I’m asking no more of my Democratic colleagues than I ask of myself,” said Mr. Graham on “Fox News Sunday.” “It was very unpleasant to be beat on every day by the president of the United States, President Trump, and his allies, to try to change the rules in the Senate to have their way. I said no because it’s bad for the Senate. I hope these Democrats understand it’s bad for the Senate to change the rules, and I don’t want to be extorted.” 

Mr. Graham labeled the voting bill the “biggest power grab in the history of the country” and said he did not like taking away redistricting power from state legislatures.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has previously said he intends to bring the voting bill up for a vote in the Senate on Tuesday. 

• Kery Murakami contributed to this article.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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