In a recent interview, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham defended his decision to block the unanimous consent vote to temporarily replace Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggesting that he would be willing to replace Feinstein only if she resigns her seat, CNN reported.
Last Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to replace Feinstein with Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin through a unanimous consent vote, arguing that the California Democrat was clear that she wanted someone to temporarily replace her on the Judiciary Committee until she returns from her extended recovery from shingles.
But a unanimous consent vote can be blocked by a single Senator using the right to object. And Senator Graham did just that.
Speaking in the Senate chamber, Graham noted that while every senator wishes Feinstein a “speedy recovery” and return to the Senate, the unanimous consent vote to replace her “is about a handful of judges that you can’t get the votes.”
With unanimous consent off the table, Senate Democrats have few options left. Majority Leader Schumer could call for a full Senate vote to temporarily replace Feinstein with Cardin, but that would require a 60-vote threshold, and it is unlikely ten Republicans would agree.
While appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Graham told host Dana Bash that if Feinstein resigned from the Senate, he would ensure that the precedent followed in the past when a senator resigns would be followed this time so a new Senator could be placed on the Judiciary Committee.
But Graham added that he hoped Feinstein would return, saying she has been “a very effective senator.”
Last Friday, a group of 60 California progressive organizations released an open letter calling on Feinstein to resign from the Senate, arguing that California still needs a “daily voice.” The group urged Feinstein to provide one final “gift of service” to the state by resigning her seat and allowing Governor Newsom to appoint someone who will “extend your legacy.”