Lindsey Graham has a tea-bagger primary opponent in his campaign for reelection to the Senate from South Carolina next year, so he he is now threatening to shut down government appointments, including to top positions at the Federal Reserve and the Department of Homeland Security, because — Benghazi! He made the shutdown threat on Fox News last Sunday:
GRAHAM: So I am calling for a joint select committee. But for God’s sake, let the House have a select committee where you get three or four committees together to look at this situation as one unit rather than stove piping. And where are the survivors? 14 months later, Steve, the survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. congress for oversight purposes. I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to the Congress. I’m tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books.
Think Progress notes that this is not the first time Graham has resorted to the increasingly frequent Republican ploy of taking the U.S. government hostage:
Graham issued a warning about no nominations proceeding unless the Port of Charleston received the $50,000 needed to be deepened back in 2011. In Dec. 2012, Graham threatened to allow the U.S. to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff” unless the Social Security age was raised.
On Benghazi itself, Graham has had his exact demands change along with his targets. CIA Director John Brennan was threatened not to be confirmed unless Graham was able to learn precisely who changed the infamous “talking points” that now-National Security Advisor Susan Rice delivered the week after the attack. He also swore to not allow a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense unless his predecessor Leon Panetta testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both of those demands were met, showing that the CIA itself was the one who deleted references to al Qaeda from Rice’s talking points and allowing Panetta to chide the SASC’s Republicans for treating the military like a 911 service.
Graham’s threat comes just as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) prepares a new wave of Obama administration nominees to be brought before the Senate. Even before the threat to hold all of these nominees was issued, Senate Democrats have been mulling the so-called “nuclear option” of allowing for votes to proceed with a majority 51 votes, ending the threat of the filibuster on certain types of votes.
Ironically enough, Graham recently chastised his colleagues for blocking an up or down vote on the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, calling it the “wrong” thing to do.