Graham: ‘Plan B’ to end shutdown requires commitment from Pelosi

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Democrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday said “Plan B” for reopening the government would require a short-term end to the partial shutdown coupled with a commitment from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Mnuchin reach 'near-final agreement' on budget, debt ceiling Wendy Davis launches bid for Congress in Texas Steyer calls on Pelosi to cancel 'six-week vacation' for Congress MORE (D-Calif.) to vote on a potential Senate-passed bipartisan bill that includes border security money.

“Plan B is a bipartisan bill,” Graham told reporters shortly before the Senate rejected two measures on Thursday afternoon aimed at ending the shutdown, now in its 34th day.

“The Democrats say they won’t negotiate with the government shut down. Many of them say wall funding is not a problem as long as its tied to priorities of the DHS,” he said, referring to the Department of Homeland Security.

"So how do you start the process? You’ve got to have the House come forward and say that they are willing to receive and take up a bill passed by the Senate,” Graham said.

After meeting with a group of 16 Democratic and GOP Senators on Wednesday about “what a compromise would look like if we could ever get that three weeks," Graham said he’s “pretty confident … we would have a bill done in pretty short order in the Senate.”

The Senate on Thursday rejected a continuing resolution that would have funded the shuttered agencies through Feb. 8.

Earlier in the day at an event with air safety officials at Reagan National Airport, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Health care moves to center stage in Democratic primary fight Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress MORE (D-Va.) told reporters that Democrats are united in their belief that negotiations should not take place while government employees are working without pay.

“We will not let you shut the government of the United States down when you've taken the oath to protect and defend this country and then use the pain that you've inflicted on all these people to get your way in a temper tantrum – that we are united on that we are not gonna compromise on,” Kaine said surrounded by representatives of federal aviation workers.

Graham said he believes his Democratic colleagues are willing to work with GOP senators if the government reopens, but he wasn’t sure about Pelosi, citing fringe elements in her party that he says led to her postpone the State of the Union address if the government is still shut down on Jan. 29.

“The animosity toward the president coming from the House is something that is pretty extreme,” Graham said. “What I see is pretty scary – this idea that the president put a new offer on the table that didn't move anybody. The Speaker's being held captive by some people that are pretty extreme – we've had that in our party, but I haven't seen at this level.”

—Molly K. Hooper