Lindsey Graham says he won't be 'extorted by liberal Democrats' over infrastructure deal

Sen. Lindsey Graham.
(Image credit: Evelyn Hockstein-Pool/Getty Images)

Republican senators are already voicing their reasons for opposing the bipartisan infrastructure proposal unveiled on Thursday, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) revealing what would be the "ultimate deal-breaker" for him.

A bipartisan group of senators — 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans — spent weeks negotiating with top White House aides, and on Thursday afternoon the White House released details on the proposal: it calls for $973 billion in spending over five years, including $579 billion in new funds not already allocated through other projects. There would be $312 billion going to transportation, $65 billion for broadband, and $55 billion for water infrastructure. President Biden tweeted that under this plan, millions of jobs will be created.

"Neither side got everything they wanted in this deal," Biden said. "That's what it means to compromise, and it reflects something important, reflects consensus. The heart of democracy requires consensus." However, Biden also said it must work "in tandem" with a Democratic reconciliation bill containing the party's spending priorities, and if the infrastructure package "is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

That's not going to work for Graham, who tweeted that if the "reports are accurate that President Biden is refusing to sign a bipartisan deal unless reconciliation is also passed, that would be the ultimate deal-breaker for me. I don't mind working with the other side for the common good, but I'm not going to be extorted by liberal Democrats or anyone else."

Graham isn't alone. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) supports the bipartisan plan, his office told Kansas City Star reporter Bryan Lowry, but he's also in discussions with moderate Democrats, asking them to assure him that if the infrastructure bill passes, they won't push through additional spending proposals through reconciliation.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.