I’m glad I don’t work for Lindsey Graham

This came in from Lindsey Graham this afternoon:

Graham To Refuse Pay, Close Offices, Furlough Staff During Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this announcement on how his Senate office will function, should the Congress and President fail to come to agreement on the federal budget by midnight.  Each Member of Congress is responsible for establishing their procedures for operation during a government shutdown.

  • Senator Graham will refund his salary to the Federal Treasury for the time the government remains shutdown.
  • Senator Graham’s offices in Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Mount Pleasant, Pendleton, Rock Hill, and Washington will be closed during the shutdown.
  • Senator Graham’s staff — both in Washington and South Carolina — will be furloughed and placed on unpaid leave.

“I will refund my salary to the Bureau of the Public Debt within the U.S. Department of Treasury,” said Graham.  “Our brave men and women serving in uniform will not get paid during the shutdown. I believe Members of Congress should think twice about putting their way of life before those who fight to protect it.

“I’m disappointed Democrats in Congress and President Obama have not agreed to our very reasonable requests for spending reductions,” said Graham.  “What we’re seeking is belt-tightening at the federal level, a practice millions of Americans have already gone through.  It’s long past time we get our nation’s fiscal house in order.  The essence of our proposal is to take spending back to 2008 levels plus inflation.  Our proposal is by no means extreme.

“I’m very proud of my staffers who deliver high-quality constituent services to the people of South Carolina,” said Graham.  “It’s a tradition I’ve tried to carry over from Senator Thurmond.  However, I cannot justify having the offices open during a government shutdown when the staff will be unable to meaningfully help people.

“Therefore, my staffers will be furloughed without pay,” said Graham.  “I truly believe with the government shut down, we can’t deliver services to the people of South Carolina in a way to justify the expense.  In light of those facts, closing the office and furloughing the staff is the fiscally-responsible step to take.”


Of course, I went without pay for about nine months not so long ago. I suppose I could tell these folks to buck up, that it’s a character-building experience. But I know better. I know that it’s just a lousy situation. And it’s caused by polticos in Washington acting like children over the budget. (And no, senator; it’s not just the Democrats failing to be “reasonable.”)

I heard some highamuckymuck on the radio today pontificating on the subject, saying that the disagreement came down to one thing: spending.

And I’m like duh, yeah, I guess so — seeing as how it’s the budget we’re talking about here. Congrats on figuring that out, Einstein.

47 thoughts on “I’m glad I don’t work for Lindsey Graham

  1. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    My friends who work for state government have been doing this for quite a while.

    What it comes down to is that the Republicans insist on bobtailing particular politically motivated cuts onto the “magic number”–like funding for Planned Parenthood (which does not receive any funding for abortion services already!).

  2. Brad

    Yep, they do make a big fuss over ideological stuff. As do the Democrats. And they let small (monetarily small) things hold up the big picture.

    You’re right that they’re making a big stink over it even though funding doesn’t go straight to abortions. And Democrats are being equally obtuse pretending that funding going to other functions of Planned Parenthood doesn’t subsidize abortion. Like money’s not fungible or something. Like funding one area of operation doesn’t free up funds for another…

  3. bud

    The Dems have agreed to a proposal put forth by the GOP to cut spending 33 billion. Now they want more. What would you have the Dems do, give in to their outrageous demands without a fight? No one has even considered tax increases. That definitely should be on the table. Not sure I understand what the fight is about. One sides wants x amount of cuts. The other wants y. Just split the difference and go home.

  4. Steven Davis

    Why is planned parenthood a government responsibility? Is it really a part of running a country?

    Social programs should all be axed.

  5. Mark Stewart

    Brad, This is a topic where you stumble. I find it hard to believe you said that: of course in a way you are right, but the bottom line is that you are opposed to Planned Parenthood providing non abortion services as well. This quickly gets into human rights stuff.

    I find this all very distasteful; are we to deny women pap smear tests and other medically important stuff – including birth control? That’s what the federal government funds. Frankly, as abortions are legal, the government should help fund them as well. Its wrong that this back channel restriction is permitted to stand.

  6. Juan Caruso

    Harry Reid has called Tea Party supporters extremists. Though I am not in the Tea Party, I disagree with his tactics and the easily rebuffed cliches he tosses out to curry his supporters.

    While I have no animus toward layers per se, I find their concentration in career politics
    alarming, unrepresentative of the public at large and, because they tend to be both powerful role models for ordinary politians and highly networked among themselves, at odds with substantive separations of federal branches of government.

    In my distaste for lawyers in politics, I am naturally bi-partisan.

    Lindsey is posturing like a wealthy, career politician. He is no better than a Harry Reid, or the other 58 (or more) senatorial lawyers, in my opinion.

  7. Doug Ross

    Agree with Mark. As long as abortions are legal, this cannot be an issue to hold up passage of the budget.

    And I looked up the definition of “poseur” in the dictionary and there was a picture of Lindsey Graham. So millionaire Lindsey was going to forego a paycheck? Wow… that’s like Kirstie Alley giving up a bad of potato chips. He’s got a multi-million dollar campaign warchest filled by all the lobbying groups. Maybe he should have paid his staff out of those bribes.

  8. Doug Ross

    And I’m sorry, but at what point is Obama going to take the lead on ANY issue? He’s been more of a cheerleader than quarterback. Never says anything that might be described as a specific opinion.

  9. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I wish there were a “like” button so I could just click it for Mark’s last comment.

  10. Brad

    Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Because I usually like what Mark has to say, but that was objectionable on a number of levels — and not nearly as logical as his usual comments. Set aside whether one thinks it is “wrong” to allow a restriction to stand. We could argue that forever.

    But I am surprised that he would argue that one should fund Planned Parenthood because it provides useful services in addition to abortion. Those services are provided elsewhere, and there is ZERO reason why one must give a dime to Planned Parenthood in order for them to be provided.

    And Doug absolutely floors me: “As long as abortions are legal, this cannot be an issue to hold up passage of the budget.”

    Really? So now, anything that is legal is an entitlement that my tax dollars must go to pay for. REALLY?

    Quick — who are you, and what have you done with Doug Ross?

    It’s amazing how this issue causes reason to go right out the window.

  11. Barry

    @ Doug

    ” Maybe he should have paid his staff out of those bribes.”

    Don’t thinkg it works that way. Can’t pay your cap hill staff out of campaign funds.

  12. Jake

    Brad, why no comments or coverage on the ridiculous school choice “scholarship” bills debated last week?

  13. Doug Ross

    I said it should not be an issue to hold up passage of the budget. You think it should? If that was the only issue preventing passage, you would say shut down the government?

    I’d rather see someone with the guts to cut military spending, raise the social security retirement age, and implement major Medicare reform than bicker over chump change spent on providing information on a legal medical procedure.

  14. Karen McLeod

    Fine Brad, but if we’re defunding one program (like Planned Parenthood) because of your ethical concerns for one of its legal practices, I demand that we defund any and all programs (including especially military programs) that are causing damage to already born humans, because I find those programs to be morally reprehensible, never mind the non violent things those programs might be achieving. Kathryn, if you find that “like” button, give it a push for me.

  15. Brad

    Jake, we’ve been having an extended discussion about the voucher issue, starting back here (sorry, but some of our most involved discussions can be hard to find, since they have little bearing on the original subject).

    And Karen, yes, I’ve heard that argument before. And I’ll just say this to you and Doug: The nation that defunds its military is begging not to be a nation any more. The stakes are even higher when you have become the world’s main bulwark against the ambitions of tyrants. The thing is, other nations — including the former Great Nations of Europe (ever hear that Randy Newman song?) — HAVE cut back on defense, and relied on us for security, for quite some time.

  16. Doug Ross

    Is it “defund” the military or just cut a tiny bit during an economic crisis? We have more firepower than we should ever need.

  17. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    [Like] What Karen Said.

    Brad– I have been fuming for days about how so many people seem to think there’s so much waste in government–there’s simply not in the many state offices I know quite a bit about (or the city ones, for that matter). I do believe, as does my fairly conservative father, that there is a ton of waste in the military–not our fighting folks, many of whom qualify for food stamps, but c’mon, finding ridiculous charges for supplies is like shooting fish in barrel.

    and Karen is exactly right that if we are going to allow line item vetoes by personal belief, certainly Quakers and other conscientious objectors should be allowed to veto military spending!

    Mark is right: abortion is legal, and defunding women’s health services because some people have concerns that abortions will be funded is just plain wrong.

  18. marconi

    “The nation that defunds its military is begging not to be a nation any more”

    Now THAT’s the most irresponsible and inaccurate twaddle I’ve heard in some time; if there’s anything more rife with bloat and waste it’s the pentagon and all the remoras swimming about the outside of the fort with their hand out.

    We can easily still remain the bulwark against tyrants by spending with alot less than what we spend now.

  19. Karen McLeod

    And what happens to the nation that closes down it’s gov’t because of a squabble over peripheral spending in one organization?

  20. Ralph Hightower

    Had the shutdown happened, Congress would get their paychecks while the military doesn’t get paid.

    Something ain’t right!

  21. bud

    It’s amazing how this issue causes reason to go right out the window.

    Absolutely. So why did the GOP make in a part of the budget fight. The Republicans are dead wrong on the timing of this. Just agree to a simple compromise on the dollar stuff and leave the controversial abortion debate for another time.

  22. bud

    The thing is, other nations — including the former Great Nations of Europe HAVE cut back on defense, and relied on us for security, for quite some time.

    That’s a load of crap. The Europeans spend plenty on the military. They just don’t go overboard the way we do.

  23. Brad

    OK, so suddenly we shifted gears, eh? Instead of the usual — bud and Doug pushing for defunding what the military DOES — we’re hunting for $600 toilet seats now? Fine. Hunt away. But that was NOT the context in which I wrote what I did. I wrote what I did knowing that certain friends out there believe the US should withdraw from the world, and use the military for guarding us from the Mexican hordes and natural disasters, and, I don’t know, helping old ladies cross the street or some such.

    So once I say that’s a bad idea in light of geopolitical reality, I’m suddenly the guy who favors bloat at the Pentagon.

    Come on, folks. Argue fairly, OK?

    And Kathryn — come on, no one is advocating that ANYONE be allowed to exercise a line-item veto on spending he or she does not like. That would be a violation of all I believe about how self-government should function.

    And of course, that’s not what we were talking about, was it? We were talking about the legitimate process whereby, in a representative democracy, elected representatives decide what will be funded and what will not. And somehow we got to comparing one of the few essential functions of national government, national security, and directly or indirectly funding abortions. Which is about as night and day as you can get. Even if we thought abortion was as hunky-dory as anything gets, even if we were all in favor of it, it would STILL be a highly questionable priority for federal funding, as it does not speak to an essential function of government.

    But if the legislature decides to fund it, then I will be funding it — I don’t get to choose, nor should I get to choose, whether I will pay for it at that point. The time for debate over it is when it is passing through the legislative body. Actually, the time for ME as a voter is on Election Day. And there is nothing illegitimate about Republicans trying to demonstrate that, come next Election Day, they were the guys who tried to stop this. That’s one of many things voters should take into account, each in our own way.

  24. bud

    OK, so suddenly we shifted gears, eh? Instead of the usual — bud and Doug pushing for defunding what the military DOES

    Doug made it very clear that we’re not talking about DEFUNDING the military. Jeez this is not that difficult to understand. The military budget is responsible for more than $700 billion/year. Everyone agrees that much of that budget is wasteful. Plus, it’s more than the next 20 nations combined. Why should it be off limits? Give me one reason we shouldn’t make serious cuts to that bloated, wasteful artifact of the cold war era? You can’t do it can you. All you can do is blather on about DEFUNDING the thing which no one has suggested we do. Really Brad, try to read comments more carefully.

  25. Karen McLeod

    The problem, Brad, is not just “defunding” a minor program. The Republicans are willing to shut down gov’t over minimal, indirect funding of a procedure which is a minor part of it’s program; and that program carries out much good. If this were another time and place, without so much at stake, I could deal with their position. But they are the ones who are refusing to deal at this point. They’d rather shut down gov’t? Add to that Mr. Boehner’s (sp?) much publicized desire to make sure only republicans pass this measure, and their pandering becomes obvious.

  26. Brad

    Actually, I kind of thought the dispute was over spending, period — combined with the fact that some of the yahoos elected in November think shutting down the government would be a pretty neat idea. ‘Cause, you know, THEY don’t need government. It’s just liberals and lazy, shiftless negroes who need government.

    Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding their position…

    Personally, this last-minute set-to about abortion was vaguely comforting to me. To think it might be about actual principles on both sides, rather than about this simmering, irrational HATRED of government (when our form of government is one of the main things we have going for us in this country), was reassuring. Or would have been, if I had believed in it.

    I saw it as a diversion from both sides. Republicans AND Democrats trying to make out that the dispute was about values important to their respective bases. Something easier to understand. Deceptively easy…

  27. Doug Ross


    Yeah, the abortion issue is never handled with flaming rhetoric. It’s sort of like arguing about ethanol subsidies.

  28. Doug Ross

    Here’s the difference between Brad and me: he loves the theoretical version of government we have and I hate the actual implementation of that theory.

  29. bud

    Who actually still supports ethanol subsidies? Not liberals. To us it’s about using food for fuel. Something we find abhorent.

  30. Brad


    But it reminds me of something far less funny — the way it creeps me out every time I hear my liberal friends insist that poor women MUST be able to get abortions. You know, because we really don’t WANT these children…

    Really sends a chill down my spine.

  31. Mark Stewart

    Burl’s funny.


    Getting back to your comment that my point above was illogical and offensive to you; it might have been, my viewpoint is my own. I would like to correct one thing though; I was not suggesting that the Federal Government fund abortions. I simply said that I personally believe that it should.

    There are a few touchstone issues where people hold these absolutist positions. Abortion is obviously one of them. There are no undecided voters on the issue. The only time someone changes their perspective is when something impacts themselves personally (even as a reevaluation of their principles) – or when they run for election(!). I’ve noticed that not even things that impact a family member are central enough to sway in individual to alter their viewpoint.

    So that said, it’s really pointless to spend any conversational or political time to converting anyone’s view. It’s not going to happen that way.

    My point to you was that it is going too far to say that Planned Parenthood should be defunded from providing women healthcare services just because they provide abortions as well. We have to make these kinds of distinctions and accommodations to have a functioning civil society.

    To follow what I think was your logic on this, you would also then be in favor of defunding any hospital (or doctor) who preformed abortions – regardless of the fact that no government reimbursement was received for that specific procedure (and I bet you hate that I used that word, but I do not mean to antagonize you with it). This is just such a slippery slope situation. Lot’s of organizations provide services that meet everyone’s approval and at the same time provide controversial services that some-to-many people find objectionable. But in the end, this is what makes a civil, functioning society. The most needs addressed with the least amount of conflict. It’s called serving the community. In the end, we all benefit.

  32. Brad

    Mark, as for “you would also then be in favor of defunding any hospital (or doctor) who preformed abortions…”

    Well, we’d have to analyze that on a case by case basis. But it’s hard for me to imagine that falling into the same category.

    Planned Parenthood is as much identified with abortion as is NARAL. It is a political actor in the debate. No one on either side should pretend that they don’t know what funding Planned Parenthood means in light of the abortion debate. Where you stand on funding Planned Parenthood is essentially the same as where you stand on funding abortion.

    You could probably say the same about some doctors, but you couldn’t say that about many hospitals, I wouldn’t think.

  33. Brad

    You know what? I got confused there for a moment, jumping back and forth between threads. I posted something on this other thread, thinking it was the one on which we discussing abortion. You might want to go look at it.

    For me, in a way, though, they ARE the same threads. So consider them as one, in terms of my comments…

  34. Mark Stewart


    That was my point; some organizations take leading edge (lightening rod) rolls. Others play the margins. If you squeeze Planned Parenthood, another group will simply arise to soldier on.

    After all, their services are legal.

    So I do find it distastefull to single out some entities for persecution based upon their willingness to take a stand; it upsets my sense of probity, even though I know that the leaders expect to be challenged.

    I didn’t follow your point about hospitals; all hospitals provide abortions – yet you are not opposed to them (because only a small part of their serives are abortions?).

  35. Brad

    Yes, that’s right — because they do not define themselves in those terms. And, no, not all hospitals provide abortions. But that’s aside from the point we were discussing.

    As for your “After all, their services are legal.” Please. Next you’ll suggest that we fund Reality TV. It, I hear, is also legal. Although I wish it weren’t. But one thing I’m sure of — we don’t need to spend federal funds on it.

  36. Brad

    And Mark, you surprise me with that “I do find it distastefull to single out some entities for persecution based upon their willingness to take a stand; it upsets my sense of probity, even though I know that the leaders expect to be challenged.”

    Come on. Really. Not getting federal funding is “persecution?”

    Look, I take a hell of a lot more stands than Planned Parenthood does. And you know what? I realize that funding me, or even paying me for providing legal, noncontroversial services that I am well-qualified to perform becomes controversial with a lot of people. Such people may be shortsighted, but I’m not surprised when some of them turn pale at the idea of being identified with me.

    I realize that the stands I have taken over the years made it hard for some people to step out and hire me. That’s life. It’s up to prospective employers whether they want to take the “risk,” or whatever it is they perceive, to hire me. Thanks and congrats to Lanier Jones and ADCO for having the nerve to do what others did not! (And I’m more controversial than most — a person who disagrees with Democrats can expect to be hired by Republicans, and vice versa. There aren’t a lot of UnParty employers out there.) I HAD the only job in which I could get paid what I got paid to have as many diverse opinions as I have; that job doesn’t exist any more.

    So don’t expect me to shed a tear for poor, defenseless Planned Parenthood, which has a large, well-organized and passionate support base, because pro-life people didn’t want to be forced to support them.

  37. Mark Stewart


    Nowhere did I say government is wrong not to subsidize abortion providers; I said those individuals who want to support such organizations are free to do so – and government should support an organization’s non-abortion health services the same as if the organization was any other health care provider. Big difference.

  38. Mark Stewart

    ed passes your personal threshold and Y% does not. What if Planned Parenthood started buying Sisters of Charity / Providence Hospital systems to balance the “badness”? Would that impact your viewpoint? This is very, very shades of gray stuff to me…

    And I do see the parallel here between bud’s conscientious-objector objection to certain military spending and your perspective here. That’s why I say for the good of society sometimes some people have to close their eyes and hold their noses so that the idea of the rule of law can continue to underpin a civil society.

  39. Mark Stewart


    I just don’t get the moral rationalization that says X% of abortion services as a percent of total services provid…

    [The first part got lost in the upload]

  40. bud

    Brad, you’ve made a huge, and to me unnecessary, leap in concluding that planned parenthood is identified exlusively as a sort of abortion mill. That’s only because they’ve been branded that way by the hard right. Planned parenthood offers many services that have nothing to do with abortion and which the vast majority of Americans strongly support. I would maintain that planned parenthood is a vital institution which makes a huge contribution to the health and welfare of hundreds of thousands of young women and girls.

  41. Doug Ross

    From Andrew Sullivan… this captures my thoughts.

    “Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, “Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!” They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.

    former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY).

    Note: I rode up on an elevator with Simpson in a D.C. hotel last year. He was with his wife, no staff… he was wearing a tux and carrying what looked like some award he had received that evening with a “what do I do with this?” look on his face.


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