Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reacted to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders becoming the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee now that Democrats control the chamber, saying on Sunday, “I’ve got a fight on my hands.”
Speaking during an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” the senator also argued that Republicans need to “fight like hell” against raising taxes and “turning America into a socialized nation.”
Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, has been the ranking member of the budget committee since 2015, which means he was the most senior member of the minority party. Traditionally, the majority party member with the greatest seniority on a particular committee serves as chairman.
The budget committee’s current chair is Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. However, Democrats won both Senate runoffs in Georgia earlier this month, putting the party narrowly in control.
If Republicans held control of the Senate, Graham would have become the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Graham warned on Sunday that now that Sanders will become chairman, “the first thing they [Democrats] are going to do is use reconciliation, where you just need 50 votes, to increase your taxes.”
Graham was referring to the special process called “budget reconciliation,” which neutralizes filibusters.
It takes two rounds of 60 votes in the Senate to break most filibusters. However, the Democrat-controlled Senate would need only 51 votes to advance legislation under budget reconciliation.
Graham noted Democrat “priorities” on Sunday, saying, “They’re going to roll back border security at the border and you see the caravans beginning to form now.
“They're going to raise your taxes, they're going to impose regulations on the economy, they're going to try to make D.C. a state, they’re going to try to implement parts of the Green New Deal and ‘Medicare-for-all’ through budget reconciliation,” Graham said. “I’ve got a fight on my hands.”
Sanders addressed his new role last week.
"In the past, Republicans used budget reconciliation to pass massive tax breaks for the rich and large corporations with a simple majority vote," he tweeted. "As the incoming Chairman of the Budget Committee, I will fight to use the same process to boldly address the needs of working families."
Graham noted on Sunday that President Trump is leaving office “with some of the most significant accomplishments in my lifetime,” including bringing “order to chaos at the border,” rebuilding the military “when it was on its back,” destroying ISIS, cutting taxes, and helping to produce five peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel.
Graham also noted that President Trump signed the historic United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement that Trump called a "disaster."
The USMCA, which is the biggest trade deal of all time, covers more than $1.3 trillion of commerce, and was the second major trade deal secured by the Trump administration last year.
Graham said he thinks Republicans need to “work with Biden where we can, maybe on infrastructure, but fight like hell [against] turning America into a socialized nation, fight like hell to make sure we don't undercut border security, reject the Green New Deal, fight like hell against raising taxes.”
Graham predicted that if Democrats follow through with what “they’re talking about doing, Republicans will come roaring back in 2022.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Chad Pergram and Fox Business’ Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.