McConnell Threatens to Nuke the Senate if Democrats Nix the Filibuster - Game On!
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell threatened a "scorched-earth" response if Democrats vote to eliminate the filibuster, a rule that forces the majority to gather 60 votes to end debate and move to an up or down vote on legislation.
The Hill: [McConnell] “Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like.”
McConnell has made it clear many times that he will use the filibuster whenever possible to block Biden's legislative agenda. Many Democrats favor abolishing or reforming the filibuster in order to pass bills addressing voting rights, the minimum wage, climate change, immigration, and the nation's infrastructure. And, as Democrats get closer to changing the rule, McConnell's bluster increases.
New York Times: "On Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell warned Democrats that if they modified or eliminated the filibuster Republicans would bring the Senate to a standstill, and derail President Biden’s agenda in retaliation."
So, in essence, McConnell's plan is to kill every Democratic initiative whether they remove the filibuster or not.
McConnell also warned of the priorities Republicans would pass if they gained back control of the Senate without a filibuster.
The Hill: [McConnell] "outlined a laundry list of conservative policies that could pass the next time Republicans control the chamber: Defunding Planned Parenthood and so-called "sanctuary cities," sweeping anti-abortion legislation and nationwide concealed carry reciprocity."
But, here's the thing; without filibuster reform almost nothing is going to get done during the next four years. If McConnell was able to prevent even one Republican from supporting the Covid relief bill last week, he will have an easy time keeping the Republican caucus in line on immigration reform, environmental protection, minimum wage, and voting rights legislation.
President Biden will do what he can with executive orders, but his power is limited. So, Democrats must decide if they will allow Mitch McConnell to set the agenda or if they will fight for their priorities and deliver on their campaign promises. That should be an easy choice.
TPM: “Trading this for the ability to actually pass bills like voting rights seems like an easy call,” Adam Jentleson, a former Harry Reid staffer and current anti-filibuster activist, wrote on Twitter....“McConnell’s goal is to make government fail, Dems’ goal should be to make it work.”
Here's how Democrats should do it in order to convince the nation that they want to work with Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation:
First, let McConnell know that you are serious. Change the filibuster for voting rights legislation and pass HR1 as we suggested recently.
Then, tell Mitch that you will keep the filibuster in place for other legislation unless Republicans refuse to negotiate in good faith on such things as infrastructure and minimum wage legislation.
When they stonewall on those bills [and they will], vote to reform the filibuster by requiring a "speaking filibuster," as President Biden suggested yesterday. Speaking filibusters require opposing Senators to actually take the floor to debate the bill and take quite a bit of passion to sustain.
Perhaps Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues will get the message that gridlock is no longer acceptable, that Congress is elected to do the people's business through negotiation and compromise. Perhaps.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content