They are the ones that started getting rid of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster, doing it in order to confirm lower-court judges. Then Republicans applied it to Supreme Court nominees. And now, President Trump says, it’s time to permit legislation to pass with just 51 votes, or 50 if the vice president is used as the tiebreaker in favor.
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!
Perhaps the next step is another limited one, applying it just to spending bills. You can already pass what’s known as a “budget resolution” that provides a general blueprint for spending with 50 votes. How about the spending itself?
It’s the only way Trump will get $5 billion for his wall. Although it is possible Democrats will compromise if there is an extended shutdown and give him a portion of what he wants, even with the filibuster. But I doubt it.
President Donald Trump had a simple message for Senate Republicans during a meeting at the White House on Tuesday: Kill the filibuster now, before Chuck Schumer and the Democrats do.
Trump told more than 15 House and Senate GOP appropriators that Schumer, the Senate minority leader, would get rid of the legislative filibuster if Democrats took over the chamber in November. According to several lawmakers, Trump suggested that a mutual friend he shares with Schumer heard this from the New York Democrat and then passed the tidbit onto the president.
In Trump’s view, Senate filibusters should take place only when a senator stands up and holds the floor. Trump mentioned “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the 1939 movie in which Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jefferson Smith, stages a filibuster until a corrupt Senate leader is exposed, as an example of how the process should operate.
I don’t need someone who talks to Trump and Schumer to tell me that Schumer, even if he did not want to do such a thing, would be under irresistible pressure from the left to end the filibuster rule, which basically requires 60 votes to pass anything that can’t technically be related to the budget.
But Republicans will probably wring their hands and wait instead of seizing the opportunity to enact legislation before a possible Democratic takeover.
In April 2005, when Democrats were blocking a list of Bush nominees and Republicans were threatening to invoke the “nuclear option,” the newly elected junior senator from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama, took to the floor and sanctimoniously proclaimed that the nuclear option would not only be a violation of democratic principles, but that it would worsen partisanship.
Here are few excerpts from his remarks:
Everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster – if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.
I urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these rules . . . I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose this rules change because they believe they can get away with it rather than because they know it’s good for our democracy.
What (Americans) don’t expect is for one Party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game, so that they can make all the decision while the other Party is told to sit down and keep quiet.
His reelection is less than a month old, and President Obama is already busy concocting new power grabs.
He wants to remove a portion of the power of the purse from Congress by granting himself the ability to raise the debt ceiling, subject to a two-thirds disapproval vote in Congress, which basically means he can raise it at will. If Bush had tried this, Democrats would be sobbing anguished tears all over the floors of Congress about the imperial presidency.
And the White House, in an unusual interference with congressional procedure, has weighed in with support for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s effort to roll back the filibuster, which currently requires 60 votes to end.
“The President has said many times that the American people are demanding action,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “They want to see progress, not partisan delay games. That hasn’t changed, and the President supports Majority Leader Reid’s efforts to reform the filibuster process.”
If Bush tried to move the worlds “greatest deliberative body” toward a simple majority vote to pass legislation while his Party controlled the place, he’d be derided by Democrats for trying to seize new power and ruin the Senate.