Republican leader Mitch McConnell vows ‘scorched earth’ if Senate ends filibuster

Clay Curtis
March 17, 2021

The parliamentary custom has always been seen as a mechanism requiring bipartisan consensus that distinguishes the Senate from the House of Representatives, where only a simple majority is needed to pass legislation.

"While GOP lawmakers across the country propose legislation that would strip millions of Americans of their right to vote, Senate Democrats have introduced sweeping legislation that would protect voting rights, reduce the impact of big money in our elections, and add tens of millions of eligible Americans to the voter rolls", Stand Up America president Sean Eldridge said in a statement.

"I don't think you have to remove the filibuster; you have to do it the way it was when I first got to the Senate back in the old days", Biden told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday.

Another option is reverting the legislative filibuster back to the 'talking filibuster, ' meaning senators would actually have to speak on the floor when enacting it. "You had to keep talking". So there has been talk about doing away with the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to pass most legislation in the 100-seat chamber. "That's what it was supposed to be".

The president has expressed reluctance to changing the filibuster in the past, though he did say he was open to the possibility if there was no other way to get his agenda through Congress.

A rising number of Democratic legislators are evaluating potentially abolishing or changing the filibuster so they can force their agenda through the Senate without formal protest from Republicans.

MITCH MCCONNELL: This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change.

The Democratic majority faces mounting pressure from progressives to kill the filibuster and pass major legislation to fulfill campaign promises from President Joe Biden.

The Florida Senate proposal (SB 90), sponsored by Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, would require voters to request mail-in ballots more frequently, ban the use of drop boxes for voters to turn in ballots and allow only "immediate" family members to collect and deliver ballots to and from voters.

GOP lawmakers recently introduced two dozen bills that would make it harder to vote in the lone star

McConnell warned Democrats not to move any further, exposing the retaliatory steps he might take.

"So let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues". Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called attention to the Democrats' hypocrisy, reacting to calls to reform the filibuster by telling reporter Igor Bobic: "I don't recall them saying any of that over the last four years". "All we need to do really is just to tweak the law a bit, to be sure that there is transparency and oversight in a bipartisan basis, and you would have everything you need to maintain the absolute best laws in the country". "We'd strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero - zero - input from the other side", he said.

Mr. McConnell also mocked Senator Durbin for warning, as recently as 2018, that the so-called “nuclear option” of ending the filibuster “would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers.” Mr. Durbin had said: “We have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure.”.

But Manchin reaffirmed his position in comments that could allay the Republican's concerns. We reduced long lines and got rid of crowded polling places in many places not for the sake of convenience but for safety. "We've already seen him do that". He's proven he can do it and they'll do it again, I assume.

The Republican leader's harsh words came as the Biden administration was celebrating the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Bill, the huge COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress without a single Republican vote.

To address Republican obstruction of President Barack Obama's executive branch and judicial nominees, Democrats repealed the filibustering law.

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The measure, sponsored by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, could help make over 4.4 million people eligible for permanent USA residence, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

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