For the second time in a month, President Trump tweeted a message calling on the Senate to revise its rules and permit a simple 51 vote majority to enact key legislation.
But the White House stopped short of confirming whether he actually meant for senators to scrap the filibuster, which now requires a vote of 60 in the Senate for cloture (ending debate) and bringing a measure to a vote.
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted: “The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and tax cuts approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!”
Later that afternoon, Newsmax asked press secretary Sean Spicer if he actually meant to call for scuttling all filibusters on legislation.
“I think the concerns that he’s had with the pace of the Senate has been longstanding,” Spicer told me. “Obviously the use of the filibuster and the rules of the Senate are ultimately up to Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [the Republican majority leader].
“But I think that the frustration that he’s had with the pace of some of the legislation and some of the obstructionist tactics that Democrats have employed, whether it's Cabinet nominees or other pieces of legislation, has been well documented.”
When I pressed Spicer as to whether Trump meant ending the filibuster altogether, he replied: “I think he wants to see action done . . . whether it's the delays that Democrats posed to his Cabinet nominees, or pieces of legislation, he wants action. This president was elected to get things done. He wants to see things move through the House and the Senate, especially when you’ve got a majority of support, and people to stop playing games.”
When they controlled the Senate in 2013, Senate Democrats did invoke the nuclear option to lower the threshold to a simple majority to end filibusters against lower court judicial nominees. Earlier this year, Senate Republicans led by McConnell invoked the same nuclear option to require a majority to end filibusters against Supreme Court nominees.
Trump, however, is the first current political figure to call for 51 votes to end filibusters on legislation.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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