Amid Senate Democrats’ assault on the filibuster, Senate Minority Whip John Thune told Fox News Wednesday that Republicans will keep the 60-vote threshold that applies to most bills, if the GOP gains a majority in the chamber in the 2022 midterms.
"If we get the majority back, absolutely we're going to preserve the legislative filibuster, as hard as it will be," the South Dakota Republican said in an interview with Fox News Digital. "Anything to be really enduring around here needs to be done in a bipartisan way with at least some level of cooperation from the other side. And that's the essence of the Senate.
"We understand that majorities flip," he said. "You may be in the majority today, but someday you're going to be in the minority."
Despite his pledge of commitment, Thune does not have the final say on the filibuster’s fate with a GOP Senate majority. Earlier this week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, specifically declined to commit to keeping the filibuster, and other senators might have differing opinions. If Democrats will later do away with it, Cruz argued that it would be pointless for Republicans to keep the Senate tradition.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she thinks Republicans will keep the filibuster the next time they are in the majority.
"I can't speak for my colleagues. But I certainly am committed to keeping the legislative filibuster in place, and I think most Republicans are," she said in an interview with Fox News. "President Trump repeatedly called upon the Republican Senate to do away with the filibuster, because he was frustrated that his complete agenda was not getting enacted and the process was slow," CBS reported.
"Time and time again, the leaders, Republican leadership told him no," she said. "So, I think that's a pretty good indication that we stand for principles, regardless of who is empowered."
If Republicans are the majority in 2023, the GOP leadership combo of Thune and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who supported the filibuster under Trump, is likely to remain.
Because of the role that party leaders play in setting the agenda for the Senate, a GOP majority headed by McConnell and Thune in 2023 would most likely mean the filibuster would be safe.
"We understand how important the Senate is to the country as an institution and as a check and balance against, not only an administration in this case and the House of Representatives, but also a representative of the minority party, the minority rights in this country, making sure everybody has a voice," Thune said. "That's why the Senate is here, that's why the rules operate the way that they do."
With Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., doubling down on her support for the filibuster Thursday, Democrats’ latest effort to do away with it seems doomed. If top Democrats do eventually succeed, Republicans are warning they may quickly regret it.
"The Democrats are going to rue the day," Thune said. "They are going to rue the day because the nuclear winter that will ensue if they move forward with this will completely paralyze the Senate."
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