Tags: mitch mcconnell | filibuster | senate

McConnell Lobbies to Keep Senate Filibuster

mitch mcconnell addresses the audience gathered at the fancy farm picnic in fancy farm, kentucky
(Timothy D. Easley/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:14 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued in a new opinion piece that the filibuster is a crucial piece of the legislative process that must remain in place.

Writing for The New York Times, McConnell said that any attempts by Democrats to erase the legislative filibuster would go against the Constitution.

One of the hot topics in the Senate is some Democrats' desire to get rid of the chamber's 60-vote threshold to end debate on a bill. McConnell doesn't want to see that happen, and he used the process of nominating federal judges to make his point.

"A Democratic assault on the legislative filibuster would make the nomination fights look like child's play," he wrote. "That's because systematically filibustering nominees was not an old tradition but a modern phenomenon, pioneered in 2003 by Democrats who opposed President George W. Bush. When Republicans followed suit and held up a handful of Obama nominees the same way, Democrats could not stomach their own medicine and began a 'nuclear' exchange that Republicans had to end.

"The back-and-forth was regrettable, but the silver lining is that the failed experiment Democrats started in 2003 is now over. The Senate has taken a step back toward its centuries-old norms on nominations: limited debate and a simple majority threshold."

Regarding the legislative filibuster, McConnell argued that is equally important to preserving a tradition with roots in the Constitution. Retired Sen. Harry Reid, a Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader, played a crucial role in erasing the filibuster six years ago — and is now advocating for the legislative filibuster to be axed.

"The legislative filibuster does not appear in the Constitution’'s text, but it is central to the order the Constitution sets forth," McConnell wrote. "It echoes James Madison's explanation in Federalist 62 that the Senate is designed not to rubber-stamp House bills but to act as an 'additional impediment' and 'complicated check' on 'improper acts of legislation.' It embodies Thomas Jefferson's principle that 'great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.'

"The legislative filibuster is directly downstream from our founding tradition. If that tradition frustrates the whims of those on the far left, it is their half-baked proposals and not the centuries-old wisdom that need retooling."

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued in a new opinion piece that the filibuster is a crucial piece of the legislative process that must remain in place.
mitch mcconnell, filibuster, senate
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2019-14-22
Thursday, 22 August 2019 10:14 AM
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