Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is telling Democrats to look for bipartisan opportunities.
The Hill reported that Schumer's primary reason for the call to unity is to build up a defense against any attacks next year that Democrats are unwilling to work with Republicans. But the outlet noted it is also seen as a step toward possibly limiting the filibuster.
The belief is that if Republican senators show they are uninterested in working with Democrats, it will help bolster the case within the Senate Democratic Conference to reform the filibuster, which requires most legislation to win 60 votes to move forward.
Ardent liberal Democrats have been pressing hard to end the Senate filibuster, but they still don’t have the full support of those in their caucus.
Democrats have invoked "Jim Crow" as a means to discredit the filibuster, a tactic which allows for endless debate to stall legislation that was first enshrined in Senate rules in 1917. Prior to that, the Senate had no rules to end debate and the chamber installed a 67-vote threshold to create one. That was reduced to 60 in 1975.
"Schumer is just now laying out how we want to go forward," one Democrat senator told The Hill. "Some members of the caucus, a considerable number, they want to understand the extent of Republican obstruction to justify any action taken on the filibuster."
And another Senate Democrat acknowledged there is consensus within the conference about the need to look at the extent of any GOP obstruction before moving forward on filibuster reform.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, confirmed that he is one of those who want to see how far Republicans are willing to compromise before continuing with further discussions on filibuster reform.
"That’s my feeling. ... I’d much rather do things in a bipartisan way," he said, adding that "whether things get done will be up to Republican colleagues."
Right now, Schumer is looking to protect Democrats from expected attacks by Republicans that they pushed through far-left legislation and never attempted to reach a bipartisan compromise.
A Senate GOP leadership source confirmed to The Hill that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will target vulnerable Democrat incumbents next year for ramming a partisan agenda.
During an interview last month on the podcast "The Truth with Lisa Boothe," former President Donald Trump warned fellow Republicans that any effort to abolish the Senate filibuster would cause irreparable damage to the party.
Meanwhile, Schumer has defended Democrats' use of the filibuster to block the Republicans’ agenda when former President Donald Trump was in the White House. He claimed they were justified because then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would not negotiate with Democrats. Schumer made his remarks on Thursday during a press conference.
"The big difference is that we were always willing to negotiate in a bipartisan way," Schumer said. "Mitch McConnell isn't. The bills he puts on the floor, even when he calls them bipartisan, aren't."
Schumer maintained Democrats are much more willing to sit down with Republicans on legislation. But he said when Republicans controlled the Senate, McConnell was not willing to talk things out with Democrats.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.