Given the current makeup of the 50-50 split Senate, with the tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Kamala Harris, if need be, the legislative filibuster rule is the only Senate rule preventing Democrats from holding unprecedented power in the upper chamber — power that would allow them to pass virtually every and any piece of legislation they wanted.
As part of a power-sharing agreement at the start of the new Congress this year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shchumer hammered out a deal that would keep the filibuster rule in play.
As much as McConnell is on everyone’s undesirable list, at least he did that.
But there’s been renewed push by a number of Democrats — especially the progressive wing of the party — to end the filibuster rule, which would give Democrats the ability to shove all kinds of garbage, radical legislation down America’s throat.
According to The Hill, McConnell issued an extreme warning to his colleagues about ending the filibuster, promising severe retaliation in return should they choose to go down that road.
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“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” the Minority Leader said on Tuesday.
McConnell’s threat came just one day after Sen. Dick Durbin painted the legislative filibuster rule as what he described as a “weapon of mass destruction,” while accusing Republicans of using it to hold the upper chamber “hostage.”
The Kentucky senator went on to explain — for the ones in the back — that ending the filibuster would only complicate the existing gridlock in Congress and not make it easier to pass legislation, as some Democrats apparently believe.
“So this is not a trade-off between trampling etiquette but then getting to quickly transform the country. That’s a false choice. Even the most basic aspects of our colleagues’ agenda, the most mundane task of the Biden presidency, would actually be harder not easier,” McConnell said.
“This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change. It would not open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books. The Senate would be more like a 100-car pile up, nothing moving.”
While McConnell can issue threats all day, arguably — and ironically — the only person holding the line between Democrats launching the “nuclear” option and voting to end the filibuster with a simple majority vote is moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who had said on numerous occasions that he is not in favor of ending the filibuster.
In other words, he’s the only Democratic senator thinking ahead to 2022 and beyond, because if Democrats end it now and Republicans eventually take back majority control of the Senate, the retaliation against Democrats would be devastating and it would leave them without the same filibuster defense that Republicans currently have.
Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has also suggested that she’s not in favor of joining her party in nuking the filibuster.
Only time will tell if the progressive Democrats will ultimately prevail in pressuring Schumer into moving to shoot down the filibuster, but if that happens, they’d better be prepared for years of political combat.
ARTICLE SOURCE : thefederalistpapers.org