‘Sacrosanct’ Filibuster Won’t Be Touched In Next Congress: Senate Republicans

The fate of the upper chamber’s signature delay tactic has been thrown into doubt with the impending departures of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Senate Republicans say that the filibuster is “sacrosanct,” and won’t be gotten rid of even if former President Donald Trump reclaims the White House in November.

Speaking to reporters as they left a conference meeting about the upcoming Senate leadership election, Republicans said they would rebuff any efforts to overturn the filibuster.

The filibuster is a consistently divisive tool used by the Senate minority party to block the advancement of legislation deemed unacceptable by a member.

When a bill is filibustered, which effectively means the Senate is prevented from ending debate on the issue and moving to a floor vote, 60 votes—rather than a simple majority of 50—are needed to break the impasse.

In the past, presidents in both parties, including both President Trump and President Joe Biden, have called on their party to end the practice, which can be done by a simple majority vote.

However, each of these attempts across American history have been met with pushback—often from members of the president’s own party.

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The most recent push to end the filibuster came during the 117th Congress, when Democrats controlled the White House and House, but had their ambitions foiled by the filibuster in the Senate. Most Senate Democrats were prepared to end the practice.

But staunchly pro-filibuster Democrats—including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) who was still a Democrat at the time—blocked the push, siding with the GOP minority to protect the procedure.

President Trump also made a push to end the practice. In 2018, he exhorted Senate Republicans to end the filibuster, saying that keeping it in place could be “the end of the party.”

That push, however, ultimately went nowhere, as Republicans were unwilling to acquiesce to the president’s request.

Should President Trump win reelection in November, Senate Republicans suggest, they’ll take the same position in future negotiations with the White House.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (D-N.D.) indicated that preserving the tool is especially important for his party in the upper chamber, as they often find themselves in the minority.

“That protection … that’s what’s special about the Senate,” Mr. Cramer said. “That’s what sort of drives some natural discipline in the Senate, what makes the Senate not the House.”

Mr. Cramer reported that Republicans discussed the filibuster during their closed-door meeting, and that Senate Republicans maintain “a unified commitment to always maintaining the filibuster, to resisting the calls to to eliminate the filibuster.”

Asked if he and other Republicans would overturn the filibuster in order to secure the border, Mr. Cramer joked that senators would always want to overturn the filibuster for their own pet issues but reiterated, “You just have to resist.”

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) echoed Mr. Cramer’s comments.

“There were affirmative statements about how the filibuster is sacrosanct,” Mr. Tillis said of the meeting.

“I think that we have a critical mass of members that are very serious about maintaining the integrity of the institution,” he added, criticizing Democrats for often talking tough on the filibuster but later attempting to overturn it.

He said he didn’t blame President Trump for his past calls to weaken the filibuster, considering it a classic constitutional conflict between the executive and legislative branch.

“If you’re the president of the United States, you want to reduce every obstacle to getting your agenda done,” Mr. Tillis said. “So you would naturally, from the perspective of the Article Three branch, say, ‘Remove this obstacle.’

“We happen to be in the Article One branch, and we actually believe that is a very important part of maintaining the unique nature of this democracy versus any other one that’s ever existed,” Mr. Tillis said.

The meeting, called by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), involved the upcoming Senate leadership elections that will be held in November.

After a litany of attempts by his conservative critics to remove him, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that, after nine terms leading the party in the upper chamber, he will be stepping down.

The meeting allowed members to discuss the issues, and what a new leader could entail for the party but ended in few actionable issues.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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