Skip to comments.Mitch McConnell: I’d prefer to leave the filibuster intact for Democrats next year...(Abridged)
Posted on 05/26/2014 10:27:48 AM PDT by Bratch
Before you shake your fist, consider the strategy at work here.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that if he were to emerge as majority leader following this falls elections, hed prefer to keep in place the minority partys ability to filibuster legislation
While he said he thought Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had done a lot of damage by using parliamentary procedure to enable some judicial and executive nominees to move through the chamber with 50 votes, he suggested that he had no plans to try to undo that change. He even left the door open to further changing the rules so they would apply to more nominees
But in stopping short of endorsing filibuster reform for actual legislation, McConnell laid down a marker for how he would run the chamber that could end up upsetting his own members. Should, for example, Republicans emerge from November with a slim Senate majority, there will be a number of legislative items including, potentially, the repeal of Obamacare on which he will need 60 votes to end debate.
So hes planning to maintain Harry Reids status quo, in which 51 votes would be needed for cloture on presidential appointments (except to the Supreme Court) but 60 would remain the threshold for actual legislation. Why would he do that? Why not get rid of the filibuster for Senate bills too so that the GOP majority can pass whatever it wants? Two obvious reasons. One: Obamas going to veto whatever comes out of a Republican Congress so the GOP gains nothing by nuking the rest of the filibuster. Two, more importantly: Its verylikely that Democrats will be regain their Senate majority in 2017 and also quite possible that therell be a new Democratic president in office. That would leave just two obstacles to Democrats passing any law they want the House, which will probably but not definitely still be in GOP hands in three years, and the filibuster in the Senate. If McConnell nukes that filibuster for legislation next year, all Reid has to do when hes back in charge is say that hes going to follow Republican precedent. The GOP minority will be completely locked out in the upper chamber with no grounds to complain. McConnells playing a long game in refusing to hand that opening to Reid. Better to let Democrats filibuster GOP bills thatll end up dying on Obamas desk anyway than to create a Republican buy-in to the Dems anti-filibuster agenda.
In fact, keeping the filibuster around may be useful to conservatives too. If you think Mitch the Knifes going to push an exclusively right-wing agenda as majority leader, think again:
As majority leader, McConnell would command significant authority in setting the agenda. But in a speech in January he indicated that he would aim to focus on areas of consensus, not solely conservative priorities like repeated votes to repeal Obamacare
A fully Republican Congress would have an obligation to the partys would-be 2016 presidential hopeful to avoid extreme positions that would damage GOP presidential chances, analysts say. At the same time, Republicans would bear full responsibility for an institution that is highly unpopular with the public and has been notoriously unproductive in recent years.
In order to elect a president in 2016, were going to have to show in 2015 and 16 that the American people can trust Republicans with the government, said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). That means that well have to come up with changes that go in a conservative direction, but changes that command support of independent voters as well as our conservative base.
Tax reform is one example of an initiative that might end up a bit more moderate than conservatives would prefer. Amnesty, of course, is another. Its unlikely that McConnell would try to pass something that no less than 41 members of his own caucus oppose, but given how much righties seem to distrust him, youd like the option to filibuster a terrible bill that ends up on the floor with McConnells blessing, no? Keeping the current rule intact gives you that option.
One thing I dont get, though: Why not bring the filibuster back for presidential appointments too? If, in all likelihood, the GOPs going to be back in the minority in a few years, its worth moving to undo Reids precedent on appointments as quickly as possible. He might just reverse the rule again, of course, by re-nuking it in 2017 if the GOP brings it back next year, but at least force him to make that move. By acquiescing in what he did, youve agreed to move the Overton window on nominations. Having the filibuster intact next year for nominees could benefit conservatives too. Its quite possible that Obama will nominate someone dubious whom most, but not quite all, Republicans oppose. If the GOP ends up with a slim 51/49 majority, it would take just two Republicans to flip for that nominee to be confirmed unless the old filibuster rules are reinstated, in which case it would take 11. Why wouldn't McConnell want to add that extra insurance?
Exit question: If the doomsday scenario comes to pass and Democrats end up controlling the White House and both houses of Congress in 2017, whats the likelihood that Reid will go ahead and nuke the filibuster on legislation regardless of what McConnell does next year? One hundred percent, right?
Not as bad as the other article.
Quite frankly, as long as Barack Obama is President, the filibuster rules are meaningless to a Republican majority.
“But in a speech in January he indicated that he would aim to focus on areas of consensus”
Also known as across the aisle bending over.....
Did he also say he would POWER SHARE with Harry /
The liberal republican party must be destroyed.
Like any doormat, Mitch McConnell’s olive branch will be gladly accepted, and then it will be used to whip his fat turtle face until he cries and offers to do Harry Reid’s homework for him all semester long.
If the ,Rats are going to regain the Senate in ,16, why does he need to be re,elected in ,14?
Does anyone really think that Harry Reid is not going to change the filibuster rules back to the super majority rule in the lame duck session, if and when he loose the speaker-ship?
Mitch is assuming an awful lot here: 1) He will be re-elected; and, 2) the Republicans will take the Senate.
Right now, I don’t see either happening.
Is he counting his chickens before they hatch?
And the 'pubs will love it. They'll have cover for not passing constitutional conservative issues.
Remember when Boehner pledged that all bills would come to the floor for a vote? He lied.
Mitch is lying. If he becomes Majority leader he will not give the Dems an even break. Count on it.
Yes and I think Mitch is saying whatever he can think of to get a few Democratic votes in the general election.
Hairy and Mitch, two fools.
It really does not matter what Mitch says.
He will be applying for a job at Trent Lott’s Lobbying Firm after the
He has pissed off every conservative in KY.
The Bushites in KY will show up in full force at the polls.
However, don’t expect KY conservatives to crawl over glass to send
McConnell back to congress. Even the help of McConnell’s
Mini-Me, Rand Paul, won’t be enough to get enough conservatives
to the polls.
As McConnell remains behind in the coming polls, look for the GOPe’s
in DC to force McConnell to announce he will not seek re-election to
his leaderless post as a final desperate attempt to save that GOP seat.
Will it work? That depends on what KY conservatives decide to do.
I know I won't be voting for Cornyn in the general election. His key cloture vote that allowed Reid to remove the debt limit proved that he won't govern conservatively.
In addition, I’m sure he’d like to “reach out” to the democrats in order to give them an equal representation on committees and as chairmen, just like his mentor Trent Lott did. If the Senate goes to the GOP, watch for the demands from Reid’s mob, just like Daschle orchestrated, and look for Mitch to cave.
Mitch doesn’t have to cave. He agrees with the Democrats.
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