Mitch McConnell Issues Filibuster Warning To Democrats: Prepare For ‘Scorched-Earth Senate’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) issued a warning to Democrats on Tuesday. “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,” McConnell said.
His comment comes a day after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) spoke out against the 60-vote legislative filibuster, calling it a “weapon of mass destruction” holding the Senate “hostage.” The idea of reverting the legislative filibuster back to a “talking filibuster” has garnered support from Democratic senators.
McConnell warned that removing the filibuster would not “fast-track” President Joe Biden’s agenda. “So this is not a trade-off between trampling etiquette but then getting to quickly transform the country,” McConnell said. “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.”
“This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change,” he said. “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.”
Back in 2011, McConnell and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came to a “gentleman’s agreement,” meaning that Republicans would limit their filibusters if Reid opened up the floor to more amendment votes.
In 2013, however, Democrats used the “nuclear option” to get rid of the filibuster on a party-line vote.
Senate Republicans ended the 60-vote filibuster on Supreme Court nominations in 2017 in order to aide former President Donald Trump in adding three justices to the court.
McConnell has shut down all suggestions – even one from Trump himself – to remove the filibuster.
McConnell warned Democrats by listing off policies that could pass when Republicans control the chamber again, mentioning issues such as defunding Planned Parenthood. He said: “So the pendulum … would swing both ways, and it would swing hard.”