July 15, 2024

McConnell threatens to paralyze Senate if Democrats blow up the filibuster

The Washington Times | by Haris Alic | Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Tuesday to paralyze the Senate using scorched-earth tactics if Democrats undo filibuster rules to pass a partisan agenda.

He said any move by Democrats to weaken the longstanding 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation would inaugurate a new era of partisan warfare.

“What would a post-[filibuster] Senate look like,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “I assure you it would not be more efficient or more productive. I personally guarantee it.”

The GOP leader said that, given the longstanding rules and traditions governing debate in the Senate, his senators could easily tie up the chamber in procedural gridlock. Mr. McConnell, in particular, threatened to weaponize the Senate’s unanimous consent rule, which requires all 100 members to be on board before legislation can be brought to the floor.

“Do my colleagues understand how many times per day the Senate needs and get unanimous consent for basic housekeeping,” said Mr. McConnell. “Do they understand how many things would require roll-call votes, how often the minority could demand lengthy debate?”

Democratic leaders are pushing to blow up the filibuster in a party-line vote to rewrite the nation’s voting laws. The effort has gained steam in recent weeks since the demise of President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social welfare and climate change bill, which was the centerpiece of his economic agenda.

“The time has come for the Senate to pass voting rights legislation and take whatever steps necessary to address this chamber’s rules in order to accomplish that goal,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

To succeed, Mr. Schumer needs the support of all 50 Senate Democrats in the evenly split Senate since no Republicans plan to back the move.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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