Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a harsh rebuke to Democrats for ending the legislative filibuster.
A New York Times updated by the Kentucky Republican Thursday offers a detailed defense of filibuster, which actually requires each legislature to have at least 60 votes in the 100-member House, rather than just the majority of 511. McConnell's opinion comes a few days after his Democratic predecessor as Majority Leader, former Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, is called the filibuster's departure. Reid argued that practice prevents the will of the people from being implemented and is undemocratic.
McConnell disagreed, saying that the 60-vote requirement ensures that legislation passed by the House is the result of compromise and negotiation, not a large majority.
"The legislative filibuster is directly downstream from our basic tradition. If that tradition frustrates the keys of the far left, it is their half-baked proposal and not the centuries-old wisdom that needs to be rebuilt," McConnell wrote.
Warning about the long-term consequences of such a move, McConnell said that he and his GOP colleagues "will not vandalize this core tradition" simply for the benefit of them in the short term because they retain the majority in the Senate. [1
McConnell also referred to relatively frequent changes in party control, which may mean that today's majority party is tomorrow's minority. Since the 1980 elections, the Senate majority has shifted seven times (nine if another 17 days of democratic control in January 2001 are included).
Senate filibuster has weakened in recent years thanks to both Republicans and Democrats.
In 2013, the Senate, led by then-Majority Leader Reid, passed "nuclear power" by eliminating the use of filibuster on all nominated presidential elections except for those elected to the Supreme Court. Then, Democrats accused Republicans of blocking President Barack Obama's nominees in a show of political retaliation.
After Republicans took control of the Senate, McConnell removed the 60-vote nominee for the 2017 Supreme Court nominee, paving the way for the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Brett Kavanaugh's ascent to the Supreme Court and dozens of lifetime courts followed.
McConnell attached "the legacy of the process's snowfall" to Democrats, saying that "the consequences of taking Senator Reid's advice will haunt the Liberals for decades."
In his New York Times updated last week, Reid, who served as a majority leader from 2007 to 2015, argued that the filibuster "chokes" the will of the American people, including on issues of climate change and gun control. "Something needs to change. That's why I urge the Senate to abolish filibuster in all its forms. And I urge candidates seeking a Democratic nomination for president to do the same," he said.
McConnell warned that overlaying legislation is a "treasured tradition" and removing filibuster would force the Senate to lose its status as a "protection" by the US government to become too much like the House, with a simple majority being all that needed. "One of the central aims of the body is to get new laws to earn broader support than is needed for just a majority in the House. The legislative filibuster is not in the Constitution text, but it is central to the order the Constitution specifies," he said.
Noting how some Democratic leaders in the Senate and candidates running for president flirt with the idea of eliminating filibuster, McConnell said he hopes that "sanity votes among Democrats can help their countrymen see reason."