The Senate filibuster rule is once again coming under partisan attack, this time from a Democratic Party-aligned group urging party leaders to consider abolishing it if they regain power on Election Day.
In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a harsh rebuke of those promoting an effort to, in his estimation, “permanently disfigure the Senate,” as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“The latest growing drumbeat”
He made his comments during an address from the Senate floor on Monday.
Calling the anti-filibuster push “the latest growing drumbeat in the modern Democratic Party war against our governing institutions,” McConnell pointed out that many of the same voices had previously been perfectly willing to use the same rules they are now trying to change.
As an example, he said that Senate Democrats sought to block a $500 billion coronavirus relief bill — in favor of their much more expensive proposal — by using the tool put in place to preserve the voice of a minority party in the chamber.
“Democrats want completely different sets of rules, depending on whether or not they hold power,” McConnell complained. “They want to assert minority rights when they have the minority and steamroll them if they get a majority.”
With many Democrats under the belief that they are poised to regain control of the Senate, party officials and insiders have joined forces to create Fix Our Senate, an organization dedicated to increasing the likelihood that elected officials will kill the filibuster if Republicans lose the White House and Congress.
“This takes measuring the drapes to a new level,” McConnell said. “The Democratic leader and his colleagues aren’t just measuring the drapes, they’re calculating how much kerosene it would take to burn the drapes down.”
He went on to reference other attempts to “hotwire democracy itself,” which he said included increasing the size of the U.S. Supreme Court and affording statehood to the District of Columbia.
“Perhaps our colleagues like promising a shameless power grounded, the only way to energize their radical far-left base, but the real effect is to make the stakes and these issues completely and totally clear to the American people,” McConnell continued.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on the other hand, said he believes that “the first item of business” upon a Biden presidency and a Democratic majority in the Senate should be “to get rid of the filibuster.”
It is unclear whether a majority of voters are paying attention to the battle over the filibuster, but McConnell is making it clear that he will fight to protect it — no matter which party is in power.