Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Tuesday that his party would adopt a “scorched earth” policy that would be akin to a “100-car pileup” if Democrats get rid of the filibuster in order to ram through radical-left legislation that doesn’t have enough Republican support to make it otherwise.
“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.
He added, “I want our colleagues to imagine a world where every single task, every one of them, requires a physical quorum.” Currently, many of the day-to-day business of the Senate is conducted by unanimous consent, but McConnell said this would be revoked in the absence of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for a bill to advance for a vote by the full Senate.
Durbin torches filibuster as “weapon of mass destruction”
Many Democrats including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two top Democrat in the chamber, are arguing strongly for getting rid of the filibuster, saying that it will keep much of the Democrat agenda from becoming law.
On Monday, Durbin called the filibuster a “weapon of mass destruction” that was holding the Senate “hostage.”
Currently, Democrats do not have the 50 votes they would need to get rid of the filibuster. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) both oppose getting rid of it, and in the evenly divided Senate, even one Democrat no-vote is enough to veto the proposal.
In lieu of getting rid of the filibuster entirely, one suggestion has been to revert to a “talking filibuster,” which requires senators to stay on the floor until the other side gives up.
Manchin said he could potentially support a “talking filibuster” because he said it should be “painful” to use the filibuster.
“More like a 100-car pile up, not moving”
McConnell’s warning was a shot across the bow that nixing the filibuster would not be an easy way to transform the country and enact Biden’s agenda, however.
“So this is not a trade-off between trampling etiquette but then getting to quickly transform the country. 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,” McConnell said.
“This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change. 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,” he added.
It is important to note that McConnell could have gotten rid of the filibuster while Republicans controlled the Senate and did not do so, because he rightly believed it was needed as a check on one-party rule.