Senate Republicans have just been put on notice.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has threatened to do away with the Senate filibuster if Senate Republicans do not cooperate with the Democrats’ agenda, Breitbart reports.
“Everything will be on the table”
Schumer’s comments came on Sunday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show.”
“We need big, bold change, Jonathan,” Schumer said to host Jonathan Capehart. “That’s what America needs. The kind of change we began to do in the American Rescue Plan has to continue in the many ways that it has and in many other ways, infrastructure, democracy, things that we have talked about a little bit here, child poverty.”
Schumer went on to say that he would like to bring about that change with the help of the Republicans, but he is willing to do it without them if necessary.
“We would like to work with our Republican colleagues to bring that big bold change, no question about it,” Schumer said. “That’s our preference, and we will try. But if they vote no on everything in terms of the kinds of change that America needs, then our caucus will have to get together and figure out how to get it done. Everything will be on the table. Failure is not an option. We cannot turn away from the big, bold change that is needed.”
Schumer’s comments came in response to Capehart asking him whether the Senate filibuster “should stay or go.”
What the filibuster does is require a supermajority of 60 votes for a piece of legislation to be passed. This is problematic for the Democrats who currently only have a 51 to 50 majority in the Senate, if one includes the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
What this means is that even though the Democrats control the presidency and Congress, Republicans in the Senate can stop most legislation from going through. We recently saw one exception with the passage of the most recent $1.9 coronavirus bill. This bill was passed with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate using the reconciliation process.
Republicans and even some Democrats, including key swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), are vehemently opposed to the idea of getting rid of the Senate filibuster.
According to reports, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Schumer have come to a power-sharing agreement that includes a provision that preserves the Senate filibuster. Accordingly, it would appear as though the filibuster will remain for at least the next two years.
But, Schumer’s intentions are clear: it is to get the Democrats’ radical agenda passed by any means necessary.