Politics & Policy

McConnell Warns Democrats of ‘Scorched-Earth Senate’ If Filibuster Is Removed

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) threatened to use “every” rule available to advance conservative policies if Democrats choose to eliminate the filibuster, allowing legislation to pass with a simple majority in place of a filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.

With some Democrats urging moderates Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Arizona) to abandon their support for the filibuster, McConnell warned in a floor speech that such a move could “break” the Senate.

“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell said.

If the Senate is restructured to require simple majorities to pass all legislation, McConnell warned that Republicans would use that policy to their advantage if they regained a majority in the chamber.

“As soon as Republicans wound up back in the saddle, we wouldn’t just erase every liberal change that hurt the country—we’d strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero input from the other side,” McConnell said. The minority leader indicated that a Republican-majority Senate would pass national right-to-work legislation, defund Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities “on day one,” allow concealed carry in all 50 states, and more.

The Senate is currently tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and Manchin’s and Sinema’s refusal to eliminate the filibuster has left Democrats unable to make that change. Sinema’s spokesperson said in January that she is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind,” while Manchin has indicated he would be open to some reform without eliminating the procedure entirely.

The progressive wing of the Democratic caucus has pushed in recent weeks for a limited reform to the filibuster rule that would allow for its suspension when the Senate is voting on legislation that would expand voting rights.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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