Politics & Policy

Senate Dems Refuse to Commit to Preserving Filibuster

Then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) listens during a virtual meeting at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., December 15, 2020. (Al Drago/Reuters)

Democrats are resisting an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to include protecting the filibuster as part of a power-sharing agreement to run the Senate, Politico reported on Thursday.

McConnell has lobbied new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to include the provision in a deal to manage the Senate, which is tied 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. Moderate Senators Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) are both opposed to scrapping the filibuster, meaning progressive Democrats will likely be unable to make good on commitments to do away with it.

However, while Democrats do not have immediate plans to eliminate the filibuster, they argued that the threat to do so could be used as a negotiating tactic and are unwilling to neutralize the threat from the outset.

“Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader. We can get shit done around here and we ought to be focused on getting stuff done,” Senator Jon Tester (D, Mont.) told Politico. “If we don’t, the inmates are going to be running this ship.”

Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine), meanwhile, cautioned that it would be best to take the filibuster off the table sooner rather than later.

“You want to do it before there’s an emotional, difficult, controversial issue. So that it isn’t issue-driven, it’s institution-driven,” Collins said. Collins organized a letter in support of the filibuster in 2017, when former President Trump himself called to scrap the procedure.

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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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