On Friday, President Donald Trump had some choice words for Senate Republicans.
The president took to his Twitter to urge GOP lawmakers to remove the filibuster rule. He said, “If Senate Republicans don’t get rid of the Filibuster Rule and go to a 51% majority, few bills will be passed. 8 Dems control the Senate!”
A filibuster occurs when a minority of Senators attempt to delay or block a vote on a particular bill. It is a way for them to obstruct a vote being put forth by the majority party.
If senators refuse to hold a vote on a bill, the Senate will have to override them by holding a “cloture vote” which would stop the debate on the bill and move them to a final vote. As it stands, 60 votes are required to invoke cloture, which means the Democrats can continue to obstruct the GOP’s agenda in Congress.
Since it is clear that the Democrats intend to impede any initiative championed by the GOP, it may become necessary change the current filibuster rule. If they change the rule to require only a simple majority in order to invoke cloture, it will be easier for Republicans to overrule the Democrats’ obstructionist efforts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has repeatedly stated that he will not change the filibuster rule. In April, he said, “There’s not a single senator in the majority who thinks we ought to change the legislative filibuster. Not one.” McConnell was willing to change the rules to approve the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The problem is that Republican lawmakers have not been able to successfully implement President Trump’s agenda because they are not able to garner enough votes. This is one of the reasons why the GOP has not been able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The relationship between President Trump and Majority Leader McConnell has become strained in the past month with both men trading barbs. On Twitter, the president stated:
“The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed! That should NEVER have happened!”
McConnell has repeatedly criticized the president’s use of Twitter and his stance on free trade. He said, “The assumption that every free-trade agreement is a loser for America is largely untrue. But we’ve got a selling job to do and of course in agriculture, there’s nothing more important than trade.”
President Trump urges Senate Republicans to get rid of the Filibuster Rule and go to a 51% majority. Should they get rid of the rule?
There are many who fear that if McConnell does not push to change the filibuster rule, the Democrats will when they have control of the Senate. Additionally, pushing through legislation has been a major challenge for the GOP. The reality is that the Democrats are not going to cease their efforts to stymie the efforts of Republican lawmakers — and this means that Congress will not be able to get much done.
While it is desirable to place a high bar for debate on controversial issues in the Senate, it has also prevented Congress from being as productive as they could be. Making progress means making tough decisions, and the GOP must either change the rule, or find other ways to to move forward.