Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that his fight to keep the Senate filibuster in place has been a success. In a statement on Monday night, McConnell said that the Republicans have managed to convince two Democratic Senators to confirm that they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster.
Today, two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster. They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation. The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001. With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.
On Twitter, McConnell referred to the support of the two Senate Democrats as a win.
“With this win, we can move forward with a 50-50 power-sharing agreement built on the 2001 precedent,” he said.
Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin are the two Democrats who announced that they will not vote to end the Senate filibuster. The Washington Post reports:
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) has been the most outspoken Democratic opponent of changing Senate rules and has sought to assemble a bipartisan cadre of centrist senators willing to hammer out deals across the aisle. But other Democrats are similarly resistant. A spokeswoman for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) said the senator is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.”
Meanwhile, other Democratic senators, including Jon Tester (Mont.), have also signaled support for the status quo while hinting that GOP stonewalling could change their minds.
The Post added that President Biden has been a supporter of the filibuster and stated last July that he would only “take a look” at removing it “depend[ing] on how obstreperous [Republicans] become.”
Under the filibuster rule, the Senate requires a minimum of 60 votes to advance legislation, rather than a simple majority of 51. As such, most proposals require at least 10 members of the opposing party to approve, in order for them to pass. By eliminating the filibuster, the Democrats would be able to pass legislation with a simple majority.
Under the filibuster rule, the minority party is allowed to keep debate open on a legislative issue until the Senate votes to close the issue, which requires 60 votes. However, the filibuster does not apply to every issue and cannot be used to hold up the appointments to the executive branch or judicial appointments.
Rachel Bovard of the Heritage Foundation explains:
Far from being simply a weapon of obstruction, the filibuster actually forces compromise. The framers designed the Senate to be a consensus-driven body. If a majority party knows they need to garner 60 votes to end debate on a bill, the necessity of working across the aisle, negotiating, and finding areas of agreement becomes imperative, rather than optional.
Without the filibuster as a tool of negotiation, the Senate becomes little more than a smaller version of the House of Representatives where legislation reflects the priorities of the majority, with little regard to concerns of the minority.