McConnell: Instead of Winning the Argument, Dems Would Change Senate Rules 'to Guarantee the Outcome'

By Susan Jones | September 16, 2020 | 6:17am EDT
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Senate Republicans want the American people to know what is likely to happen if Democrats re-take the Senate in the November election.

"Eliminating the filibuster; D.C. statehood; Puerto Rican statehood; and packing the courts. That's what you get if you change the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a news conference on Tuesday.

The American people have a choice to make--who do they want to run the Senate? Do they want to enable the Democrats to run roughshod over the country by changing the basic structure here?

When you admit two new states you change the basic structure of the Senate. When you change the filibuster rule you change the basic nature of the Senate. What they're saying is, they don't want to win the argument, they want to change the rules in order to guarantee the outcome. And I think the American people need to be aware of that before they vote on November 3rd.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a news conference on Tuesday that Democrats will do whatever it takes to achieve "strong and bold change." He left open the possibility of eliminating the filibuster.

"Should we get the majority, we know America needs strong and bold change. And we will figure out the way to do it. Nothing's on the table. Nothing's off the table. Have to wait til we get the majority before we can decide what to do and under what conditions and how many votes we have as the majority.  

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) noted that Democrats last week filibustered a motion to proceed to a Republican COVID relief bill that didn't give them everything they wanted.

"And it's not the first time that the Democrats have filibustered a motion to proceed," Thune noted:

They did that on Senator Scott's policing reform bill, and they did that on the original CARES package, which makes it incredibly ironic that at the very time they are using the filibuster to block legislation from even being considered on the floor of the United States Senate, they are simultaneously talking now about waging a war against the filibuster. In other words, getting rid of the filibuster if they were to get the majority...

But the idea that the Democrats would be using the filibuster to block legislation from even getting to the floor where it could be open to an amendment process, at the same time that they are talking about--publicly, I might add, publicly-- about getting rid of the legislative filibuster, probably stretches the word irony even in Washington terms.

You know, it's been reported by NBC News that they've got this sort of war room that they're planning now how to edge the legislative filibuster. And I would just remind people that the legislative filibuster is there for a reason. It may be lost on a lot of people across this country because it's an inside-Washington term.

But what it means essentially is the rules of the Senate are designed to protect the rights of the minority. And no majority should be able to run roughshod over or steamroll the minority. And that's why the United States Senate was created by the Founders in the way that it was.

And we as Republicans have been pressured many times. The leader can tell you he's been pressured many times by people pretty high up to get rid of the legislative filibuster, but we have always respected what that means, in terms of protecting the rights of the minority.

So here we are defending the Democrats' rights while they're in the minority, while they're already talking about if they--if they were able to gain the majority, getting rid of that very protection that they were being afforded today, and using on a regular basis to block legislation that we put on the floor from being considered.

So I hope that this debate, discussion that we are having about this subject, as voters think this fall about what could happen if the Democrats get the majority and have the presidency and the House in a new government in January, all the things that they could do if you strip away the protections that the minority has in the United States Senate. And I hope the American people think long and hard about that when they vote this fall.

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