Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to end filibusters on motions to proceed a “naked power grab” and an “affront to the American people” Monday. He encouraged members “on both sides” to oppose Reid’s proposal “strenuously and loudly.”
“What even Senate Democrats have discovered over the past few years is a very different place, a place where committees no longer matter, where members of both parties are shut out of debate, and where bills are drafted behind closed doors. Where politicians trade favors in secret instead of exchanging ideas in public, just to get legislation across the finish line,” McConnell said on Monday, according to the prepared remarks of his Senate floor speech.
“You know, when I come to the Senate every day I know I work in a body of people who have very different views than I do about the role of government and the best solutions to the problems we face. But I know that the price of belonging to this place is having to hear them out and vote on their ideas, and that the price of their belonging here is they have to do the same.”
McConnell said the “American people need to know what’s going on” in the Senate.
“That’s why I hope that Republicans, and hopefully many Democrats who care more about this institution than some temporary exercise of raw partisan political power, will come forward over the next few weeks and speak out against this naked power grab. And when they do, I hope they’ll be guided by the words of another former Democratic senator, who said the following about the Senate and its uniqueness,” McConnell said before reading the following quote from former Democratic Senator Barack Obama in 2005.
“The American people sent us here to be their voice. They understand that those voices can at times become loud and argumentative, but they also hope we can disagree without being disagreeable. At the end of the day, they expect both parties to work together to get the people’s business done. What they do not expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.”