Earlier this week, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against a move by his Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to permanently change the filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate. But recently reelected Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said Monday that changing the filibuster will be one of the majority’s aims on day one of the next Congress.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow asked Brown about the prospects of changing those rules when the new Senate is sworn in next month.
“Yes, absolutely,” Brown replied. “The same gentleman you just listened to, Mitch McConnell, talked about the dysfunction or what would happen in the Senate. That’s what’s happened the last four years. And he was the same gentleman who said two years ago that after the 2010 elections, that his number one goal was to defeat the president of the United States in the next election. And he did everything to do that, including invoking filibuster time after time after time after time.”
“We have never seen anything like the last four years of blocking action in the Senate,” Brown continued. “That’s been the real abuse of power, not what we want to do where we want to get the Senate moving so it could enact the people’s will. We’re asking just to begin to debate these issues. They block issues from even coming in the floor to debate. That’s what Sen. [Jeff] Merkley and Sen. Tom Udall have been advocating for some time. Sen. Reid is now supportive. I feel good about our chances in a month or so.”
Brown told Maddow that he could live with the changed filibuster rules if the Republicans regain control of the Senate and he is in the minority and that this election and others are an indication of the people’s will.
“I could, because I think that the public — I mean, after elections, the public thinks some things should happen,” he replied. “And it’s pretty clear the public spoke pretty loudly this year. They reelected a president who carried almost all of the swing states, won by 100 electoral votes, picked up Senate seats where the numbers were stacked against us in terms of the number of Senate seats on the ballot, going back to 1964 numbers literally, and picked up House seats and didn’t win a majority because of redistricting, if you look at all the numbers of House votes for Democrats and Republicans across the country.”
“So, it’s clear the public wants something done and McConnell doesn’t want us to do any of these things, to move any of these forward,” Brown continued. “And that’s the importance of making the Senate a more functional body so that we can confirm judges. There are so many empty judgeships that could be doing the people’s business but they’ve been blocked with issue after issue after issue. Just bring them forward and debate, speak your piece and let the votes fall where they might.”