WASHINGTON—A former senior staffer of retired Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid believes it is time to get rid of the of the upper chamber’s legislative filibuster rule, a position similarly held by President Donald Trump.
The filibuster, exclusive to the upper chamber, requires 60 members to vote to end debate on most legislation before a final vote on the legislation itself that will usually only require a simple majority.
Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff to Reid, brought up the matter late Friday night when he replied to Kyle Lierman’s tweet relating to Democrats’ proposal for free community college and Pre-K for everyone during the Obama years.
“During our Obama White House days we proposed #FreeCommunityCollege & #PreKforAll which would have cost $130 billion over 10 years & been a gamechanger for education in the US. GOP said it was too expensive. They are about to give $1.4 trillion to rich people without blinking,” Lierman said referring to the Senate Republican tax bill.
Jentleson responded, “We couldn’t pass a ton of good policies that would’ve improved many lives because McConnell realized denying GOP votes weaponized the 60 threshold. So next time, get rid of the filibuster. Let each side pass the policies they want & let the public decide. That’s accountability.”
When Sen. Reid was majority leader in 2013, he ended the filibuster on cabinet level and lower level judicial nominees. The move angered Republicans who warned Reid that such a move could bite Democrats in the future when they were no longer in the majority and the president was not a Democrat.
Following President Donald Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch earlier this year to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his conference to remove the judicial filibuster of high court nominees as well.
McConnell justified the removal of the high court appointment filibuster by pointing to Sen. Reid’s previous move to get rid of the filibuster for lower court nominees as precedent. McConnell and other Republicans in his conference do not want to end the legislative filibuster, however.
Last September, President Trump needled McConnell over ending the legislative filibuster saying in a tweet, “With the ridiculous Filibuster Rule in the Senate, Republicans need 60 votes to pass legislation, rather than 51.” He added, “Can’t get votes, END NOW!”